Who Should I Read?

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There’s gotta be something good in here!

We all have our favorite authors (and some of you have read and enjoyed my stuff), but the question is…

If we, as authors, are supposed to “read a lot and write a lot” – not necessarily in that order – to improve our craft, then it stands to reason we should be, well…

Reading.

I read a lot, but probably not as much as I should.

Allow me to explain.

I read a lot of new authors. People who need the help that I can give them. People who need basic improvement.

I read other stuff, but mostly I do my reading in critiques. That’s where the biggest volume takes place.

Me, trying to look cool.
Me, trying to look cool. Not a lot of book reading got done on this snorkeling vacation.

What I bring to the table is an impatient reader who likes detail sometimes, likes the story to move along, and doesn’t mind dwelling on things that are important. What I referred to as a lazy reader. You have to hook me and keep me.

But!

If I am going to improve as an author, I need to read other authors, maybe, who are not like me.

So, if you’ve read my stuff or not, who would you recommend that I read? You can pick one author or three, but I would like:

  1. a specific book you read
  2. why it was important to you as opposed to your eighth grade English teacher

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Jenny's new bff Anne Rice
Jenny’s new bff Anne Rice. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

For example, recently Jenny wrote about how Interview With The Vampire really made her take a new appreciation of character development in the story. BTW, that post caught the eye of Anne Rice, author of Interview With The Vampire, who then posted about it in her – Anne Rice’s –  Facebook page. How cool is that?  (I did not read that book. I saw the movie. Click HERE to see he post that Anne Rice liked and made Jenny subsequently freak out.)

Anyway, I want your recommendations. Here three of mine.

  • Bill Cosby, his LP from 1968 “To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With” I watched as my older brothers and sisters laughed at this comedian who told funny stories about his life growing up, and it impressed me as a child that comedy was a powerful device. A record is just an audiobook, after all. It counts.
  • Mark Twain, “How To Tell A Story And Other Essays.” Not the stuff we were forced to read but his speeches and comments were what drew me to Twain. Then I saw that Bill Cosby was the modern version of this classic storyteller, and that good, funny writing could tell the rules to fuck off and still be amazing. Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry, and a lot of others, would write in a similar style, but the original was the best. And he could be deathly serious at times, too, which I didn’t appreciate until much later in life.
  • Stephen King, “A Change Of Seasons,” specifically “The Body” opened my eyes to deep personal emotions in writing that anyone can connect with. It was my first exposure to King’s writing and I almost didn’t read it. A friend recommended it, and I said, “Aw, I’m not into scary crap, and his movies suck.” (I was thinking Carrie, Cujo). The Shining would become one of my favorite movies and King would become a favorite author, even though he still writes a lot of stuff I don’t like. Maybe I should read more of him, but The Body hooked me and kept me and I gained an appreciation of what it is to be a writer.

So those are my recommendations

What are YOURS?

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Your humble host.
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

29 thoughts on “Who Should I Read?

  1. One of my favorite books is His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. It takes place during the Napoleonic wars, with the addition of each side having an Air Force comprised of dragons. The dragons speak in the language they heard while in the egg. It’s a compelling story and the language is gorgeous.

  2. My favorites are the classics of Jane Austen. Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility and of course, Pride and Prejudice. That woman was talented! 😀

    1. It’d be interesting to get your take on the movie versions versus the books, if you ever saw the movies. I never read the books. I have the complete Jane Austen on my shelf five feet from my desk, but I’ve only ever opened it to get a quote correct.

      1. I’ve seen all versions of every movie that was made – starting with the Masterpiece Theater 1980 Pride & Prejudice and all subsequent versions. My least favorite is the Kiera Knightly version which does not represent the book that well. The books are by far better than the movies but some versions are done very well. Which one(s) have you seen?

    1. I LOVED reading A Tale Of Two Cities in school! It was published as a serial at first, so it had to have a grabber opening each chapter and a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter!

  3. ‘People of the Book’ by Geraldine Brooks. I’m probably revealing something awful about myself now, but I struggle, I mean REALLY struggle to read long books (attention span issues). I was given a copy of the above as an ARC about six years ago (ish), hadn’t read the blurb or seen the sheer size of it, and my first impression was “F***! why did I agree to this?”, but I said I would read it, so I did. (I should look up my review of it).

    Did I tell you about my attention span issues yet? Oh right! Okay, my only issue was the Chronology of the story, darting backwards and forwards in time, chapter by chapter. However, once I got a grip and focused my attention (I have attention span issues), I got over the issue and was so absorbed in the story, desperate to know what happens next, that I finished it and felt completely fulfilled. It’s about a book, a historical book (the Sarajevo Hagadah sp?) and I can’t stand history. That book did something right, it made me read cover to cover obsessively, about something I had absolutely no interest in. I should take another look at it to see how it was written, and how it fed my imagination to make me keep reading.

  4. Hemingway. I never read him in school. I picked up, The Old Man and the Sea last year, and haven’t stopped reading him since. My favorite novel of his so far is, For Whom the Bell Tolls. I love his descriptions of making love and of falling in love in that book, among other things… His ability to highlight complex emotions humans in the simplest of ways is profound. I often find the beginning of one of his novels to be slow, only to be amazed that by the end, he has completely tied things together in a way I could not have conceived. The middle to end of his books are often like a steady, rolling climax. So, yeah, I love the way he writes. LOVE!

    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury was recommended to me and I read it. Never would have otherwise. I appreciated it and struggled with it in parts, but there was some beautiful prose and big picture insights on life throughout it.

    I feel like I am still finding my way through fiction because I used to read mostly non-fiction. I agree, though, reading out of our comfort zone opens up a world of possibilities, and as it’s been said, even reading a book we may struggle with, can be inspiring. Strange, but true. Writing and reading are subjective. It’s nice when we can appreciate the beauty of the art no matter what. 🙂

  5. My recommendations will mostly be fantasy.

    Tolkien, although you’ve probably already read him.

    Anything by Connie Willis (who was recently made a SF grand master if you’re into such things)–my favorite is To Say Nothing of the Dog.

    Robin McKinley if you like fairy tales. Beauty is a classic, but Rose Daughter is the one I really wish I’d written. Or Pegasus, Dragonhaven, or Chalice if you want something totally original. McKinley is a genius. I would totally fangirl if I ever met her.

    Zelazny is another genius. I’d recommend Amber, but it’s five books long, and you said you have attention span issues. A Night in the Lonesome October is a short one by him.

    Terry Pratchett’s discworld, although the later books are far better than the earlier. Don’t worry about going back and reading the early ones. They’re all meant to be stand-alone. My favorite is Night Watch, although you might relate to Thud more because it has a lot about fatherhood.

    Diana Wynne Jones–Howl’s Moving Castle. This one was made into an animated movie if you like, and it’s child appropriate.

    And the Hunger Games trilogy if you haven’t already read it and can stand first present.

    1. Great suggestions! I have read very little in fantasy. (And I was joking about my attention span. I’ve been wading along with a CP for a year on one of her stories and most of my novels start at 100k… )

  6. I’m like you, most of what I read is from crit partners. But, I love listening to audio books while I’m cleaning or doing laundry. Actually I read a few of your books that way 😉
    READ the Kite Runner, if you haven’t already. Amazing. Khaled Hosseini is so wonderfully descriptive. The way he brought the story around full-circle was beautiful.
    I also love Ken Follet (everything) and Maya Angelou.

    1. My plan is to finish my current WIP and spend the holidays reading some of these. Hopefully I’ll have a cool battle scene to read by this brilliant new author as well IF YOU EVER EFFING WRITE IT!!!

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