As an avid reader and aspiring writer, I’m a sucker for books of this genre. Here’s a short list of books that influenced me and definitely opened my mind as a reader (adding tons of books to my To-Read list!).
ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL, E.M. FORSTER (E. Arnold, 1927)
Aspects of the novel is a transcription of a series of lectures given by E.M. Forster at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1927. It is divided into nine chapters, each of them (aside the introduction and the conclusion) are respectively focused on one aspect of the novel, these include the story, people, the plot, fantasy, prophecy and pattern and rhythm. Basing his analysis upon excerpts from classic works, Forster rejects the historical development of the novel and chooses to study the universal aspects of the novel with, in mind, the prominent idea that all writers are writing simultaneously, thus leaving out of consideration the historical
These lectures give the reader a clear view of the novel as a universal piece of work. Aspects of the novel is an insightful book that will expand both the reader’s and the writer’s perspective on reading and writing a novel.
THE ART OF FICTION, DAVID LODGE (Secker & Warburg, 1992)
Between 1991 and 1992, British literary critic and novelist David Lodge wrote a weekly column for The Independent On Sunday. It was gathered into one book entitled The Art of Fiction, published in 1992. From ‘Beginning’ to ‘Ending’, it comprises fifty chapters, each focusing on a writing technique, from symbolism to weather and lists. As an illustration to his thesis, Lodge excerpts a variety of works from either classic or modern British or American literature.
In addition to the very useful literary criticism related vocabulary, plenty of references to prominent bodies of work will suggest the avid reader a long catalogue of books to add to their reading list.
HEMINGWAY ON WRITING, L.W. PHILLIPS (Scribner, 1999)
Ernest Hemingway On Writing is a collection of thoughts, edited by L.W. Phillips and published by Hemingway’s long time friend Charles Scribner Jr. From his novels to interviews to essays, the book includes personal reflections on the nature of the writer as well as valuable pieces of advice to aspiring writers. Although, Hemingway believed that talking about writing was bad luck, he, intentionally or not, provided many of his thoughts regarding this topic whether it be in interviews, essays or even in his own works of fiction.
This book, inconsequential in length, is in fact a treasure trove of advice for writers. Moreover, it is the ultimate present to offer any Hemingway admirer, granting a wide panorama of musings on writing as an iconic persona.
Do you have any suggestions of books on writing? Has reading them helped you somehow?