My bookshelf

Home > My bookshelf

bookshelf

I’m often asked what’s on my bookshelf. What do I read? What can I recommend?

Writers become better writers by reading. It’s a fact!

Writers of fiction, especially, can learn loads from reading books in their own genre, but also from reading ‘text’ books on how to write – or how to edit.

Here are some books on my bookshelf – the physical ones plus the ones I read through Kindle – that I can thoroughly recommend.

A good read

These are novels I’ve read and enjoyed. Not just as a read, but to help me to understand how best to write a novel.

Each to their own, but you might enjoy some of these too.

I See You
Sister

I also enjoy short stories.

  • The Wonderful World of Worders compiled by Jenni Doherty includes a few flash fiction stories by yours truly.
  • David Sedaris has a special form of wit. I like a lot of his material – he is excellent on radio – but I am particularly attached to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. It was ther topic of a TV programme called Page Turners, hosted by Jeremy Vine. A book group I belonged to back then were in the invited audience becasue we’d agreed to read and review his book, among many others.
  • I studied The Dubliners by James Joyce for an A Level English course I took when I was in my mid-30s. I loved the way his stories offered snapshots of the various characters and an insight into life of that era.
  • I have a copy of The Complete Saki, and often dip in to read his short stories.  There is so much dialogue. Such wit/sarcasm. And terribly old-fashioned manners.
Finding inspiration / getting started

A blank page can prove to be a writer’s nightmare. You need inspiration.

  • If you need to unlock your latent creativity and make your dreams a reality, try Julia Cameron’s masterpiece: The Artist’s Way.
  • I love the 101 places you can find inspirations for stories listed by Patsy Collins in From Story Idea to Reader. Co-written with publisher Rosemary Kind, they combined their respective skills into one good book for those looking to write and publish.
  • I came across 642 Tiny Things to Write About by Po Bronson in the gift shop attached to an art gallery – I forget where! I couldn’t resist buying it.
The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron
From Story Idea - guest posts
The theory of writing and editing

These go into the detail, and may help you to become a better writer. They will certainly help you when you are faced with editing your first draft.

.

Life!

They don’t teach you, at school, how to cope with life. Older and wiser, they say, but maybe we still need a helping hand? Someone who’s been there, got the T-shirt, and is willing to share their thoughts?

  • I’ve read a lot of Paul Coelho, but the one that stays with me is The Alchemist.
  • Dr Wayne Dyer’s book – Change your Thoughts, Change your Life – examines the 81 verses of the Tao, and offers guidance on how to live in peace and harmony with the world around us.
  • Being a woman ‘in your own right’ is a challenge. It’s three decades since I bought Anne Dickson’s A Woman in Your Own Right.  Not much has changed!

If you’ve read a book that you think I should add to my bookshelf, let me know!