Suggested Read


1. The Three Musketeers, Alexander Dumas

2. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

3. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

These are my three favorite novels, and these three books,

together and separately, have influenced my writing career, my

writing goals, and (I hope) the quality of my finished work

more than any others. The rich humor, passion, endless

adventure, and honor of The Three Musketeers; the

wonderful complexity of plot, enormous stakes, great

characters, and the depth of love in A Tale of Two Cities; and

the power of questing after dreams in Don Quixote shook me

out of any remaining complacency I had when I was between

the ages of fifteen and seventeen (when I first read these, just

for fun and just because they were available). They changed

me and my life, in all ways for the better. (Odd to discover that

my most necessary and favorite fiction books are not by my

favorite fiction writers—Mark Twain, Clifford Simak, Theodore

Sturgeon, L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, Fritz Leiber,

Lawrence Block, Mary Stewart, Dean Koontz, … well, that list

would get really long, so I’ll stop here.)


4. Ancient Inventions, Peter James and Nick Thorpe. My

absolute number-one no-questions-asked writing-resource

recommendation, no hesitation, waffling, or second guessing.

People were smart long before they came up with computers—

this chronicles the development of ancient Greek robots,

Roman fire engines, Chinese magnetic security systems,

thousand-year-old brain surgery (the patients survived), and

MUCH more. A writer’s treasure trove. (One recommendation

besides mine, no comment)

5. Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain–I recommend all of

Twain’s nonfiction for its brilliant glimpses of an era past, some

of the best character writing ever done, for its rich humor, and

especially for its heart—but this one is special. If you don’t

read any of his others, read this.

6. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, Arthur

Cotterell. Well organized and succinct, with good detail on

each civilization offered. Though nowhere near deep enough

to answer all your questions, it’s a great place to figure out

which questions you need to ask.

7. The Art of War, Sun Tzu. From a personal standpoint, the

most immediately applicable and useful book I’ve ever read.

From a writing standpoint, critical in planning out the wars and

diplomatic stratagems and Machiavellian characters that dodge,

weave, and slink through my books. Reading Machiavelli

himself was helpful, and books on military strategies and

tactics are great in limited situations, but The Art of War is as

applicable to one-on-one character interaction in a peaceful

setting as it is to ten thousand guys coming over a hill to

discover that the enemy has gone around them and is now

behind them. With flamethrowers. You gotta, you gotta, you



Fiction (Alpha by Title)


8. 10,000 Lovers, Edeet Ravel (great insight into the origins and

escalation of the Palestinian conflict)

9. 1984, George Orwell (Mandatory high school reading when

1984 seemed so far away. I re-read it last year and was

stunned. It was chilling reading.) (Two recommendations, one


10. A Cage of Butterflies, Brian Caswell

11. A Child’s Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson

(Poems about childhood My Granny & Pop gave me an old hard

bound copy with beautiful color plate pictures from the early


12. A Far Cry from Kensington, Muriel Spark (You want to

have a cup of tea with her narrator, Mrs. Hawkins.)

13. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

14. A Vision of Light, Judith Merkle Riley (or any of her books,

Great historical fiction with a metaphysical, magical, and

religious twist)

15. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

16. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

17. After Worlds Collide, Philip Wylie (He mostly wrote

Detective novels, but wrote only one or two Scifi pieces. Back in

the 1950’s (? ) they made a movie out of his first book. It was

called ( of course ), ” When Worlds Collide.” To me, it was a

very badly made movie. In fact, awful! But, when I discovered

that he had written a second book about after Earth’s survivors

had landed on the new World – I had to read it. I finally

discovered a paperback copy at a Science fiction show

$10 dollars for it. It was originally only .35 cents! It was great!

Maybe if I had read the first book before watching the movie, it

would have been better, too.)

18. Alchemist, The, Paulo Coelho (A beautiful story about a

young boy has to learn to listen to – and sometimes ignore –

the callings of his heart. Sometimes our treasure is right next to

us, but we have to go away in order to find it…)

19. Alchemist’s Daughter, The: A Novel, Katharine

McMahon (A scientific period romance set in the time of


20. All titles by Karl May (a German author writing fiction about

red-Indians, Arabs, slave trading, German history, Christianity;

as far as I know he is rather unknown in the US)

21. American Gods, Neil Gaiman. (Another doorstopper,

Shadow’s quest through an amazing number of pantheons left

me breathless and wanting to “Write a book like that, only

mine!” Neil is just freaking brilliant.)

22. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

23. Andrew Lang Color Fairy Books, The, Andrew Lang

24. Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver

25. Anthem, Ayn Rand

26. Any kid/YA series book by K.A. Applegate – convinced me to

try out the waters of 1st person POV alternating between books

of a series (book 1 is my NaNo novel)…I’ve always written 3rd

in the past

27. Anything by Christopher Paolini (Can’t wait for the last one)

28. Anything by CJ Cherryh. (She’s truly a phenomenal writer.)

29. Anything by Tanya Huff. (Pretty much anything she wrote,

for completely revamping the way I understood dialogue and


30. Arc of Triumph, Erich Maria Remarque (For beauty of

language. And sadness.)

31. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

32. Atlantis Rising, Clive Cussler (Cussler has a good grasp of

history. He uses real life facts for background material. I’ve

read several others in the last few years – all good.)

33. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (To keep me on the straight

when the shades of grey between the black and the white are

too tempting.)

