I’m raising six sons who will one day become white men. What with the climate of our country and the ripples of racism that have begun to creep from half-concealed corners, I have compiled a list of required reading for my sons that will teach them about both black...
When I was in high school, I watched the movie Girl, Interrupted, without even considering that it might have been based on a book. So at the beginning of this year, when I discovered it was actually a book first, of course I had to read it. Girl, Interrupted, by...
I’ve been waiting to read Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee for the entire summer and fall, because my 7-year-old had hidden it somewhere I couldn’t find it, and we spent months looking for it. Turns out it was behind his bed, a place he says he looked...
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, by Robert McKee
I know this is a screenwriting book, but it’s probably the most comprehensive book on storytelling. A great resource! Dense reading, but full of great information.
- The Hero With a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell
Another dense read, but Joseph Campbell is one of my favorite commentators on story and story structure. Every writer should read this one at least once.
- The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell
This was actually a series of interviews Campbell did. It’s better to listen to the audio version or watch the DVD. He’s so passionate about story, and that’s contagious!
On Writing (general)
- Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron
Great book on the science of the brain and how to craft well-told stories that will appeal to the storytelling side of the brain. I got this book years ago but still pull it out every now and then to refresh my memory.
- Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin
This one’s not so much a technique kind of book as it is a book reminding writers of their obligation to their readers. Some of her ideas are a bit old-fashioned, but most of them are still valuable today.
- The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass
Another great one on creating books that appeal to readers. Again, I always read these kinds with a grain of salt–because my goals are a bit different, but we all want readers, so I think we can always find value in the suggestions offered, even if we don’t become hardcore users of them.