Susan’s list of books yesterday all sound amazing, and I’ve heard enough wonderful things about On Writing to know I must get myself a copy (or else risk getting kicked out of the writers club!). For me, there were many novels that I read, both as a child and as an adult that helped me become the writer I am—and am still striving to be.
1) Bridge to Terabithia. Who out there has not read this? Katherine Paterson’s memorable book was my favorite as a child, and when I re-read it as an adult, I rediscovered all the things I loved about it. She taught me about themes in a story—whether they be as light as a young boy crushing on an adult teacher, or as complicated as the death of his best friend—and how to explore the depths of each one to their fullest extent.
2) Sarah, Plain and Tall. This classic book taught me something that I still hold dear to my heart: Sometimes the simplest, “quietest” stories are the most memorable. Don’t be afraid to write “quietly” if that is what your story is telling you to do.
3) The Eyes of the Amaryllis. For me, this book had it all. History. The sea. Mystery. Ghosts. And a thrilling climax. After reading this book for the first time as an adult, I knew that writing for children was exactly what I wanted to do. I really do credit this book for giving me the revelation I needed to see this.
4) The Giver. Lois Lowry and her haunting book taught me to never underestimate the level of intelligence of a young reader. And to never shy away from writing a story that does not have a happy ending.
5) Twilight. Stephenie Meyer completely deserves her current ranking on Amazon.com (#3 in books!) for her upcoming novel Breaking Dawn, the fourth installment in the Twilight series. What Stephenie Meyer has taught me with her writing is to always, always, always tell a good story. The story simply must come first.