Like all writers, I grew up a voracious reader. The influence that countless works of fiction and non-fiction had on me, many of which I have long since forgotten, is inestimable. These samples represent a cross section of content that affected my outlook in various stages of my life. Mostly in my childhood and youth, but stay with me still.
BOOK OF GREEK MYTHS
The first book that has consciously stuck with me since early childhood. I’ve lived and breathed Greek mythology ever since.
THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS
Another childhood book that I read repeatedly. Arthurian legend and the chivalric ideals have stuck with me ever since.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS
I first read this in the 7th grade and have read it again every few years. Lots of wisdom in this book.
MAN OF LA MANCHA
I don’t know how many times I listened to this but the lyrics of every song has a real message.
This was the first Louis L’Amour western I ever read, but I am pretty sure I read them all. That’s where my libertarian streak might come from. The common theme: there is no stopping someone who believes in a cause and just keeps coming. Important tip: hold your knife low in a knife fight with the blade side up. Fortunately I haven’t had to use that tip so far.
THE FAIRE QUEEN
I only read it once and it was not easy to read. In fact most of it went right over my head. But a good portion of my first novel, A Glimpse Through the Mist, takes place in Spenser’s world. I don’t claim to be as accomplished as Spenser, but I am easier to read.
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
Only read it once, but it did get me thinking. And that is a writer’s job, not to tell the reader what to think, but to get the reader thinking. Well done, Robert Heinlein.
When I think of favorites, I think of old friends that I have worn out rereading. JRR Tolkien and Jane Austin remain in that category. And Anthony Trollope when I have the time. As do some of the popular novelists of the mid-twentieth century: Leon Uris, James Mitchener, and Herman Wouk. There might be a few Tom Robbins books that have escaped me, but I’ll track them down sooner or later. Then there are a couple notable one-off novels worthy of mention: T H White’s The Once and Future King, and Richard Adams’ Watership Down.
I’ll stop now, there are just too many.