34. Banshee’s Honor, Shaylynn Rose

35. Barbed Coil. The, J.V. Jones (My favorite fantasy novel,

despite the fact that a big chunk of it is about war…taught me

that I have broader interests within the genre than I thought)

36. Bartimeus Trilogy, Jonathon Stroud

37. Belgariad, David Eddings (I know, but the first one was

fresh and entertaining)

38. Between, Georgia, Joshilyn Jackson

39. Black Jewels series, Anne Bishop

40. Book Thief, The, Markus Zusak

41. Bootlegger’s Daughter, The, Margaret Maron

42. Brothers Majere (Dragon Lance), Kevin Stein (I feel this

was a good mystery, in a fantasy setting)

43. Budayeen stories: George Alec Effinger– When Gravity

Fails, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss, and Budayeen

Nights (published posthumously, this last contains Budayeen

related short fiction including the never finished fourth novel

Word of Night. Well rounded technology and setting woven

throughout. Interesting characters. Flawed POV character that

you can’t help but root for).

44. Charity, Paulette Callen

45. Christmas Strike, The, Nikki Rivers

46. Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis

47. Cinderella Pact, The, Sarah Strohmeyer

48. Clementine, Sara Pennypacker

49. Conan stories, Robert E. Howard (His writing style will

completely engross you)

50. Conan, Robert E. Howard

51. Council Wars, John Ringo (Fun stuff)

52. Curse of Chalion, The, Lois McMaster Bujold (Bujold’s

ability to give each character a unique voice is reason enough

to study this book, but the way the plot, which starts out

deceptively safe, builds and evolves makes the book an

unforgettable read.)

53. Dark is Rising, The, Susan Cooper (This (series) of books

defined my childhood, and cemented my love of Arthurian

mythology, Celtic mythology, and solid old-world British

fantasy. Long before Potter, and long before the god-awful

travesty of a film (“The Seeker” – completely divergent from

Cooper’s text) that’s been produced this year. Far more

intelligent, both emotionally and in fantasy terms, than

anything else produced for this age group. Everything in

Cooper’s work feels real, rather than the cartoonish elves-anddragons

young adult fantasy produced by many others. If you

want to read these, persist until at least book 2 (The Dark is

Rising) which is where the story really starts – book 1 is a lot

more child-oriented (and is almost standalone). )

54. Darkfall, Isobelle Carmody

55. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

56. Darkness Take My Hand, Dennis Lehane (Anything by

him actually. A great mystery writer.)

57. Debt of Honor, Tom Clancy

58. Demons and Angels, Dan Brown

59. Discovery of Heaven, The, Harry Mulisch

60. Doctor Who: The Clockwise Man, Justin Richards

61. Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain

62. Down the Long Hills and all his Sackett family novels,

Louis L’Amour

63. Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak

64. Dracula, Bram Stoker (for epistolary form, feel of the

historical period, and general enjoyment)

65. Dragon Bones series, Patty Brigg (Which I found in a

backwards sort of way through her Mercy books, which I love,

which I probably never would have read if I hadn’t enjoyed

your Last Girl Dancing and Midnight Rain books so much.)

66. Dragon Prince trilogy, Melanie Rawn (utterly captivated

me. Even today more than a decade later, I can still see the

scenes she painted vividly as well as her incredible characters.

67. Dragoncrown War Cycle, Michael Stackpole (Good mix of

magic & technology)

68. Dragonsinger, Anne McCaffrey

69. Dresden Files series, Jim Butcher (Any book. Book one is

Storm Front)

70. Dune, Frank Herbert (#1 It doesn’t get more epic than

this!) (#2 My absolute all time favorite, I never get bored to

read this one over and over again! Scifi-novel) (Two

recommendations, two comments)

71. East of Eden, John Steinbeck (It was a close run thing

between this, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath.

I love Steinbeck and have since I was nine and read The Red

Pony. Not normally considered a book for children, but I

picked it up in the library because it looked like it was about a

horse (nine-year old girls and horses — need I say more?) I

read it over and over. I knew I didn’t understand a lot of it, but

I kept going back. Weird!)

72. Egypt Game, The, Zilpha Keatley Snyder

73. Elfquest Graphic Novels

74. Ender’s Game (and sequels), Orson Scott Card (Some of

the best use of Multiple Third Person POV I’ve read. Great

character work.) (An amazing story about a young boy’s

mission amongst the stars. This book has been perhaps the

single most influential book that I’ve ever read; I adore it to

death :)) (Four recommendations, two comments)

75. Eternity Road, Jack McDevitt

Dallas series, J.D. Robb’s (Nora Roberts) (a little scifi,

a little romance, a little mystery, with a hint of noir – genre


77. Faded Sun trilogy, C.J. Cherryh (One that has stood the

test of time for me, also Arafel’s Saga.)

78. Faking It, Jenny Crusie

79. Finding Francesca, Melina Marchetta (A YA story about an

eldest child who is forced to grow up when her mother

contracts depression. This story really resonated with me,being

an eldest child also, and being able to empathise with the trials

of high school. And I just love Melina’s writing style :))

80. Firebird, Kathy Tyres

81. Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes

82. Forever War, The, Joe Haldeman 􀀁

83. Foundation series, Isaac Asimov

84. Fox Woman, The, Kij Johnson

85. Golden Compass Series, Phillip Pullman

86. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

87. Good Earth, The, Pearl S. Buck

88. Good Omens (or the true and accurate prophesies of

Agnes Nutter, witch), Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

89. Green Rider, Kristin Britain, which was my very first adult

fantasy. The story is simple, but interesting and engaging, with

a strong heroine.

