Writers crave a steady diet of fierce, thoughtful, and heartbreakingly well-worded books. These books should have the paragraph structure of the gods, dialogue to die for, and a narrative voice you would follow through gates of hell (though it would never lead you there). And it is through enjoying and analyzing these rare and inspired books that writers can best hone their craft.
But which books in particular are good examples of such technical expertise? Well, you could make the argument that you can learn something from just about every book you read—brilliant or not so brilliant. And that even if something is not to your taste, there is something to be gleaned there. But, I have to say, I prefer to learn while enjoying my pants off.
So! To that end, I’ve put together a list of five books I think make great studies for writers. Now, I understand that traditionally, these lists are temporally discriminatory, in order to keep Harry Potter, Twilight, and George R. R. Martin from ruling the world (or rather, this corner of it). However, since I don’t just read books that came out this year, this is not going to be such a list. Instead, I will attempt to immortalize five (just five!) of the many inspiring and instructive books I read this year. (Or maybe the year before. Hey, it’s my first list, cut me a little slack!)
May I present, in no particular order, five books for writers, how I found them, what they’re about, and what you can learn by studying them.