, , , , , , ,

Rachel KenleyThere are two keys to writing.

1) Write

2) Read

After a period of playing WAY too many handheld/device games I am back to reading at night… and in the afternoon…. and with my breakfast.  You get the idea.  Already I can feel a difference in my writing and in my desire to write.  So I wanted to mention some of my favorites and find out from you – what’s on your keeper shelves?  What books do you think have made you a better writer?  Of course, for most of us the list is huge, but here are four that influenced me greatly.  Three I loved.  One… well, read on.

S. King

The Wolf and The Dove was my first romance novel.  I was 14.  I was hooked.  I always knew I’d write romance no matter what else I might write.  Kathleen Woodiwiss changed my life – and my reading habits.  I was also the only kid in the 9th grade who knew much about the Norman invasion in 1066.  Nothing of value in romance?  Ha!

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin, was the first book where I wanted to BE the heroine I was reading about.  Sometimes I think I would still like to be Turtle, even though I don’t really want to be a lawyer.  I do know that I’ve always wanted to create and write heroines that my readers want to become.

Intrusions by Ursula Heigi is one of those books no one seems to know and yet, to me, is EXACTLY what it feels like to be a writer.  Her life is intruding on her writing; her writing is intruding on her life.  It is funny, chaotic, maddening and wonderful.  Yup – that’s the writers life.

keep calm

I absolutely hated My Sister’s Keeper.  I know, this one will probably get me some less than friendly comments, but the premise was SO intense, so moving and then I felt the author, Jodi Piccoult, completely copped out on the ending.  This book has at its core a major ethical dilemma and she takes the easy way out by killing a character in an accident.  I actually threw the book across the room.  I stopped reading Piccoult’s novels (which I’m sure hurt her royalties terribly), but I did learn that as the writer I have the duty to make the tough decisions – no matter how hard they are for me.

So.. what are you favorites?  Or the hated ones you learned from?  The ones you re-read every year?  Or the ones you tell others “You MUST read this”?