90. Guns of the South, The, Harry Turtledove

91. H.M.S. Ulysses, by Alistair MacLean (Courage and

redemption on the Arctic convoys of World War II.)

92. Hammer’s Slammers, David Drake (Fun stuff.)

93. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, J.K. Rowling,

which shows the incredible amount of forethought she put into

the story before even being to write it and amazing depth of


94. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling

(I liked the mystery element in this book, I feel it was one of

the best of the series) (Two recommendations, one comment)

95. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

96. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling (all of them – is that cheating)

97. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad (Exploring the darker

regions of the soul)

98. High Five, Janet Evanovich (Because it started my novel

writing career again)

99. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

100. Hobbit, The, J.R.R. Tolkein

101. Hornblower series, by C. S. Forester

102. How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff

103. Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

104. I Will Fear No Evil, Robert Heinlein

105. Island of the Blue Dolphin, Scott O’Dell

106. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke (Two

recommendations, no comments)

107. Kim, Rudyard Kipling (The characters jump off the pages

and his descriptions of India really make me feel I’m there.)

108. King of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (I’ll cheat and add

in it’s two prequels, The Thief and Queen of Attolia :D)

109. Knife of Dreams: Book 11 of the Wheel of Time,

Robert Jordan

110. Kushiel’s Avatar, Jacqueline Carey (I love the whole series

but the third book was stunning in its worldbuilding and its

sweeping, epic quality)

111. Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey

112. Kushiel’s Justice, Jacqueline Carey

113. Kylara Vatta Series (starting with Trading in Danger),

Elizabeth Moon

114. Last Unicorn, The, Peter S. Beagle

115. Lathe of Heaven, Ursula Le Guin

116. Laws of the Blood series and Vampire Romance

Series, Susan Sizemore

117. Left Hand of Darkness, The, Ursula Le Guin 􀀁

118. Light of Eidon, Karen Hancock

119. Lions Gate trilogy, Francine Rivers (Christian fiction,

favorite writer bar none) is the is my favorite of hers.

120. Lions of Al-Rassan, The, Guy Gavriel Kay (a difficult

choice between this, A Song for Arbonne, and Tigana. Kay

is my favourite writer of fantasy; he can turn a phrase that can

pull at your emotions like no other writer I know. Very few

authors have brought me close to tears; Kay manages it in

many of his books)

121. Little, Big, John Crowley (I love Crowley for the way he

blends the techniques and feel of literary fiction with the

fantastical elements of fantasy and magical realism).

122. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

123. Lord of the Rings, The (#1 Because Tolkien intended it to

be one book) (#2 Commitment to ideals in the face of

insurmountable odds. I know it’s a trilogy, but it’s really all one

complete story.) (Four recommendations, two comments)

124. Magic’s Pawn, Mercedes Lackey. It was the first real

fantasy I ever read that was character focused instead of being

about some great overall plot.)

125. Mallory’s Oracle, Carol O’Connor (the perfect anti-heroine)

126. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

127. Meredith Gentry series, Laurell K Hamilton (The Fae of

Europe living in America)

128. Mister God, This Is Anna, Fynn

129. Mistress of Spices, The, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

130. Mordant’s Need, Stephen Donaldson

131. Necroscope/Vampire Worlds/E-Branch series, Brian

Lumley (I know this isn’t one book, but it’s a series so I thought

it was relevant to put them all together.)

132. Neuromancer, William Gibson (The definitive cyberpunk


133. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

134. Night Shift Collection, Stephen King

135. Noble Dead series, Barb & JC Handee (A new twist on


136. Old Man of the Sea, Ernest Hemmingway

137. Ombria in Shadow, Patricia McKillip

138. On Basilisk Station, David Weber

139. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

140. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

141. Persian Boy, The, Mary Renault (I read it in the Seventies

and it haunts me still.)

142. Pocketful of Names, Joe Coomer

143. Poetry by Browning, Yates, Maya Angelo, and more than I

can even count here. Poetry is my first love and what I first had

published in grade school. I have volumes old and new in every

nook and cranny around here.

144. Power of Three, Diana Wynne Jones

145. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

146. Princess Bride, The, William Goldman

147. Rant, Chuck Palahniuk. (It’s quirky, obliquely violent, and

amazingly creative, Rant follows the life of a boy who goes

from purposely getting himself bitten by poisonous spiders and

wild animals to crashing cars and spreading rabies with

Nightimers. Just, WOW.)

148. Raptor Red, Robert T. Bakker

149. Ravished, Amanda Quick

150. Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier (Subtle suspense.)

151. Redcoat, Bernard Cornwell (A great story and a fabulous

textbook example of how to write an historical novel.)

152. Riddlemaster Trilogy, Patricia McKillip (which has been

printed in a single volume)

153. Ring of Fear, Anne McCaffrey (Though indirectly it

sidelined my novel writing career)

154. Robber Bride, The, Margaret Atwood

155. Sackett Brand, The, Louis L’Amour (I’m married to a guy

whose family could be a model for the Sacketts)

156. Sandman, The, Neil Gaiman (Cheating here, as it’s a series

of graphic novels rather than a novel per se – but Sandman is a

masterclass of how to draw on almost any source imaginable

and to weave all of those legends, tales and stories into a

cohesive, believable, magical story. Gaiman is the master of the

throwaway reference; every word hides a hugely rich

background (or the impression of a hugely rich background). I

myself am fascinated by the ‘truth’ that lies behind legends and

tales; Gaiman goes a good job of inventing it.)

