We all have them, hopefully, those books we’ve read and loved and that have moved us so profoundly that they actually changed us. As a writer, one can only hope to one day write something that bears a real influence on a reader’s life, and receiving an email from a reader saying my first book ‘made her finally come to terms with herself’ was incredible. I’m often asked about book recommendations, and while I have read so many incredible novels that have undoubtedly shaped me both as a writer and as a person, I’ve picked some of my personal all-time favorite reads. What are yours?
Away by Amy Bloom
I loved this little, odd, sad book. Bloom’s talent for unexpected prose and cutting straight to the bone of the human experience never ceases to surprise me.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
This quiet, humble book about an old preacher writing to his young son completely floored me. If very pressed, I’d be likely to say this is the best book I have read. Ever.
White Noise by Don de Lillo
For me, this novel was life changing in its way of validating the underlying confusion and anxiety of postmodern life. It’s very funny and very sad at once, just how I like it.
All That is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh Mckeon
This is an absolutely stunning debut novel, moving and bold and terrifying and wonderful. Mckeon does not shy away from brutal descriptions of one of the biggest tragedies of our times, Chernobyl, and his prose is unwaveringly beautiful for it.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I loved this book, and how Safran Foer doesn’t give a hoot about adhering to the rules. I’ll never forget little Oskar and how beautifully and sensitively Safran Foer explored his world.
The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd
Old-school love story with an exotic and dangerous undertone. This book stayed with me for a very long time and I’ve re-read it twice.
After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
This was the first book that broke my heart. It made me want to write a grief novel, and is just so achingly beautiful in its complete absence of clichés.