Any writer to know the golden rule – reading is writing. Stephen King recommends reading a book twice. The first time reading is for enjoying the book as a whole and the second time is for analyzing it from the professional point of view. It means paying attention to the details, techniques, plot and so on. Often, we get so carried away with the book story that we miss all the things that make it so good. So, here is our top ten books that every aspiring writer has to read. Don’t hesitate to read them twice!
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Starting with the American classic, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote one of the most iconic book-critique of the American dream. It has everything you can look for, a dissolution of the American dream, an unsuccessful love story, a mockery of the rotten and rich society. For generations, young writers try to copy the same idea according to modern social standards, so it has not been repeated yet.
2. Pride and prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813)
To me, Pride and prejudice are the number one novel among the books for aspiring writers. The book is a great example of a character-driven plot, where the knowledge of human nature plays a greater role than the events it is being revealed.
3. Bleak House, by Charles Dickens (1853)
Besides its historical value, the book offers a unique writing technique. The story is told from two different points of view, which allows giving readers both personal opinion and a general neutral perspective of society. This is a great method of contrast that shows how complex and biased our take on things can be.
4. The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner (1929)
Faulkner was writing about rather radical and crucial things his entire career. Autism was not yet defined when the book was published, though his description of a person with this mental condition is honest and precise. This a great piece to teach young writers how to be direct and true, even if the truth is harsh or uncomfortable. Honestly, in case If I need someone to do my essay, I’d prefer someone as dedicate to precision as Faulkner to do.
5. 1984, by George Orwell (1949)
Orwell is another great example of how to be true to yourself with your art. People say 1984 is an anti-utopia when Orwell himself did not see it that way. He was only describing the world as he saw it and the potential route it was taking. He was not afraid to share his vision and believe it was worth to be known.
6. Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo (1939)
Johnny Got His Gun, much like the novels to read we have discussed before, talks about the things he truly believes in. Trumbo wrote an uncomfortable to read a story about the World War One soldier who is left without his legs, arms, and face. Trumbo explores the power of a man’s memory and depicts the horror of war in the most realistic and terrifying manner.
7. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (1961)
Catch 22 is another anti-war novel that is unmerciful to the crimes and horrors of war. Heller is unapologetic to everything that was wrong with the Second World War. In addition, the book was written at the time when the victory was so greatly celebrated that any criticism of the war was a rare case of rebellion.
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez (1967)
Gabriel Márquez wrote a novel that managed to capture the lives of a generation. It covers the history of the country, changes between generations, a repetitiveness of nature, just as the best and the darkest sides of the human mind.
9. The Lord of the Rings, by John R. R. Tolkien (1954)
It is meaningless to tell the value of Tolkien’s books to the world of literature. there are many lessons to learn from Tolkien but we want to highlight his thoroughness and attention to detail.
10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach (1970)
Richard Bach was able to create a short novel out of his life philosophy. So the lesson to learn here is to learn about oneself, explore life and from your own vision of the world to later express it on paper.
We hope you have enjoyed our top best books for writers. It is our honor to help young and motivated people to make their first steps in the writing field. To write well you need to read a lot. Read everything that you can reach, bestselling books, fiction, autobiographies, journal articles, add pitches and so on. This will help you to learn what to do or not to do.
Sandra Larson is a freelance writer and blogger. She is also a published author who is sharing her writing rules with the world. In her free time, Sandra walks her three dogs in the park and enjoys poetry reading.