As a writer you should do a fair amount of reading. A mixture really. Reading helps you in many ways. By reading you can expand your vocabulary, become inspired, learn how to create a mind blowing paragraph or see an example on how a story is put together.
With a millions of books out there it is hard to figure out where to start. Classics? Modern? Biographies? it doesn’t matter. I lean more towards the literature books. Why? It seems to draw me in. It makes me think and make connections. For instance, though I don’t list it, a lot of Shakespeare’s work is very relevant to day. JUST AS THEY ARE!
These are just a few suggestions on books that I feel everyone who is aspiring to be a writer should read. But the choice is really yours. What books inspire you? What books make you run to the bookstore just to buy, perhaps again!
If you don’t know, or you are looking for a great read to help you in anyway here are a few suggestions.
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight’s account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath’s Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook. Rich and diverse, The Canterbury Tales offer us an unrivalled glimpse into the life and mind of medieval England.
This is one of my favorites. Medieval life is brought about in away that is alive. Unlike what you’ve read in history books-which seems to only mention things like the plague. This book gives you an insight on life!
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.
I am sure that anyone and everyone has either heard about this story or has watched the movie. The movie was pretty good, but it doesn’t capture you like the book does. This book shows you the ugliest side of a human. Revenge is really a dish served cold.
Emma by Jane Austen
Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.
Sure, Mr. Darcy is the object of infatuation by many of my fellow Jane Austen fans. And sure Ms. Austen herself mentioned that Emma was her least favorite character. But I LOVE THIS BOOK. Seriously, I do. Mr. Knightley seems to boot Mr. Darcy right out of the water for me. He is just dreamy! I know cheesy. Emma means well, she really does. She is a bored rich girl who seems to treat everyone she knows like her dolls. She can make them do what she wants or she can make them fall in love. She learns some hard lessons that Emma, and she gets a Knight(ley) too.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?
The Bronte sisters really show a different side of life compared to what Ms. Austen portrayed. Jane Eyre is so incredibly strong and the choices that she is faced with are really heartbreaking. The only movie version of this book that I loved was with Michael Fassbender, as with the book the ending just made me ball like a baby.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
This exquisite novel tells the story of one of the most compelling heroines in modern literature–Emma Bovary. Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait, Madame Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence. Who is Madame Bovary? Flaubert’s answer to this question was superb: “Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world’s greatest novelists.
This woman! I mean, I can’t even. Talk about bad choices and making the worst of your situation. Her husband was a sweetheart and she smoothed him like a bug under her shoe! I will admit that I hated her for the majority of the book, but hey if she wasn’t tortured then it would be good. Right?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.
A s Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
I found this book to be so heartbreaking that I couldn’t stop reading it. It isn’t everyday that you read something about Russia and wish with all your might that it was still that glamours that magical.
I loved Andrei! as one should, but the struggles he goes through are just torture. Each character is intertwined and the circles that you go in have you wondering if you should wish Natasha with Andrei. In the end you will be crying like a little girl.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Emily Brontë’s only novel, a work of tremendous and far-reaching influence, the Penguin Classics edition of Wuthering Heights is the definitive edition of the text, edited with an introduction by Pauline Nestor. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
There are no words. I just can’t.
ugh. Ok. Sometimes I hate Heathcliff and other times I think ok he is just a product of his circumstances. Despite being brought into the fold of his adopted family he was never really apart of that family. The book is just one long mean love story that makes you wish that Catherine had more of a backbone and fought!
Far from the Madding Crowd by Tom Hardy
In Thomas Hardy’s first major literary success, independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, the soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy, and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. One of his first works set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.
For the longest time I thought for sure Tom Hardy hates women. Tess of the d’Urberville gave me that impression. And then I came across this little gem. This book is so touching. You want Bathsheba to be the free young spirit that she aspires to be. But at the same time you want her to be with Gabriel. Or at least I did. It is just a wonderful read and a touching romance. Sometimes getting to where you need to be means you have to make a few mistakes.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield-weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion-this gripping, semi-autobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.
If you know anything about me, you know I do not like to read Ernest Hemingway. I mean the books are just PAINFUL!!! That may be why they are not in any high school required reading list. Though if I had a choice to read Hemingway or Steinbeck it is Hemingway hands down. (now what does that tell you about Steinbeck?)
So, this book. Is actually really heartbreaking. In the middle of WWII, wounded something typical happens. A man falls for his nurse. This book really gives you an insight in the grittiness of the war and the nightmare our soldiers really had to endure. To top it off, having something to fight for but unable to keep it safe. Do not expect to read this book in one sitting. It is a thinker, a set down and take a breath before picking it up again kind of book. But it is a book you should read.
Germinal by Émile Zola-
The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s capacity for compassion and hope.
Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.
I have began to venture into this book. So far I love it. Not since Les Misérables does one really gets a gritty look into the hard life of the poor. Think Charles Dickens magnificent way of describing the dirty side of the industrial revolution. So far a great read, a good look into the human spirit.
Let me know if any of these books inspire you or if you have read them lets talk about them! Don’t forget to tell me about books that you feel I should know about! Sound off in the comments or send me a PM! Can’t wait to hear!
Until next time, keep writing!
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