November is a big month for writing challenges; National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), wherein your goal is to write at least 50,000 words of a novel from Nov.1st-Nov.30th to be declared a winner, National Non-Fiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), the goal being to complete a work of non-fiction in 30 days, and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), where bloggers post something new every day for 30 days, are a few of them that are taking place right now. This is the first time I’ve personally opted to do one, I chose NaNoWriMo because I’m a half crazy masochist.
In light of a month of writing contests for the insane, I decided to share a list of some of my favorite books. I’ve narrowed it down to ten because I had to cut it off somewhere, but truth be told, choosing what to cut was like picking a favorite child. Here they are, in no particular order:
- East of Eden – by John Steinbeck; this book is terrifically metaphorical and somewhat heavy in theme. It’s not a quick read, but it’s definitely worth the time.
- Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen; Because I’m a sucker for classics, or maybe because I’m such a girl, Jane Austen never gets old.
- The Catcher In The Rye– by J.D. Salinger; all of the cussing in this book can be a little shocking coming out of the gate, but once you get past that, it’s clear that Salinger was a literary genius.
- Night – by Elie Wiesel; this is a short, but intensely powerful book written by a man who had been in a Jewish concentration camp as a boy, and tells of his story of survival. This one will stick with you for years.
- State of Wonder – by Ann Patchett; I think I have a little bit of a fan crush on Ann Patchett. She’s a brilliant writer, and I savor every sentence in every one of her books. This one in particular has just about a lifetime’s worth of research packed into it. I love that in all of her books, there’s just enough not “wrapped up” at the end that it sort of leaves your skin on fire. Of all of her work, this one just happens to be my favorite.
- In Cold Blood – by Truman Capote; I hadn’t read this book until eight or nine years ago, I finally did just to see what all the fuss was about. I’m normally not inclined to things like this (with all the murdering and such), but Capote’s insight into the human psyche is truly incredible.
- To Kill a Mockingbird – by Harper Lee; it may seem a little cliche’ to have her next on the list since she was BFF’s with Truman Capote, but I really don’t care, judge me if you want, I loved this book, and nothing has knocked it off my top ten in over twenty years.
- The Bible – by lots of people; this might seem cliche’ as well because it’s on almost everyone’s list, but come on, it’s the most famous book of all time. Ever. And it’s pretty exciting stuff.
- The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho; this is another short but powerful book about finding one’s destiny. It took the author only two weeks to write it, and as of this week, it’s remained on the best seller list for 323 weeks.
- The Scarlet Letter – by Nathaniel Hawthorne; I swear I don’t have a thing for dark, tragic fiction. This is just another one of those books that I could never quite shake off.
Best of luck to all the writers out there who are creating until your fingers and brains bleed this month! (By the way, is there some sort of December support group for us?)