157. Saving Francesca, Melina Marchetta (YA realism)

158. Screwtape Letters, The, C.S. Lewis

159. Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk

160. Secret Texts trilogy, Holly Lisle (Yeah, I know. Another

bunch of books instead of just one!)

161. Semper Fi, W.E.B. Griffin

162. Shadow of the Wind, The, Carlos Ruiz Zafón (a mystery

novel about a book)

163. Shakespeare’s Landlord, Charlaine Harris

164. Shibumi, Trevanian

165. Silmarillion, The, J.R.R. Tolkein (My single all-time favorite

is the Silmarillion. I keep it on my desk and re-read snips all

the time. I’m pretty much a tolkien-geek ( I actually read the

HOME series, Morgoth’s Ring is mind-blowing in a lot of deep

ways, but I’m not sure it counts as a novel.), but, to me, the

Silmarillion really shows the heart of it all.)

166. Skeleton Crew, Stephen King

167. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (Absolutely brilliant!)

168. Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Peter Hoeg

169. Solomon Kane stories, Robert E. Howard (complete and

unaltered versions available in The Savage Tales of

Solomon Kane from Del-Ray. Vivid, powerful, and emotional.

Kane, a puritan, is relentless in his quest to vanquish what he

sees as evil. No explanation is ever given for what drives him

besides religious fervor.

170. Song of Fire and Ice, George R. R. Martin

171. Song of the Lark, The, Willa Cather

172. Sonja Blue Collection, Nancy Collins (Great reinvention of

the supernatural world)

173. Spares, Michael Marshall Smith (If I was a book dictator

and there was one book everyone in the world had to read, for

me, it would be Spares. It completely knocked my socks off

when I read it a number of years back.)

174. Stand, The, Stephen King. (Yeah, I know it’s a

doorstopper, but it has been an annual read for me since the

initial version came out in paperback in ’79 or 80. I’ve read it at

least thirty times, can quote huge sweeping passages, and it

still sucks me in and keeps me riveted. Hands down my favorite

novel. Ever.)

175. Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert Heinlein,

176. Stray Birds, Rabindrah Tagore (For the art of metaphor.)

177. Sunbird, The, Wilbur Smith

178. Sunshine, Robin McKinley

179. Survival, by Julie Czerneda

180. Talyn, Holly Lisle (For itself and for representing solid

layered novelization – a good read but so much more with even

the faintest scratching of the surface; the reader could take it

at its word, but something deeper provokes a more thoughtful

response) (I hope that doesn’t sound like kissing-up, but it

really blew me away.) (Honor and commitment in the face of

hard choices.) (Three recommendations, three comments)

181. Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs

182. Terrier, Tamora Pierce (This, like any of her “The Circle

Opens” Quartet, are excellent examples of different fantasy

police procedurals.)

183. Thirteenth Tale, The, Diane Setterfield

184. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen

185. Tiger, Tiger, Marti Steussy (Nortonesque but gritty)

186. Time of the Great Freeze, Robert Silverberg (I bought

this at an elementary book-buying venue and remember it with

great fondness. I need to re-read it to see if it held up over


187. Time Traveler’s Wife, The, Audrey Niffenegger

188. Tinker, Wen Spencer

189. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (this one has stayed on

the favorites list for fifteen years, so I suppose it’s there for

good) (Two recommendations, one comment)

190. To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Robert Heinlein

191. Travis McGee stories (any of them), John D. MacDonald

(For good writing, character potrayal, plotting and wry remarks

on society and the human condition in general.)

192. Troll – A Love Story, Johanna Sinisalo (fantastic Finnish

fantasy novel)

193. Vampire Huntress™ Series, L.A. Banks. (She’s incredible

at drawing you into the story. Her work with setting and

character makes everything seem so real, it’s gripping.)

194. Watership Down, Richard Adams (It was my favorite book

for all of my teenage years) (Two recommendations, one


195. We the Living, Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff

196. Welcome to the Ark, Stephanie S. Tolan

197. Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut

198. Well Of Darkness (Sovereign Stone Trilogy), Margaret

Weis and Tracy Hickman (Even though I didn’t like the

following books of the Trilogy, I did like the fact that the main

character of this story was actually the bad guy and not the

good.) (Two recommendations, one comment)

199. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, Lawrence Block

200. Witches of Eileann series, Kate Forsyth (Good


201. Witching Hour, The, Anne Rice

202. Wizard in Rhyme series, Christopher Stasheff (The first

few books, anyway)

203. Wolf of the Plains, Conn Igguilden

204. World Gates, Holly Lisle (And no, I’m not sucking up!)

205. Xanth series, Piers Anthony (The First 4 books are the

best and most original)

Non-Fiction (alpha by title)


206. 􀀁 Worst Jobs in History: 2000 Years of Miserable

Employment􀀁, The, Tony Robinson

207. 36 Basic Plots (Summaries easily available online) [Ed.


208. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

209. A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, by VS


210. A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman (absolutely priceless!)

211. A Fine Romance, Judith Sills. (A self-help book that

provides nice insights into human behavior and why love is so


212. A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The

Creation of the U.S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815,

Christopher McKee

213. A History of Britain, by Simon Schama (I saw the tv

show, then I had to get my hands on this book of the three (it’s

a trilogy). I don’t own it, but I periodically borrow it from the

library. It’s the main thing that got me fired up about history.

He makes it so interesting!)

214. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson (One

of those ‘you learn something new every day’ books; always

rewards a reread.)

