What's On Your Reading List?

Publish date:

'Tis the season! Whether you made a list for friends and relatives to shop from, or whether you're picking off of your personal reading list, there's probably a book or two out there that you just have to read while you have some time off in the coming weeks. The editors at Writer's Digest share the one book they can't wait to get their hands on and crack open.

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away a copy of our 2015 Novel Writing special interest publication and Crafting Novels & Short Stories to one lucky Writer's Digest fan. Both are loaded with useful articles from Writer's Digest magazine and chapters from Writer's Digest Books, written by contributors like Jacob Appel, Grant Faulkner, Martha Alderson, Steven James, David Corbett, Elizabeth Sims, Hallie Ephron, Donald Maass, Nancy Kress, James Scott Bell and more. In order to be eligible to win, all you need to do is tell us what is on your reading or wish list this holiday season, and why. Post your response either here in the comments of this blog, on this FB post or on Twitter using the hashtag #WDWishList. Deadline to enter is 12 pm EST on December 21, 2015.

2015 Novel Writing SIP

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson
"My Christmas list to Santa starts with Furiously Happy by The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson. She's one of the funniest writers I know and she always finds a way of taking personal awkward life moments and turning them into laughter-inducing stories. It's the must-get holiday book for me this year."
—Brian A. Klems, Writer's Digest Online Editor

The Son, Philipp Meyer
"I've read Meyer's debut novel American Rust, and I admired it for its compelling characters and gritty, honest depiction of a Pennsylvania steel town. With such a provocative setting in his debut, I know I can expect the same in his second novel, "a multigenerational saga of power, blood, land, and oil that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family, from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century."
—Chelsea Henshey, Writer's Digest Books Associate Editor

The Son

How to Be Drawn, Terrance Hayes
"I'm actually surprised I haven't made the time to read this book yet. Terrance Hayes has been writing some of the most exciting poetry for more than a decade now—with his previous collection, Lighthead, winning the National Book Award. As a National Book Award finalist in poetry, I know How to Be Drawn is going to bring that same inventiveness and excitement as Hayes' previous collections."
—Robert Lee Brewer, Poet's Market, Writer's Market and WritersMarket.com Senior Content Editor

Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave
"One book on my to-read-next-year list is Chris Cleave's new book, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, which comes out in May. I've read almost all his books and really, really enjoyed them, and I'm excited to get my hands on this next one."
—Baihley Grandison, Writer's Digest Assistant Editor

This comprehensive book on the art of novel and short story writing is
packed with advice and instruction from best-selling authors and writing experts.
You'll learn invaluable skills for mastering every area of the craft, including:
defining and refining your characters; honing your story's point of view;
creating a rich setting and backstory; crafting dialogue that rings true; and more.

Crafting Novels & Short Stories

City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg
"The number one book on my wish list this holiday season is City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. The book, at nearly 1,000 pages, is big enough to fend off an advancing bear, and has received a ton of hype, with profiles of the writer appearing in both New York Magazine and Vogue, and Knopf paying Hallberg an almost unprecedented advance of close to $2 million. Oh, did I mention that this is the guy's DEBUT novel?! The story, which takes place in New York City in the late 1970s, revolves around a shooting in Central Park on New Year's Eve. It interweaves multiple perspectives, and, apparently, is so visceral it injects the gritty mood of the era directly into your bloodstream. Even if, in the end, it doesn't live up to such extensive publicity and just ends up laying around my house as a hefty paperweight or a kitchen step stool, at least I'll be part of the zeitgeist."
—Tyler Moss, Writer's Digest Managing Editor

City on Fire

Down to the Last Pitch, Tim Wendel
"I love the Minnesota Twins, so to learn that this book existed—an account of their 1991 World Series win—was an amazing thing. I look forward to getting the book for the holidays."
—Chuck Sambuchino, Guide to Literary Agents and Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market Editor

Descent, Tim Johnston
"I'm always interested in reading authors that I've never read before, if only to expand my reading list and learn something new. Tim Johnston's Descent, which has received a slew of excellent reviews, is next on my list. The classic story of a family trying to stay together, even as it appears they're slowly coming apart at the seams, takes a frightening turn when the eighteen-year-old daughter goes missing on their summer vacation in the Rockies. Any book that can capture and elicit fear—a seemingly ever-difficult element to master in writing—will find its way on my bookshelf."
—Cris Freese, Writer's Digest Books and Writer's Market series Associate Editor

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.

About Us: How to Handle Your Story That Involves Other People

About Us: How to Handle Your Story That Involves Other People

Your story belongs to you but will involve other people. Where do your rights end and theirs begin?