I was asked recently by a reader what my top five or ten novels were. I could list a bunch of titles depending on the category, but these five are ones that stick out. The Prince Of Tides by Pat Conroy is probably the most beautiful novel I've ever read. It's sweeping and poetic. The Southern family is one I can relate to. The drama is dark and brutal. This is a classic.
I could list several Stephen King titles, but The Stand is probably my favorite. It's so epic in scope, yet the characters are so real and memorable. I'm listening to it again on audio. This showed that you can write a huge novel about big events with a large cast and pull it off. A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving was a funny and heartbreaking story that again showed me how one author can pull off something vast and sweeping. This book is all about the voice and the random events that meant something in the end. I wanted to put my name on this book. The end brought me to tears. It's one of the reasons I write.
As I have delved into writing about fear, I've come to believe that perhaps the scariest thing out there is loss. Losing a loved one, losing a life once led, losing something that meant something to you. The Road by Cormac McCarthy had already gotten so many accolades before I read it. I was already a McCarthy fan, but this novel broke me. It was perhaps one of the darkest and scariest books I've ever read. Perhaps being a father is the reason. Regardless, his sparse and bleak prose made it a masterpiece.
Sometimes all you need to write is one special story. Sometimes the magic can come together and you can create something that lasts and transcends. I don't need to say anything about Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. But this coming-of-age novel with the Southern setting makes me want to give up my writing career because I know I'll never be able to pull off something so wonderful.
Then again, there's a part of me that says maybe one day I'll write my To Kill A Mockingbird. Or my Prince of Tides. Or my Prayer For Owen Meany. Or my Road. Or my Stand.
I go back to these books often to marvel at their creations. And to remember why I keep writing.
Labels: Favorite Things, Inspirations, why write