Monday, March 14, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #348 -- What Books Influenced You?

What books have had the greatest impact in making you the writer you are today?

 I get asked this from time to time, and I always love to talk about the books that have influenced me enough to make me, well... me.


The Adventures of Monkey by Arthur Waley taught me the thrill of reading when I was young and longed for adventures guided by words.


The Childcraft Encyclopedia: Stories and Fables introduced me to the stories of the world beyond just the legends of the Greeks and Romans.


Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss showed me how much fun words could be, both alone and in a group.


Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and in particular "Harrison Bergeron," inspired me to never let myself get shackled creatively, damn the consequences, and to try to inspire others to lose their shackles too.


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway taught me how to write and taught me that bittersweet, not completely happy endings are the best endings for stories because we human beings learn best through them instead of happy endings that don't challenge us.


What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver taught me how to be inspired by Hemingway without trying to be a clone of him when I write.


The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler taught me how to bring the literary inspiration I got from Hemingway and marry it up to pulp-based, adventure storytelling.