215. AA Book of the British Countryside, Heather, et. al.

(Goes into immense detail of the flora and fauna of the British

Isles where I live, but also has sections on history, ruins,

villages, building design etc, and sections on various habitats

such as hedgerows, lakes, bogs, cliffs, caves etc etc etc.

Basically, if it can be found in the British Countryside, it’s in this


216. Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: Biography,

William E. Glenapp

217. Adventures in the Screen Trade, William Goldman

(Because Hollywood fascinates me, and it ends up in a lot of

my stories)

218. Any number of hymnals

219. Any of the Reader’s Digest ‘The Earth, Its Wonders, Its

Secrets‘ series, (All of these are like indexes of fascinating

Ideas for further exploration.)

220. Any speech collection I come across (we have a dozen or so

here, though the internet is increasingly useful for this.)

221. Anything by Jane L. Ott, if you can find it anymore. I have

copies of most of it, but even her advertisements and the

letters and responses to her letters and advertisements are

really good reflections of prejudice, attitudes and trends of that


222. Anything historical. I have a book on the history of toilets,

underwear and the evolution of wood working tools. Oh yeah,

anything to do with Arkansas history.

223. Anything on growing orchids.

224. Anything on Saltwater Fish tanks, Frogs, and Terrariumsgreat

for learning about ecosystems.

225. April ’65: Confederate Covert Actions During the

American Civil War, William A. Tidwell

226. Archaeology magazine

227. Art Of Dramatic Writing, The: Its Basis In The

Creative Interpretation Of Human Motives, Lajos Egri and

Gilbert Miller

228. Art of Subtext, The, Charles Baxter (This one’s really new

– published this year)

229. Arthurian Handbook, The, various (ISBN 0815320817)

(Still have it a good 10 years after the college course that

required it; all kinds of interesting tidbits about Arthurian myths

and legends)

230. Artist’s Way, The, Julia Cameron

231. Bible, The, (I’m a Christian so it goes under non-fiction,

but I have found a lot of fun names and little story ideas within

it hardly related to my faith – others could find similar things in

there and even another perspective of religious activities) – also

these counts for like 2, it’s big)

232. Biographies about Women Artist in the Surrealist movement

such as Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Dorothea

Tanning. (rare and hard to come by books, these)

233. Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

234. Bondage Breaker, Neil Anderson (A Christian book

examining depression, spiritual warfare, and such. It’s great for

exploring emotional struggles characters go through, while

giving a simplified glimpse into basic psychology and such.)

235. Books about Llama and Alpaca farming,

236. Books on Psychology, Evolution and Biology.

237. Brotherhoods, The, Guy Lawson and William Oldham

(True crime story about Mafia and crooked cops in New York

City, lots of color and facts about the bad old days in New York

when the mob ruled and everyone was on the take).

238. Byzantine Revival, 780-842, The, Warren T. Treadgold.

(This book gave me so many plot ideas! There is a reason the

term “Byzantine” means “highly complicated; intricate and


239. Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language,

The, Dave Crystal (Marvelous! I can’t say anymore!)

240. Chuang Tzu, Chuang Tzu (The classic text on Taoist


241. Climates of the World, Barbara Linde

242. Collapse, by Jared Diamond (How and why societies


243. Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service

and the Assassination of Lincoln, William A. Tidwell, James

O. Hall, and David Winfred Gaddy

244. Contrary Farmer, The, Gene Logsdon

245. Creative Writing Coursebook, Andrew Motion and Julia


246. Cross-Sections, Stephen Biesty (For kids, but great for

when you don’t want to do a ton of research)

247. Crossword books, (I learn a lot of new words and

interesting facts while trying to find the answer to crossword

clues. They also good practice for finding synonyms.)

248. C-Span (television channel) though I stopped watching

when I literally started having Political, end of the

world, nightmares)

249. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott


250. Curries and Bugles, Jennifer Brennan (A memoir and

cookbook of the British Raj)

251. Daily Life in Medieval Times, Frances and Joseph Gies.

(A compendium of three books that are also available

separately. Those books’ titles are Life in a Medieval Castle,

Life in a Medieval Village, and Life in a Medieval City.

Sources include land and title records, court records, maps,

archeological data, and so forth for a specific location that

typifies the castle, village or city of the Middle Ages – Cheptsow

Castle, the village of Elton, and the city of Troyes.) (Two

recommendations, one comment.)

252. Daily Life in the Middle Ages, Paul B. Newman

253. Dark and Tangled Threads of Crime-San Francisco’s

Famous Police Detective, Isaiah W. Lees, William B.


254. Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt, Joyce


255. Descriptionary, Marc McCutcheon (For when ya know

what it is but not how to say it)

256. Developing Person though Life Span, Kathleen Stassen

Berger (Developmental psychology)

257. Dictionary of Ancient Deities, ed. Turner & Coulter

(Invaluable for information on tons of different cultures’ gods,

goddesses and such, including alternate names and aspects).

258. Did God Have a Wife?, William Dever (an exploration of

Israelite folk religion, including a detailed analysis of the

evidence that the ancient Israelites worshipped the Goddess

Asherah as consort to Yahweh)

259. Dirty Jobs (television show) (Great ideas on potential jobs

for my characters and me, too, if I never get anything


260. Documentaries, (Anything from the creatures of caves to a

short history of the Incas, documentaries are wonderful!)

261. Dog Whisperer (television show) (Learn the power of

Animal Psychology and how the animals in my books are

supposed to act)

262. Dogpile search engine (

Currently Wikipedia and Dogpile helping me figure out the

environmental impact of taking honeybees away from my

fictional world, and what crops my people would have to rely

on as a result.

