These are purely the writers and books that have had an effect on me in one way or another. It is not intended as a list of greatest authors of all time, just those that Ive learned from and maybe you can to.
Geoff Thompson: I was a teenager when I was first handed a copy of Watch My Back. It went on to be a bit of a cult book and there followed a number of gritty real life books from different authors. Watch My Back was different for me though because the author comes from the same area as me so I recognised the places. The action wasn’t happening in a distant land, it was in the pubs and clubs I could go to.
I went on to read a lot of his work and it always felt odd to see him at the gym or walking around like a normal person. It’s one thing to see an author at a book signing but something entirely different to see one at Office World.
If you don’t fancy his earlier work then you should definitely take a look at his later writing like The Elephant And The Twig or Fear – The Friend Of Exceptional People. They are very easy to read and will make you view life through a different lens.
Many of you may not find his work as inspiring as me but then again you didn’t have the benefit of seeing someone local move from factory to TED Talk.
Steven Pressfield: The War Of Art, its a must read. Whether you want to write a book, join a gym or partake in any life changing activity, you need this. Sadly I was on draft eight of my novel before I discovered it.
Even after learning the lessons you learn from writing, editing and re-writing the book still hit me like a future me had written it just for me. Page after page described the problems I’d faced and explained in simple English why I found it so easy to procrastinate.
I followed this book with Do The Work, Turning Pro and Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit. Each of them well worth taking a look if you feel any creative urge, they are great books however nothing touches The War Of Art for impact.
Your favourite authors: This part really depends on you. I recommend reading a lot and that’s easiest with whoever you like reading the most. I tend to binge read working through all the books of an author I like and then trying another. Whatever you like reading, read.
Some classics: You’ve probably read a wide range of books but if you haven’t take a look at some older books that have gone on to be classics. 1984 and To Kill A Mockingbird are two I consider essential as they aren’t old enough to be difficult to read and are both important. If you want to read older, the Sherlock Holmes books are good reading as is The Great Gatsby. Of course there are older books but many aren’t as accessible to a casual reader. If you are someone who wants to read these books then you probably already know what they are.
Different Authors –
Andy McNab: Bravo Two Zero is not going to be on many lists of must read novels but along with Geoff Thompson it was the first novel being passed around men at work as being a must read.
Dan Brown: The Da Vinci code may or may not be a book you like but Ive read it a couple of times now and it still retains its page turner quality. In all the books Ive read few come close to Dan Brown’s for the need to read just one more chapter.
Bret Easton Ellis: America Psycho definitely isn’t a book for everyone. Its one of only two books that have made me flinch while reading and this one did it a couple of times. Regardless of whether you enjoy it or not, the style is quite unique and you can make your own mind up about whats really happening in the story.
Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club is his most famous but give Snuff & Invisible Monsters a spin too. I am currently working through his back catalogue and I love most of them. I can see why people wouldn’t like them as much as me but if you want to read something very different, give him a go.
E.L James: Fifty Shades Of Grey, everyone knows what it is and its the only book here that I haven’t read, yet its probably the biggest inspiration I had to write for myself. I tried to read it, three times but I cant. I don’t think its written well, I don’t think I’m alone in this and I could only get half way through the film. Now I could be all literary snob and scoff but the fact is it sold better than anything I will ever write. What I took from this is firstly that eBooks could work and secondly that if you create a story that interests people enough and characters that readers want to learn more about, people will read your book and queue for your film regardless of the opinions of everyone else. So without reading the books, E.L James did more to inspire me to have a go than any of the literary giants ever did.
© 2016 David G Chambers. All rights reserved.