Defining Me: 10 Novels

If you are reading this, you are curious about me.

This is a list of 10 Novels that I count among my favorites but more importantly, that show more about me and what influences I hold closest. This list is not complete and all inclusive, I just feel a list of 10 is easily absorbed and digested. So in no particular order here they are.

Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang – Richard Mordecai
This was a book that my father read to me as a child. The one that inspired me to read. The orange cover faded and the binding fell apart I read it so much. This is my spark that started the fire of storytelling for me.

A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron
This is a book that to me is pure genius. Using simple and direct language to tell a complex and amazing story. It’s a master class in writing.

If At Faust You Don’t Succeed – Roger Zelazny
This comedic treatment of morality tales taught me that tropes and irony are great tools. Every genre has its cliches and if you are writing in a specific genre you need to know them. And then you can use them as a tool to guide and misguide your readers to greater effect.

Spider – Patrick McGrath
This novel showed me that modern literature can still contain beautiful prose and poetic passages and read well. Its combination of dark subject matter and beautiful language is something I aspire too.

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Dickens, in my estimation, when writing for writing and not earning a payday, is absolutely the greatest of writers. His characters are so well drawn and his mastery of language keeps me in constant question of my own hold on English.

Enemy of God – Bernard Cornwell
My penultimate telling of the Arthurian legend. Cornwell has a very special gift of taking you into worlds long gone and seeing the human commonalities that have always existed.

Casino Royale – Ian Fleming
This is another seminal book for me. Bond is a character most only know by the camp films. James Bond in the books is a stark and terrifying character and yet we hope for him and his life’s mission. A flawed, well drawn character can be much more engaging than a perfect archetype.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Character and setting, Steinbeck was a master of both. His ability to pull us into the lives of his characters is often heart-rending but always satisfying. Who’s heart doesn’t break when Lenny is kneeling in his hiding place asking about the rabbits?

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
World building without the extraneous description, Bilbo Baggins adventure there and back again is an introduction to worlds unknown.

Dracula – Bram Stoker
This is still a masterpiece of narrative exploration. To read this is a masterclass in storytelling and the near infinite ways available to you to tell a story. Incredibly inventive and bold, still this book stands as guideline to those who think you can’t tell a story without sticking to the accepted norms.

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