Five Books That Influenced the Way I Write

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I am not usually a voracious book reader.

Much to my dismay, I would much rather sit in front of the TV for two hours than try to read a book without falling asleep. While TV gets be all jazzed up, reading a book just feels so cozy I can’t help but nod off about 15 minutes in.

Since transitioning to writing, I have been forced to admit that I cannot be a good writer if I am not also a consistent reader. After I read Lena Dunham’s book, it was obvious I was writing better with more gusto and honesty

So here are five books that have influenced the way I write (so you can check them out too!):

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

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To be fair, Lena Dunham is a crazy person. She used to post close-up shots of all her random bruises on Instagram, and if you have ever watched GIRLS (which she wrote, directed, and starred in) you know she isn’t afraid to participate in some pretty weird sex scenes.

But what I find so inspiring about Lena Dunham (and her memoir) is that she did all of these things before turning 30, and created something that is purely the truth of the 20-something, mostly average girl feelings and thoughts.

You can buy it here.

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

 

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How can you not love Anne Lamott, especially when she writes about how reprimanding her son felt like bitch-slapping E.T.? I love the way Anne Lamott writes because she’s funny and deep without trying to be funny and deep; her stories simply are these things because she is telling the raw truth without any agenda other than to tell the story itself.

You can buy it here.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

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When I was reading Tina Fey’s book, I just kept thinking to myself, “This is how I want to write.”

You can buy it here.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

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Man, this book is SO WONDERFUL AND ALSO DEVASTATING. Cheryl Strayed (who also wrote a little book called Wild) used to be the anonymous advice columnist known as “Dear Sugar” who wrote beautiful, thought-out responses to people in need of advice. But what is so incredible about Tiny Beautiful Things is the way in which Strayed responds: not with a nice neat, sugar-coated answer, but rather drawing from the complicated truth of her own life where the answers aren’t always so black and white.

Plus, she’s just a badass, lovely writer.

You can buy it here.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

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I do not usually laugh out loud while I’m reading, but I FUR SURE laughed out loud when reading the first chapter as David Sedaris described his tumultuous relationship with his speech therapy instructor who was trying to correct his lisp.

I love that David Sedaris is smartly funny; he is trying to be funny but at the same time isn’t trying to rub it in your face how funny he is.

You can buy it here.

And bonus!

I also wanted to share some books I’m really looking forward to reading (in fact I ordered them from Amazon just this morning, if that gives you any indication of how much self-control I have when it comes to spending money).

Becoming by Laura Jane Williams

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Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

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Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

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The Highly Sensitive Person in Love by Elaine N. Aron*

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*Because, newsflash, I overthink things and that translates into my romantic relationship.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh*

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*Because I need to retain my sanity and throw a good dark fiction in there once in a while.


Have you read any of these books? What books have most influenced your life or the way you think about things? 

1 reply »

  1. I loved Bossy Pants and am a huge Tina Fey fan!! While the early chapters were the most funny, I enjoyed the insight into her writing (and acting) in later chapters. I think she must be freakishly intelligent!!
    I generally read as an escape, so I don’t read dark novels or books that might “bring me down” as life seems quite difficult and dark enough – but I fear this is making me more shallow and less interesting. Thanks for the book thoughts, I feel inspired! — Aunt Andie

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