263. Don’t Murder Your Mystery, Chris Roerden

264. Drinkers of the Wind, Carl Raswan, (A ‘creative nonfiction’

autobiography and the Raswan Index which I don’t

even take off the shelf unless I have hours and hours because I

get lost in it.)

265. Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do

Make a Difference!, Lynne Truss and Bonnie Timmons

266. Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, The, John

and Caitlin Matthews

267. Elements of Style, The, W Strunk and E.B White (As

recommended by Orson Scott Card – invaluable in times of

grammatical crisis!) (Two recommendations, one comment)

268. Emotional Blackmail, Susan Forward

269. Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, The, Michael Newton. (I

have formed every one of my novel concepts from casually

skimming this book. It’s a great starting point to get into the

mind of a killer, and to get a murderous idea burbling in your


270. England under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-

1225, Robert Bartlett (It’s expensive but worth it.)

271. English Grammar, a Collins Gem pocket edition (English is

my second language but even if I was writing in my native

Polish I would still want some good grammar book on my desk)

272. Everyday Life During the Civil War, Michael J. Varhola

273. Fairies in Tradition and Literature, The, Katherine


274. Fall of Carthage, The, Adrian Goldsworthy

275. Fearless Girls, Wise Women, Beloved Sisters:

Heroines in Folk Tales from Around the World, Kathleen

Ragan, editor (folk tale collection/translations)

276. Fiction Writer’s Brainstormer, James V. Smith Jr- some

really good ideas on structure and outlines

277. Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World (3000 B.C

to 500 A.D.): Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics,

Simon Anglim, Rob S. Rice, Phyllis Jestice, and Scott Rusch

278. Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World:

Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics, Matthew Bennett,

Jim Bradbury, Kelly DeVries, and Iain Dickie

279. Five Love Languages, The, Gary Chapman

280. Forgotten Arts & Crafts, The, John Seymour. (Ever want

to know how to make a saddle? Need a hedgerow or a thatch

roof? How about drawing water, molding butter, or the

difference between a laundry brush and a sink brush? This

book shows how things were made, used, and repaired before

the industrial age. Lots and LOTS of photos and drawings.)

281. Freelang Online Dictionaries

( (dozens of

languages and dialects freely available for download and


282. From Stonehenge to Samarkand: An Anthology of

Archaeological Travel Writing, Brian Fagan

283. Fundamental Virology, by Fields, et al. (I really need to

get a new edition of this, as this book is at least a decade old,

making it monstrously old for this field; it’s a text book, so it’s

not quite a non-fiction book to read from cover to cover, but it’s

an excellent reference for throwing real and imagined bugs at

your characters.)

284. Games Mother Never Taught You, Betty Lehan

Harragan (A book on corporate politics—if you can get the

original version, you can be really amused by the Harragan’s

belief that all women should automatically be on the same

team. Among the fascinating (correct) information, that stands

out as an incredibly blindered mistake.)

285. Garden Primer, Barbara Damrosch

286. Geography of Religion, Susan Tyler Hichcock with John

L. Esposito* (It’s a National Geographic book so, great pictures,

great maps and great discussion about Hinduism, Buddhism,

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.)

287. Ghost with the Trembling Wings, The, by Scott

Weidensaul (“Science, wishful thinking, and the search for lost


288. GMC Goals, Motivation and Conflict, Debra Dixon (Two

recommendations, no comments)

289. Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, The: 6500 – 3500

BC, Marija Gimbutas

290. Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter (An in-depth

exploration of the human mind, logic, music, and the many

relationships between them.)ödel,_Escher,_Bach (Two

recommendations, one comment, one link)

291. Grace of Great Things, The, Robert Grudin (A celebration

of creativity.)

292. Guide to Fiction Writing, Phylis Whitney. (Awesome

book. it was in this book that I first learned about the novel

notebook. This book is really old and may be out of print, but if

one can find it, it is well worth the search.)

293. Guns, Germs, & Steel, Jared Diamond (incredibly helpful

in understanding the geographical elements necessary for

developing civilizations)

294. Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age,

The, Pekka Himanen (For passion.)

295. History of Art, by H.W. Janson (This was a college course

book (yes, I kept it, I am a geek). This is a good one for art,

architecture and history lessons as well and has given me some

good ideas for cultures.)

296. Holly Lisle’s Create A Culture Clinic, Holly Lisle (Lately,

this has become my Bible!)

297. Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic, Holly Lisle (Single best

plotting resource I have found to date [seriously]).

298. Homicide, David Simon

299. How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, by Michael J.

Gelb (Leonardo da Vinci is one of my heros, but the book is

wonderful for aiding with out-of-the-box creative thinking)

300. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale

Carnegie (The classic book from the 30’s about what makes

people tick, and how to see everything from every point of


301. Howdunit Series, various authors (Helpful info on crafting

mysteries and sleuth stories)

302. Human Motives, by Lajos Egri

303. Ideas That Changed The World, Felipe Fernandez-


304. I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson (I love his style

and as an ex-pat (I’m from the UK originally) I can relate to


305. In The Living Forest, edited by John Keeney (An

exploration of Australia’s forest community)

306. In the Name of Rome, Adrian Goldsworthy

307. Infamous King of the Comstock-William Sharon and

the Gilded Age in the West, The, Michael J. Makley

308. Infantry Attacks, Erwin Rommel. (This book was written

by Rommel in 1935, it describes in detail the many battles he

fought in the First World War. This books has excellent

descriptions of small unit tactics in a variety of terrains and

situations, from fast moving attacks, to mountain assaults, to

trench warfare.)

