If you want to write, you have to read, and what better gift is there for the aspiring author than a handpicked book to help them take the industry by storm? For writers, books are more than words on a page; they are teachers and models and muses. Every turn of the page should hold a new lesson for polished, effective writing. These five books are what every writer wants to unwrap this year.
1. The Book That Finds Inspiration in Real Life
Whether you aspire to write fiction or nonfiction, you must first find the beauty and narrative possibility in the everyday intimate moments we all find ourselves facing. Anna Lyndsey’s lyrical memoir Girl in the Dark captures her very normal life as it becomes increasingly not so. We all find ourselves alone with just our thoughts at times, but Anna is thrust into living almost solely in the dark and confronting her own mind—sometimes with pleasure, and sometimes with malice. Her book grasps the narrative potential of even the simplest activities with quiet, introspective prose. Once you learn how to describe the unremarkable, then you can find the words for the epic.
2. A Culmination of Advice
Every writer has a great author whose life and work sparks curiosity and inspiration. Find that author and give the gift of insight into a lifetime of writing advice. For someone who saw talking about writing as bad luck, Ernest Hemingway compiled a plethora of advice on the subject. His discussion of embracing the simplicity of writing from the gut will motivate any fans of his work to find their own personal styles.
3. The Marketing Workshop
The modern author’s job isn’t finished after the writing is done. Marketing is an integral part of literary success, and everyone can use a little help getting their books into readers’ hands. Enter Tim Grahl: “relentlessly helpful” professional book marketer who shares his tips for getting and keeping a fan base.
4. The Book That Adds a Little Poetry to Your Prose
Poetry might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the poet’s craft is built from rhythm, tone, word choice, and beat—devices all writers should be working on in their own writing. Like stumbling upon a full palate of colors after years of painting with just black and white, discovering the poetry that speaks to you can unearth potential you never saw before in your own ideas. Michael S. Harper is the perfect author to begin your journey into poetry; his use of narrative with pops of staggering truths brings together writing and music in a way that overflows his words with emotion.
5. A Lesson on Character
Nicole Krauss’s intriguing novel The History of Love uses alternating speakers and settings to advance her story, but her characters are so skillfully drawn that the narrative simply flows without any confusion. Study the magic that can happen when characters come alive.
Think about the writer in your life and what kind of book they need to amp up their craft. If you are still looking for ideas, check out our gift ideas for writers—and maybe even get something for yourself!