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Each of the authors featured in Bookmark Now recommends a book
that inspired them, provoked them, and taught them to fall in love with the
art of writing. And now we're passing them on to you. Enter our contest
for a chance to win all fifteen books.
Christian Bauman recommends:
by Annie ProulxSome books hit me where I live as a writer, some where I live as a reader, some where I live as a human. This masterpiece accomplished all three. It forced changes and realizations in how I think about word craft, how I present characters and place and the arc of a tale, and, in some ways, how I look at the people around me.
Tracy Chevalier recommends:
by Rose TremainThis was the first "contemporary" historical novel I read, and it showed me that history doesn't have to be dusty, but can be fresh and relevant and entertaining and heartbreaking. I took my cue from it and have been writing historical fiction ever since.
Stephanie Elizondo Griest recommends:
by Mary MorrisThis is the travelogue that made me realize a woman could hit the open road sola and define her journey on her own terms. It inspired an entire generation of female travel writers — myself among them.
Nico Cary recommends:
by Toni MorrisonFell in love with writing...
by Arundhati Roy...and fell in love with writing again.
Tom Bissell recommends:
by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynNo book has horrified me more, gripped me more, or fascinated me more. Gulag's three volumes swirl with millions of ghosts, and no work has better established the ultimate importance of literature.
Benjamin Nugent recommends:
by Ian McEwanLike a lot of stupid young men, I once hoped to write scathing commentary that would make my readers ashamed of themselves. This English family saga made me want to help readers love people who do shameful things.
Paul Collins recommends:
by Darrell HuffHuff's charming and eye-opening classic remains as timeless as ever. It should be part of every citizen's field kit — you'll never look at a newspaper, watch a commercial, or listen to a politician in the same way again after reading this book.
Douglas Rushkoff recommends:
by Robert Anton WilsonThe book showed me one can write quite seriously about the weird. It's also one of the most striking form = function works — it does to the reader what has happened to the protagonist.
Glen David Gold recommends:
by C.D. PayneOne of the five funniest books ever written, teaching potential writers that a) cause-and-effect plots never grow tiresome as long as b) we love the characters who c) will remain lovable even if they do odious things while d) pursuing a goal we want them to achieve.
Karl Soehnlein recommends:
by Edmund WhiteIt's a book about breaking away from a stifling upbringing to become the adult you were meant to be, while falling into doomed love affairs and creating the friendships that will last a lifetime. It's also a riveting and startling piece of history — a look at how life for gay men, in the years before the Stonewall Riots, was both terribly repressed and achingly vibrant.
Kelley Eskridge recommends:
by James HiltonI read Lost Horizon when I was barely a teenager and had just made an exhilarating, terrifying, life-bending choice. The book took me like a storm: I wanted to leap into it and wrestle Conway to the ground to keep him in his place of dreams, as I was struggling to keep myself in mine. It made me braver about my own choices at a time when I needed all the courage I could find. It's a great, joyful, tragic, hopeful book.
Dan Kennedy recommends:
by Steve MartinThere's a scene where Ray, the fifty-one year old multi-millionaire software genius savant, is eating dinner out of a white paper bag while standing in his kitchen. Watershed moment when I read it. I guess I instantly knew should my wildest dreams ever come true—like, say, later in life discovering I had somehow become a multi-millionaire software genius savant — I would still be eating take-out or delivery while standing at my kitchen sink.
Neal Pollack recommends:
by Philip RothPortnoy showed me, at age 15, that sex is an acceptable topic for literature, and that sex is funny. Experience has revealed that the sex scenes are much closer to realism than I previously thought.
Meghan Daum recommends:
by Joan DidionI'm hardly the first writer to claim existential transformation at the hands (okay, the pen, the typewriter, whatever…) of Joan Didion, but to be twenty-two years old and reading sentences that go on for nearly a page and employ more commas than many writers use in entire chapters is to find oneself kneeling at a sort of literary altar. That last sentence, which is more or less a bad stylistic rip-off of Joan Didion, is a good indication of how much The White Album (and, in quick succession, all her other books) changed my life. On behalf of the thousands of young writers who steal from Didion everyday, all I can say is thanks.