Like so much else, the way I read has changed.  I used to spend hours at a time lost in stories.  Now reading often feels like stealing time.  Still, I read before bed every night.  I read if I have to sit in traffic, wait at the doctor or dentist or for my kids to finish up activities.  I stand at the stove and let dinner burn (too often) with a book in my hand.  And sometimes, when there’s a book that demands it, I’ll let the world fall away until I’ve gobbled it up.  This business of making book lists is a hard game; the list gets unwieldy pretty fast.

Books in my Zombie Apocalypse Backpack:

  • State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Germinal by Emile Zola
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Books That Teach Me How To Tell a Story:

  • Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
  • The New Valley by Josh Weil
  • Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • Away by Amy Bloom
  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  • Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Books in My Car:

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood by Lisa DaMour
  • Tenth of December by George Saunders

Books My Kids Swear By:

  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • True Grit by Charles Portis
  • All Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling, though Number 5 is best

Books on Writing:

  • Ron Carlson Writes a Story by Ron Carlson
  • The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  • Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas
  • This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey by Steve Almond
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
  • Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin

2 thoughts on “Reader

  1. This is a great list, I enjoyed it! Under “Books on Writing,” check out Steinbeck’s Working Days.


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