Creating a Genre Writers' Reading List

Between fiction, craft books, business, and personal development, I have abundant material to study. I already read casually. Always have. Now it is vital to take a structured approach or track what I learn. I need to keep organized.


My six Reasons for Formalizing a Reading Plan

  • Further familiarization with the cannon and contemporary slate of work
  • Further development as a writer and a creative person
  • Background reading for research
  • Study the craft
  • Gain publishing savvy
  • Develop a successful author mindset



Things to Consider

I’m looking to read classic and contemporary fiction broadly and concentrate on my genres, reading craft and author-related books. To take notes on a writing life from multiple sources to build that understanding of what a writer should learn and needs to achieve to make it. I also need to read books on the business of publishing/self-publishing. Finally, looking to read research around my own fiction.

There is so much missing from this list. It lacks biographies, history books, and science books as some examples I’ll keep in mind for the next round.

This isn’t a recommended list. It isn’t optimized by most effective or most useful. I picked up most of my book collection at thrift stores and book sales. This is me working with what I have. It was hard to narrow the list down to just these titles. My plan was to stop at 100. That wasn’t enough. By my count, there are 156, but I’ve read many of these before, and some are collections of essays. So I’ll only be doing some selected reading from them.


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The short story collections will be added and then continue forward to the end of the year. I’ll break them down into manageable pieces as I go.

I plan to finish this list before December 31. This is what the rest of my year looks like, as to close reading. I’ll still be reading internet articles, newsletters, and miscellaneous material. However, those will not have dedicated time blocks, and I’ll have to fit them around my writing/reading schedule.

This is my reading plan. I will do close readings and turn my notes into reviews/commentary/analysis.



