I recently was shuffling around my bookshelf, updating the books based on my current reading interests.
I thought it may be interesting to share, perhaps recommend, and pass along these books.
Comment with what’s on your bookshelf right now!
I’ve always got science fiction on my bookshelf—it’s just a question of how much and what. Right now, Ender’s Game holds a prized spot ready for easy access to reread or reference.
Meanwhile, close by, Asimov’s Foundation series waits to be read. I’ve got the first book sitting on my night stand but have not yet gotten past the first page. This is no diss on Asimov—the bit I did read was beautiful, but I simply have turned to other titles in the meantime. I’m a little overwhelmed by how large the series is, and I want to do it justice by reading them all!
The next most common books on my shelf is typically fantasy. I’ve got the first two Stormlight novels sitting read on my shelf. I haven’t yet read Oathbringer—Stormlight books are bricks! But it’s on my to-read list. I haven’t enjoyed Stormlight as much as the Mistborn series (original and Wax and Wayne) or Elantris (mostly for subjective personal taste reasons), but I still recommend it.
Young Adult (YA)
There are always a few of my YA favorites hanging out on the shelf. Books that I read years ago that I still reach back to for some nostalgia. Among these are some books from the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and some signed copies of the False Price series books by Jennifer A. Nielsen.
My trusty, often-reached-for and referenced writing craft books have been fairly consistent over the years. The main three ones I reach for are Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi and the Negative Trait Thesaurus also by Ackerman and Puglisi.
I honestly think that all types of information is useful to writers. More source material, less research later, expanding horizons of thinking and ideas. So I try to also pursue other interests.
One of these other interests is astronomy, so I have a coffee table book of astronomy on my shelf. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure ill circle around to it. It’s probably a bit outdated (but most of it still should hold up to current understanding), and having read some from slightly outdated astronomy texts before, I think it’s actually quite interesting to see how understanding has developed. I quite like coffee table books on astronomy because they are informative and they have the beautiful pictures to pair. I used to hate illustrations in books (I’m warming up to them though). But I love seeing photos of space—they help remind me of some of the amazing things that writing sci-fi lets me explore.
I love dictionaries. Even though I usually just quickly look words up online. There’s something so beautiful about old dictionaries. And hard copy thesauruses can have more information than online ones. I’ve found surprising lists and information in thesauruses. You never know what you’ll find in reference books!
So much of classic literature incorporates speculative elements, and even the stuff that doesn’t has stuck around for so long for a reason. Plus, old books are so cool! There’s something fascinating seeing what sensibilities and thoughts weave through the whole of literary tradition. Most human concerns have spread been explored in the history of literature. And I think its important to know what literary tradition I’m following in.
That’s a selection of what I’ve read, been reading, and want to read soon. Let me know if you have any recommendations. What’s on your bookshelf?