309. Influence of Seapower Upon History, The, Alfred

Thayer Mahan. (Anyone writing a book about a maritime or

interstellar empire has to read this book. It explains why

navies exist and what their roles are in both peace and war and

how they can (and have) decisively influenced history in both

peace and war.)

310. Internet Sacred Text Archive, http://www.sacredtexts.

com/neu/index.htm (I know it’s not a book, but a

collection of books online, but at the moment I couldn’t do

without it.)

311. Into Print, Renni Browne, Dave King

312. Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts

313. Japanese Pilgrimage, Oliver Statler

314. Kybalion, The, by Three Initiates

315. Lady Anne Blunt: Journals and Correspondence, Lady

Anne Blunt

316. Legends of the Celts, Frank Delany (Is a book on legends

fiction or non-fiction? I don’t know – but this is the ubiquitous

book which sits on my (and collaborator’s) shelves and which I

grab for reference material. )

317. Library of Congress American Memory Site, The,

( (Everything from

Ansel Adams photographs of Japanese Internment camps to

letters written by the founding fathers. This site is a treasure

trove of original source material that is invaluable for research,

for inspiration, and simply as a site to browse through for pure


318. Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory,

Fromkin et. al.

319. Little Guides, The: Dogs, Paul McGreevy

320. Love & Respect, Emerson Eggerich

321. Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the

Nuclear Age, Peter Paret ed. (This book is a collection of

essays written by some of the best military historians. It covers

every era of history from, well. . . Machiavelli to the Nuclear


322. Man Who Walked through Time, The, Colin Fletcher

323. Many Worlds in One, Alex Vilenkin (libraries worth of sci-fi

ideas in here, in terms an English major can understand)

324. Master Class in Fiction Writing, Adam Sexton

325. Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, The

326. Modern translations of medieval grimoires, notably the Key

of Solomon, Lemegeton, Agrippa’s books of Occult

Philosophy and the Book of Abramelin. These are very

interesting insights into the minds of occultists who genuinely

believed in Heaven and Hell as literal places, and in the powers

of God and the Devil to affect mankind, as well as in powers

inherent in different aspects of the world. Very useful for

developing systems of magic that rely on complex rituals and


327. More Cunning than Man, Robert Hendrickson (a complete

history of the rat, good one!)

328. Most middle-school level atlases and other books on


329. Mother Nature’s Herbal, Judy Griffin

330. My German books on taxonomy, biology, chemistry, physics,

meteorology, astrophysics etc. (I hate genetics although I do

read it if necessary.)

331. My Inventions: Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, Nikola

Tesla (Everything about inventions and electricity)

332. Nachalo, When In Russia (my college Russian textbook)

333. Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War With

France (7 volumes), Dudley W. Knox, ed.

334. No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity

Guide to Writing A Novel in 30 Days, Chris Baty (when I

am stuck, stuck, stuck)

335. Odd Girl Out, by Rachel Simmons

336. On War, Carl von Clausewitz. (Perhaps the best known

book that no one has actually read. You can tell who has read

it and who has not because the ones who have not invariably

get his “war and politics” quote wrong, and worse, take it out

of context. It is a tough read, in part because Clausewitz died

before he had a chance to revise and polish it. Anyone who

wants to understand the relationship of war in international

relations has to read at least the first chapter.

337. On Writing, Stephen King (More for its realistic view of a

writer’s life (one with a happy “ending”) than any single writing

tip (though those were helpful, too))

338. One Dies – Get Another, Matthew Mancini

339. Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy,

The (Oxford Illustrated Histories), John Cannon and Ralph


340. Oxford Paperback Thesaurus, Maurice Waite

341. Paris Sweets, Dorie Greenspan (I find good desserts very

inspiring, and this book is in constant use in my home)

342. Perception of the Environment, The: Essays on

Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, Tim Ingold (a great source

about anthropological studies and theories on those topics,

quite heavy though…)

343. Plot & Structure: Techniques And Exercises For

Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish,

James Scott Bell (Useful and readable. Tries to cater to all

types of writers while still remaining useful.)

344. Portable MFA in Creative Writing, The, by the New York

Writer’s Workshop

345. Power of Myth, The, Joseph Campbell (A clear and wise

account of world storytelling and religion) (How mythology

relates to and moves through our everyday lives.) (No

explanation needed!) (Three recommendations, three


346. Quantum World, The: Quantum Physics for Everyone,

Kenneth William Ford (Good descriptions in basic terms for all

of us!)

347. Religion & Nothingness, Keiji Nishitani (Existentialism

and philosophy of religion from an Eastern perspective)

348. RPG rule books, various publishers, various authors,

(Whatever the genre, they’ve already detailed it—just don’t


349. Russian Word for Snow, The, Janis Cooke Newman

350. Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas

351. Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why The Greeks Matter

(Hinges of History), Thomas Cahill

352. Scene & Structure, Jack M. Bickham

353. Science and Human Values, Jacob Bronowski (It starts

with Bronowski at Nagasaki—he was part of the first

scientific crew to view the damage after the fall of Japan—and

goes on to discuss the ethics and creativity of

scientific development in mesmerizing, almost poetic prose.

Bronowski’s book doesn’t help me as a writer, so much as it

inspires me as a human being.)

