Writer’s Shelfie

Writer's ShelfieDerek Birks author of Feud, A Traitor’s Fate and Kingdom of Rebels tagged me to create a ‘writer’s shelfie’ with books that are important to my writing. I chose ten which seemed like a reasonable number, although I could have selected a lot more.

Letters of Agar Adamson – nothing beats real letters and diaries for helping a writer to appreciate WWI with small details on conditions and everyday soldiering. Agar’s are superb and I’ve written about them in the past.

Vimy by Pierre Berton – the battle for Vimy Ridge features in both of my published novels and will get a mention in my next novel as well. Berton’s non-fiction account has been my companion for at least five years. It is well thumbed and underlined.

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris – this non-fiction memoir has nothing to do with war, however, it has everything to do with the human spirit and what are writers without exploring the human spirit?

Three Day Road and Deafening are novels written about the Canadian experience of WWI. Boyden and Itani are excellent writers – so I have looked to them for both war and technique.

I consult The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman and Write Away by Elizabeth George regularly. Lukeman brings an agent’s perspective while George talks more about writing as craft and process. Several other writing books are on my shelves.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje is an example of writing at its finest. Inspiration lies in every paragraph.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks is one of THE books on WWI.

The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson is a story told in poetry. At times I find a phrase that speaks to me and prompts my own writing. I have another book of poetry and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations that I also use in this way.

5 thoughts on “Writer’s Shelfie”

  1. I can only dream about writing as well as Michael Ondaatje in The English Patient. The film was pretty moving as well. The Lord Suffolk scene in the book and the two jeeps scene in the film so memorable as shocking wartime moments – if my memory serves me correctly.

  2. Nice blog about Irish history. I am taking a course now at Trinity College, which includes witnesses to WWI and War of Independence, goes right along with some of the books in this post. Lovely! You are welcome to have a look for more Irish history @ celticthoughts.com

  3. I also have “The First Five Pages”. I must have read it 5 times! I think every writer should have it on their bookshelf.

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