So this week is supposed to be our top five reads of 2011... And.... I couldn't do it. I couldn't limit myself to just five. Every time I tried, I felt like all the other books in the apartment were watching me with puppy dog eyes thinking, "Why didn't she choose me?"
So I am totally cheating and listing my top five books about writing (published in any year). I'm a rebel of the causeless variety.
Ready? Here goes...
# 5: Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Neil Gaiman (Goodreads)
Okay, technically not a book about writing so much as the story of a radio series-turned-book-turned-television-series. It is, however, fascinating (providing you like Douglas Adams and want to hear about the lengths his poor editors had to go to to get him to turn things in on time). Warning: Not for the casual fan.
# 4: The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner (Goodreads)
Part guide to writing life and part insight into the business of publishing, this book is like having a very long, very informative lunch with an editor.
# 3: The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler (Goodreads) tied with Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (Goodreads)
Both of these are actually geared towards screenwriters but they're also helpful for anyone writing fiction--especially fiction that falls into the three act structure.
# 2: On Writing by Stephen King (Goodreads)
To quote Ash, "Hail to the king, baby." Part memoir, part book on the craft, On Writing is all awesome. Warning: Some of the advice on getting an agent might be a bit dated (I haven't read the updated version so am not sure if that information has changed).
# 1: Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (Goodreads)
The best explanation of show vs tell that I have ever seen. It also has a totally kick butt section on beats and dialogue tags. It's one of the few books that I think every writer can benefit from, even if it's just reminding them of things they already know.