Recommended Reads:

A Stunning Book that Showcases Our Struggle Against Time

A Stunning Book that Showcases Our Struggle Against Time

A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that was artistic, contemplative and beautifully written. There was no clear protagonist, which broke a few story rules, but the small stories within the story followed the same...

An Excellent Book that Will Pull Young Readers In

An Excellent Book that Will Pull Young Readers In

One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake, is a Newbery Honor book that I found really charming, mainly due to its wonderful voice. It’s written in first-person, and the author infuses so much personality into the voice that I could not help being drawn in completely. Here’s...

A Charming MG Book With Delightful Illustrations

A Charming MG Book With Delightful Illustrations

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin, is a Newbery Honor award book about a Chinese girl who lives in a small village that is overshadowed by a barren mountain. The mountain seems to cast a shadow of bad fortune over the people of the village. But when a...

A YA Novel About the Agony of Mental Illness

A YA Novel About the Agony of Mental Illness

Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman, is a National Book Award and Golden Kite Award winner. It’s a story about Caden Bosch, who is beginning to imagine things. His friends notice his weird behavior, as do his parents, but no one really knows what to do about it. He is...

An Intriguing MG Book with Unforgettable Characters

An Intriguing MG Book with Unforgettable Characters

Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz, won the 2013 Newberry medal. The story is engaging and dark and sophisticated—all the things I believe are perfect for young readers. It has to do with a puppeteer who has magic that can turn a child into a puppet—which is a...

2 Humor Books that Will Mean Something to the World

2 Humor Books that Will Mean Something to the World

I enjoy reading humor books whenever I can. But my favorite humor books to read are those that also have some depth to them. I found that depth in Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo and Rainn Wilson’s The Bassoon King. Schumer is a stand-up comedian who...

10 Fantastic Old and New Books You Should Read

10 Fantastic Old and New Books You Should Read

I read a whole lot of books over many different genres. This year I’ve read 155 old books and new releases so far. This is my list of the best among the best. We'll do this countdown style. Number 10 The War that Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. The story...

2 Heartfelt Memoirs that Will Tear You Up Inside

2 Heartfelt Memoirs that Will Tear You Up Inside

Today I'd like to share with you two heartfelt memoirs that will make you feel every emotion humanly possible. The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls is sort of a classic in the memoir genre. It’s highly regarded on every list of best memoirs to read. I had never read...

2 Poets Who Stretch Poetry to the Limits

2 Poets Who Stretch Poetry to the Limits

First, I have to say, I read poetry every single day. I’m a firm believer in how poetry can help its readers increase their grasp of language and metaphor and the simplicity of life made complex. I love reading poetry, and recently I picked up Multiple Choice, by...

A Book that Will Make You Laugh, Cry, Rage and Everything In Between

A Book that Will Make You Laugh, Cry, Rage and Everything In Between

Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul, by James McBride, is probably the best narrative nonfiction book I’ve read all year. I have to start by saying that I’m a huge fan of James McBride and have almost read everything he’s written. This...

Writing resources

  • On Story
  • 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.