My bookshelves are neither orderly nor predictable. I’m guessing that yours are the same.
In the spirit of nonjudgmental sharing, I wanted to list a few of the books that have influenced me and my writing over the years. Keep in mind that this list is neither comprehensive nor definitive. Think of it as a glance at my poorly organized bookshelves to see some of the works that have helped to make me who I am and my stories what they are.
Please share your own eclectic book collections in the comments, and maybe we’ll make this a recurring thing. 🙂
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne
My love of great books began when I was very young. My mother has always been a collector of a wide variety of books, and she would read to me every night from her expansive library. This book was one of my favorites, as it not only fed my love for the fanciful and exotic, but sparked a passion for biology and the ocean that I still have today. In fact, I’ve always thought that if I hadn’t chosen a career in the arts, I would have been a marine biologist.
The Art & Craft of Playwriting by Jeffrey Hatcher
Most of my early writing consisted of short stories and stage plays, and this title was the first book on the craft of writing that I ever read. This is where I first learned about writing in scenes, dialogue, character arcs, plot structure, handling back-story and a variety of other lessons that I still try to apply to each of my stories.
Treasure by Clive Cussler
While the adventures of Dirk Pitt didn’t fit with my usual diet of fantasy and sci-fi when I was growing up, Cussler’s melding of archaeology, the ocean and formulaic pulp adventures all captured my imagination. Treasure was my first and favorite Dirk Pitt novel, and I still have a soft spot for this James Bond of the Sea.
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
David Eddings’ Belgariad is a great example of a fantasy author creating characters that are even more interesting than the fanciful world that they inhabit. While Eddings’ work eventually became monotonous and bland, this first series and the following Malloreon were some of my favorite fantasy reads growing up.
Shadow of a Dark Queen by Raymond E. Feist
This was the first epic fantasy I’d ever read where the author managed to juggle multiple worlds, characters, and plot lines so skillfully that I couldn’t help coming away with a sense of grand scale and almost overwhelming scope. While I’ve found Feist’s other works to be hit or miss, this novel is still one of my favorites in the genre.
Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry
Humor writing is deceptively hard, but Barry always make it look so easy. I’ve read and loved his books for years and will readily admit that the most reread books in my library are his nonfiction works. I love his comedic memoir of traveling to Japan in particular because Barry manages to be hilarious while giving me a sense of place, setting, and mood in a way that other, more serious books cannot. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of this man’s brilliantly slanted musings.
As always, a big shout-out to the fantastic members of my Fan Community:
Randall Hodgson, Jerry Staton, Matthew Paxman, Yoshiyuki Nishikawa, Wil Sisney, Jarred Walton, Joel Stanger, and Kelly Wilbur.
If you’d like to learn more about my Fan Community, check out the following link: