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Recommended Books

Last update: 09-Feb-2009

Some books I highly recommend, linked to their respective information pages on Note: there are two sections below: books for writers and books for everyone. Otherwise, no specific order. (I apologize for not updating this page recently!)

Books Recommended for Writers

  • STORY by Robert McKee belongs on every writer's reference shelf. Even though it is subtitled "Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting" STORY's principles apply to novels just as well. After studying STORY you will know where and why your stories contain weaknesses. More importantly, you'll know how to fix them. (nonfiction)
  • The Writer's Journey, 2nd Edition, Mythic Structure for Writers, by Christopher Vogler. Vogler takes Joseph Campbell's theories about the universal qualities of the hero's journey (The Hero With A Thousand Faces) and presents them in a manne 9-feb-09 stories more effective by learning and using the 12 stages of the hero's journey, and how to employ the mythic archetypes to greatest effect.
  • Stephen King's On Writing, is billed as a writers guide for aspiring writers, but has more to offer than one might expect. The book begins and ends with interesting autobiographical material. The middle section is a no-nonsense and readable guide to writing fiction that beginners and seasoned writers can appreciate. Currently 40% off! Now available in PAPERBACK! Currently $5.59 at B&N online.
  • Dark Thoughts: On Writing: Advice/Commentary from 50 Masters of Fear and Suspense. From Amazon: "Stanley Wiater... has thematically grouped well-selected quotations from horror creators: major influences; the day-to-day work of writing; choosing a form (short stories, novels, comics, or movies); fame and fortune; the game of making movies (as seen by Wes Craven, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and George Romero, among others); sex and death; censorship; personal fears and philosophies; surprising advice; the function of horror; and "Where do you get your ideas?"
  • Finished your first novel? Looking for an agent? Check out the 2003 Guide to Literary Agents from Writer's Digest Books.


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Recommended Books: General Interest

  • The Infinite, by Doug Clegg. Publisher's Weekly calls the first hardcover in the horror line from Leisure Books "Electrifying... haunting...evocative." Check out the official Doug Clegg website.
  • Introducing, Guilty Pleasures, the first in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. Anita Blake is a Vampire Hunter and Zombie animator. The series is a noir-detective / horror / romance combination that works well. Hamilton really ratchets up the tension to unbearable levels. The Laughing Corpse and Circus of the Damned follow.
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson is an involved and involving tale of cryptography during World War II and in the present date. Lots of interesting characters and humorous observational tangents in this award winning book, but at over 900 pages, it requires a dedicated reader. Also, check out cyber cult classic Snow Crash.
  • The Keep (reissue) by F. Paul Wilson is a terrifically creepy novel about, of all things, a vampire in a Nazi fortress. Wilson has a whole new take on the vampire mythos. Yes, they made a 9-feb-09 9-feb-09 nd was enthralled.)
  • The Stand, Complete and Uncut: This is probably my favorite Stephen King title. A "SuperFlu" wipes out most of the world's population. The few survivors are divided into two camps representing good and evil. And they are preparing for the final battle.
  • Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons: A creepy tale of mental predators. This began, I believe, as a short story and became a meaty novel. As I recall, it has a slow build but a big finish.
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: Imagine a world devastated by plague. All the survivors are vampires... except one man. And they know where he lives.
  • The Wasp Factory by Iain M. Banks: This is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. A psychopath awaits the return from an insane asylum of his psychopathic older brother.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert: Possibly the most important science fiction novel of all time (winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards). Herbert creates an amazingly complex world and culture. Available in hardbound (pictured below) and paperback. A mini-series aired on the SciFi Channel December 2001, followed by the sequel mini-series " Children of Dune."
  • Gateway by Frederik Pohl: An exciting SF tale about the discovery and dangerous use of ancient alien technology. I discovered this book years after its initial release. Better late than never.