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The Books That Make Writers

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One of the things all of the “How to Be a Writer” books will tell you is that, in order to be a writer, you must read.

And I do read – sometimes obsessively – but I don’t read the things I think writers probably read.

For instance, I wonder how many “real” writers have read the Sookie Stackhouse series [That’s an affiliate link and it’s only books 1-8. Don’t forget about book 9. Book 10 comes out in May.] five times? How many “real” writers have revisited YA Fiction from their past and read it with as much fervor as they read it when they were 13? How many of them read both Bridget Jones’s Diary books and laughed their asses off?

I ask these questions because Tucker and I were watching some more Vlog Brothers videos and there was a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut.

I have a confession to make. I’ve never read Kurt Vonnegut. Ever. The passage that was read on Vlog Brothers was the first of Vonnegut’s stuff I had ever heard/read.

I know there are some of you out there who are thinking about revoking my writer’s card right now. But you know what? You can’t! The IRS won’t let you. They say I’m a writer and who am I to argue with a government agency that could audit me and make my life a living hell?

A couple of posts ago [or maybe it was on Twitter] I said I would tell everyone what I’m reading right now and I want to make good on that promise but I know some of you constant readers will turn up your cute little noses at it. However, a promise is a promise.

Every night, for the past four nights, I’ve been reading The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published [Another affiliate link and yes, that’s the title. Short, huh?]. Before you too harshly judge me, included in the “archives” are authors such as Ambrose Bierce, Poe, F. G. Loring, Goethe, Stoker [Duh!], Stephen King, Tanith Lee, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ray Bradbury. I’m leaving out a butt ton of authors because, seriously, go find this book at your local book store and you’ll get an idea of just how fucking HUGE this book is.

The cool thing about this book is it starts “pre-Dracula” and heads on toward modern times with all the changes frozen on the page. So far, and I’m not out of pre-Dracula, it’s a great read and since almost everything I write seems to have a bit of supernatural thrown in, I figure I could do worse for reading material.

Now, all of that having been said, I’m curious what YOU think a writer should read or should have read before they consider themselves a writer.

This is along the lines of  What Books Do You Remember? except it’s not necessarily about childhood books and the books can come from any time in your life.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one I already have on my list and I’ll be interested to see how many I’ve already read out of the ones you suggest. Also, don’t think the books you suggest have to be covered with dust and older than dirt. If a new novel has spoken to you, suggest it; I’m always on the lookout for awesome contemporary fiction.

So, Constant Reader, what books do YOU think a writer must read before he can call himself a writer?

Leave your amazing book lists and comments in the section below. ▼

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