Just bought ‘Death With Interruptions’ and ‘Ask the Dust.’ I love reading. When I was ten I told my father I wanted to be a writer; the newspaper editor inside him beamed, but the realist cringed at the prospect of his child suffering endless rejection slips. My teacher, Tim Teelin, noted the long-haired pre-teen buried in notebooks and gave me advice I’ve never stopped using: “Read Everything.” And so, I have: chick-lit, postmodernism, romance, etc. So, here are my ‘Seven.’
- Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon — The classic that involves everything from witty witticism to double ententes. The story of the last six months or so of World War II, focusing on the exploits of a massive number of characters searching for the design and production location of the V-2 Rockets in Germany, it’s a mind bender, for sure.
- We by Yevgeny Zamyatin — the classic tale that inspired George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem.’ ‘Nuff said.
- Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney — my first voyage into the realm of Postmodernism, a novel which inspired me in so many ways I cannot even begin to explain. It is the story of a city which has befallen some apocalypse and yet some how holds on, intertwined with both Greek and Roman tragedy. Just read it. You’ll thank me for it.
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace — a novel about a type of ‘entertainment’ that — when one watches it, they immediately become addicted and are unable to do anything else but watch it again and again. Focusing on topics like addiction (obviously), and the destructive nature of human beings, this is one of the greatest novels I have ever read, and directly impacted my own writing style.
- The Novelist by Angela Hunt — A story within a story about a mother dealing with an assignment from her students — to write something she’d never written before, while personally dealing with her son’s addictions. This novel more than any other showed me how a story can go beyond just a simple narrative.
- Being Emily by Rachel Gold — the story of a transgender teenage girl with the courage to come out to her family and endure everything to become who she was born to be.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’engle — One of the earlier fantasies I read where, on a dark and stormy night, three children find themselves on an amazing adventure.
What do you think? Any of these your favorites, too?