354. Science of Self, David Wheaton (1892 book)

355. Seamanship in the Age of Sail: An Account of the

Shiphandling of the Sailing Man-of-War 1600-1860,

Based on Contemporary Sources, John H. Harland

356. Secret Language of Birthdays, The, Gary Goldschneider

and Joost Elffers (Great book about astrology and personality

by zodiac and birthdate; good for character ticks in a pinch, lots

of extra info about plants and gems and colors that match up

with your sign and such.)

357. Self Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How

to Edit Yourself, Renni Browne & Dave King (Two

recommendations, no comments)

358. Sheep and Man, M. L. Ryder (admittedly, I haven’t read it

all yet because it’s more than 800 pages and I’ve been limited

to interlibrary loan access until just this year, when it was

finally brought back into print . . . not cheap, but I’ve been

following this book around for several decades so I finally

bought a copy. Sample sentence-and-a-half: “My own view is

that, though Colchis was known for gold and linen and not for

wool, the two theories are not mutually exclusive. A finewoolled

fleece would be more efficient at collecting gold

particles than a coarse one. . . . ” (p. 147))

359. Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life

360. Sociopath Next Door, The, Martha Stout (not just serial

killers, eye-opening and something that would benefit everyone

in life, not just in writing) (Two recommendations, one


361. Solve Your Script, Jeffrey Sweet (Contains interesting

exercises for playwrights that are applicable to any fiction. For

example, how to use character negotiations over space or

objects to define your characters and establish backstory, in

present and future tense.)

362. Story Structure Architect, Victoria Schmidt

363. Story, Robert Mckee

364. Streets for People: A Primer for Americans, Bernard

Rudofsky (my trade pb copy . . . not mass market . . . cost

$4.95 NEW)

365. Survival Handbook, Ray Mear’s, (A very useful resource

for how to live in the wild. Although its main focus is on

teaching modern people to live comfortably in the great

outdoors, it also provides insights into how people have lived

off nature throughout history, and can be applied to cultures

ranging from the Stone Age up to post-apocalyptic ages.)

366. Survivorman: Les Stroud (television show) learn a new

way to start a fire in the wild every week, and also get ideas on

what to eat and why to eat it.

367. TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume I: The Protocols, W.

Richard Stevens

368. Techniques Of The Selling Writer, Dwight V. Swain (OU

prof who really EXPLAINS how to write a scene)

369. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, by

Robert Jay Lifton

370. Thunder and Lightning, Natalie Goldberg (An exploration

of Zen and the writing life.)

371. Tiger!, Kailash Sankhala

372. Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of

People and Events, The, Bernard Grun & Eva Simpson (#1

A year-by-year timeline of major events — working on a story in

the past? Look up the years of your story and quickly see what

else was going on. Working on a story in the future? Look to

see how past events occurred and get ideas for how they could

happen again.) (#2 It’s a huge, thick book that, year by year,

tells what happened in History &Politics, Literature &Theater,

Religion Philosophy & Learning, Visual Arts, Music, Science

Technology & Growth, and Daily Life.quillpen.jpg

375. Upstairs Girls, Michael Rutter (Old West Prostitution)

376. VNR Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Walter


377. Waiting for Birdy, Catherine Newman

378. War of Art, Stephen Pressfield (A book about “resistance”

[anything that pulls you away from the work that is most

important to you] and how to overcome it.)

379. Weapons: An International Encyclopedia From 5000

B.C. to 2000 A.D., Updated Edition by Diagram Group. (An

excellent resource that gives descriptions and pictures of all

sorts of weapons and how they work. I find that the pictures

are extremely helpful as it is hard to describe a weapon if you

don’t know what it looks like and the diagrams of how they

work can help you get the detailed right.)

380. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew:

From Fox Hunting to Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in

Nineteenth-Century England, Daniel Pool (As the title says,

this is a really entertaining look at England in the 19th century.)

381. When Technology Fails, Matthew Stein

382. Wikipedia ( (feels like a book

that updates all the time..)

383. Wikipedia’s “random page”

( and the various

year pages ( have given

more more story ideas than anything else. Did you know that

this is the third International Polar Year? I didn’t think so.

Playing the Click on a Random Link Game is fun, too. The July

Monarchy (1830-1848, France) is just three clicks from 2007,

via the International Polar Year. I’m an international studies

major, and I had never heard of it before (admittedly, I never

studied French history, so.)

384. Winning Office Politics, Andrew DuBrin (A book on

corporate politics)

385. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better

English in Plain English, Patricia T. O’Conner

386. Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola

Estes (I think this counts as non-fiction!)

387. World Atlas, Philips

388. World is Flat, The, Thomas L. Friedman

389. Worst Case Scenario Survival Guides, Joshua Piven and

David Borgenicht (A great source for ideas, as well as providing

basic details on how to cope with a wide variety of likely and

unlikely situations.)

390. Write Great Fiction Series, various authors (4 titles)

391. Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, by Lynn Edelstein (a

checklist for personality types/traits/styles – a good starting


392. Writer’s Journey, The: Mythic Structure for Writers,

Christopher Vogler (I have tons of books on writing, but this

one is and was pretty seminal as far as exploring Jung’s ideas

and Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” in a way I could really

understand) (Two recommendations, one comment)

393. Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway

394. Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s

Acclaimed Creative Writing School: Gotham Writers


395. Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Donald Maass.

(Both are highly worth buying.)

396. Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass (I’m trying

to incorporate his suggestions to improve my WIP.) (Fixing

what went wrong THIS time) (Three recommendations, two

comments, plus below.)


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