So Anyway, Here is the List


Aspects of the NovelEM Forester1
Bird by BirdAnne Lamott1
Danse MacabreStephen King1
English for CareersLeila R Smith1
How to Take Smart NotesSonke Ahrens1
Language AwarenessVarious1
Linguistics in Proper PerspectivePose Lamb1
Longman Practical StylistSheridan Baker1
Using Your Brain For a ChangeRichard Bandler1
Writers IncVarious1
100 Malicious Little MysteriesVarious1
Collected Stories of Clark Ashton SmithClark Ashton Smith1
Night WindsEdward Wagner1
Discourse of ReasonJohn Sherwood2
Elements of Style WorkbookMichele T Poff2
Getting Things DoneDavid Allen2
Making It All WorkDavid Allen2
Steering the CraftUrsula Le Guin2
The Art of FictionJohn Gardner2
The Elements of StyleWilliam Strunk2
Dream StoryArthur Schnitzler2
Far OutDamon Knight2
GrendelJohn Gardner2
Johnny Mnemonic Short StoryWilliam Gibson2
KullRobert E Howard2
Mirrorshades The Cyberpunk AnthologyBruce Sterling2
The DeadJames Joyce2
The StrangerAlbert Camus2
Creating Short FictionDamon Knight3
In Cold BloodTruman Capote3
Scene and StructureJack M Bickham3
The Emotional Craft of FictionDonald Mass3
Amy Hempel The Collected StoriesAmy Hempel3
Books of BloodClive Barker3
Eaters of the DeadMichael Crichton3
Heart of DarknessJoseph Conrad3
Necronomicon HPHP Lovecraft3
Stories of Your Life and OthersTed Chiang3
The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway3
Vampire StoriesAlan Ryan3
Do More in Less Time  4
Metaphor and Related SubjectsOwen Thomas4
On Becoming a NovelistJohn Gardner4
The Resourceful WriterSuzanne S Webb4
The War of ArtSteven Pressfield4
Death Angels ShadowKarl Edward Wagner4
Farewell My LovelyRaymond Chandler4
Pattern RecognitionWilliam Gibson4
The Andromeda StrainMicheal Crichton4
The Big SleepRaymond Chandler4
The Crying of Lot 49Thomas Pynchon4
The Hellbound HeartClive Barker4
Art & Fear 5
Characters and ViewpointOrson Scott Card5
Creating Character ArcsKM Weiland5
Deep WorkCal Newport5
Law of SuccessNapoleon Hill5
Manage Your Day to DayScott Belsky5
Thinking Fast And SlowDaniel Kahneman5
DuneFrank Herbert5
The Damnation GameClive Barker5
The Maltese FalconDashell Hammett5
The Terminal ManMicheal Crichton5
The Vampire LestatAnne Rice5
The VanishingBentley Little5
The Elephants of StyleBill Walsh6
TransformationsRichard Bandler6
A Scanner DarklyPhilip K Dick6
BlindsightPeter Watts6
ConanRobert E Howard6
The DaVinci CodeDan Brown6
PlotAnsen Dibell7
The Power of FocusJack Canfield7
A Most Wanted ManJohn Le Carre7
American BeautyAlan Ball7
Flashing Sword 1Lin Carter7
Our Man in HavanaGraham Greene7
The Book of SkaithLeigh Brackett7
This Symbiotic FascinationCharlee Jocab7
TransgressionsEd McBain7
The Society of the SpectacleGuy Debord8
Eldrith TalesHP Lovecraft8
Interview with the VampireAnne Rice8
Johnny MnemonicWilliam Gibson8
KinkKathe Koja8
Random Acts of Senseless Violence Jack Womack8
Roadside PicnicStrugatsky8
Solomon KaneRobert E Howard8
StarfishPeter Watts8
The Litigators JJohn Grisham8
Weirdbook 42John Shirley8
Body LanguageJulius Fast9
Songs of a Dead DreamerThomas Ligotti9
Un-Procrastinate 9
Coldheart CanyonClive Barker9
Philosophy of the BoudoirMaquis de Sade9
The Silence of the LambsThomas Harris9
Good Scripts Bad ScriptsThomas Pope10
GrimscribeThomas Ligotti10
Ritualistic Human SacrificeCV Hunt10
The Bourne ObjectiveEric Van Lustbader10
The Devils DayJames Blish10
Titus CrowBrian Lumley10
WoundsNathan Ballingrud10
Dramatic for ScreenwritersArmando Saldana-Mora11
You 2.0 11
Casino RoyaleIan Fleming11
CrashJG Ballard11
Do Androids Dream of Electric SheepPhilip K Dick11
Flashing Sword 2Lin Carter11
The Empress of DreamsTanith Lee11
The Great Train RobberyMicheal Crichton11
Focus Free 12
How to Write a Novel Step by StepMelanie Anne Phillips12
Beast Masters PlanetAndre Norton12
Darkness WeavesKarl Edward Wagner12
Mr MajestykElmore Leonard12
NestTerry Goodkind12
Sudden FictionVarious12
The King in YellowRobert W Chambers12
Anatomy of StoryJohn Truby13
How to Mutate and Take Over the WorldRU Sirius 13
The Definitive Book of Body LanguageAllan Pease13
The Day of the JackalFrederick Forsyth13
The HungerWhitley Strieber13
The MonkMatthew Lewis13
Four ScreenplaysSyd Field14
Secrets of Screenplay StructureLinda J Cowgill14
ClockersRichard Price14
Night SoldiersAlan Furst14
Tell Me Your DreamsSidney Sheldon14
The Serpent and the RainbowWade Davis14
Guide to Screenplay StructureDan Obannon15
Talent is Overrated GGeoff Colvin15
The Essential DruckerPeter Drucker15
American History XDavid McKenna15 
Bleeding EdgeThomas Pynchon15
Fright NightJohn Skipp15
NeuromancerWilliam Gibson15
The Rum DiaryHunter S Thompson15
Power NetworkingDonna Fisher16
Turning PointsDamon Knight16
Writing the Breakout Novel WorkbookDonald Mass16
Writing the Breakout NovelDonald Mass16
Game Set Match TrilogyLen Deighton16
Naked LunchWilliam S Burroughs16
Sandman SlimRichard Kadrey16
The Road of KingsKarl Edward Wagner16