Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts a meme inviting book bloggers to post a top ten; this week’s theme is ten books or writers we’re thankful for.
The writers on my list are those who, through both innovation and incredible talent, have stretched my ideas of what’s possible in fiction and given me both inspiration and a form of instruction by example for my own writing.
1. Ernest Hemingway
Touted as ‘the writer’s writer’, if you can get past the machismo, he’s the ultimate teacher of how to say everything by saying nothing.
2. Ann Patchett
Patchett does relationship drama like no other; when I had to kill off a beloved character in A New Map of the Universe, I looked to Bel Canto for guidance.
3. Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar is a brilliant example of the kind of taut prose many writers strive for, and Plath’s Letters Home illustrates her incredible determination and dedication to her craft – the ultimate inspiration for aspiring writers.
4. Tobias Wolff
5. Joan Didion
6. Jonathan Safran Foer
7. Michael Ondaatje
Ondaatje’s swooning prose was the style I aspired to in A New Map of the Universe; every sentence of his is a poem. Utterly gorgeous.
8. Jonathan Franzen
Part-way through writing my third novel, The Ark, I totally lost my way and was creatively blocked for a few months. Then I read an interview with Franzen in The Paris Review and his insight into his own writing process helped me to understand the essential problem with my own story. I worship at his altar!
9. Margaret Atwood
For me, Atwood is the writer who showed the world that genre is not a dirty word. She can do speculative fiction and historical fiction and any darn thing she turns her hand to. All hail Atwood!
10. Felix Gilman
Gilman’s irreverant rollicking style and exuberant world-building in The Half-Made World is the touchstone for my next writing project, Ciudad, where nothing feels too crazy to be included.
What books or writers are you thankful for?