5 Books That Inspired Me To Write
Although people keep raising their brows and mumbling a non-distinct “Mhhmm” my way when I tell them that I study Creative Writing and would love to end up as a writer, I believe in what I’m doing. This may sound naïve and over optimistic, but I actually do think that I (along with the dozens of other people on my course) can do it. Writing, I mean.
To motivate myself, I normally just go to a bookshop and have a good look around, especially the “New Out” section. All the books on the shelves have been written by (presumably still alive) people, people like you and me, right?
My wish to write, obviously, has its roots in books. I’ve always read an awful lot, and I’ve found that some stories stay with me longer than others. We all have favourite stories; be it books, films or university gossip. But there have been a select few that have stayed with me for longer than others. Some of them are the books I ended up re-reading over and over again (although, I’ve done that with others too, that in hindsight don’t seem all that inspiring). Most of these could be titled as “kids’ books” or “YA”, but I do believe that kids experience stories differently from adults. Some of the books I have read growing up have just made a bigger impression on me – and these are the ones that have influenced me the most:
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The most recent addition to the list, “A Monster Calls”, has everything I love in a book; gripping storytelling, beautiful symbolism, intriguing exploration of relationships and a deliciously dark and creepy feel to it.
13-year-old Conor’s Mum is dying of cancer, when the tree outside his window comes to life and begins telling him stories. Although it is a kids’ book, it is at times brutally honest; showing the relationships between Conor, his family and his peers in eye-opening honesty, and making you both smile and cry at the end.
Bonus: The illustrations by Jim Kay are a must for anyone who’s into slightly creepy stuff!
(Jim Kay, “A Monster Calls”)
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I started reading this book some time in the evening and didn’t put it down until about six in the morning. I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman’s storytelling, and his imagery in “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” is a wonderful example of the kind of fantasy books I love the most. I have an ongoing fascination with children’s tales and oceans, although told by a middle-aged narrator recounting events that happened in his childhood. I won’t say too much, just this: there’s monsters (some of them are closer than you think).
3. Harry Potter
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? I feel like Harry Potter is a phenomenon that has just kind of happened to a lot of us. From the moment I convinced my Mum to buy the first four books for me, I was lost. I don’t think I need to tell anyone what the books are about, but they have helped me through a lot, made me build new friendships and are filled with so much wisdom that it is at times hard to deal with. Definitely an inspiration to write something that might have the same impact on people as Harry Potter has had on me.
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
An absolute bookshelf staple. Oscar Wilde makes me want to eat up every single sentence. It is so beautifully written that although it is quite a small book, it does take a while to read, just because you’ll want to cherish and taste every single sentence, phrase, or word. That being said, the plot, of course, is just as brilliant as the writing style. Dorian Gray, obsessed with his own youth and beauty, stays young forever; while his portrait shows every sign of ageing. Beautiful and provocative, The Picture of Dorian Gray makes you think that this is what literature is supposed to be.
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbovsky
Perhaps the most beautiful coming-of-age story I have ever read. What this book does so marvellously is convey a feeling that makes you sink into the story. The protagonist, Charlie, is so awkward and shy at times that it makes you cringe, but also makes you feel so understood. The subjects addressed in this book are so, so relevant to pretty much everyone who’s ever grown up, or is still growing up. Try not to cry and listen to ‘asleep’ on repeat after you’ve read this, if you can.