Authors share five books that have, in one way or another, influenced their lives and writing.
Joseph Zeppetello, author of Daring to Eat a Peach – a literary romance ensemble on the outcome of life based on fate, luck, and one’s choices – lists the five most influential books he’s read.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
When I was a kid (ten?), I read Tom Sawyer, and thought it was the greatest book I ever read. There was even a girl in my class who, for me, looked just like Becky. She never quite appreciated my version of Tom though.
Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
I read a lot of Sci-Fi in my teens (good and bad), and then I read Slaughterhouse Five. I can still see Billy Pilgrim emerging from the slaughterhouse to the destroyed Dresden. Vonnegut really bucked the trend with this book. I read it while I was transforming from someone who believed the Vietnam war was a justified action against the threat of Communism to someone who would become very anti-war.
Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis
In my twenties I read a lot of Hemingway and Faulkner, but I really liked Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith. I still remember many parts of that book, and felt that I knew his characters better than I knew any of the Snopes’ clan or Jake Barnes. It is a mystery to me why he is not taught more in academics.
Cathedral, Raymond Carver
Another writer I greatly admire is Raymond Carver, and I like just about all of his stories, but Cathedral is incredible. I also like the works of his teacher, John Gardner.
Empire Falls, Richard Russo
Lately I’ve been reading Richard Russo. His storytelling is excellent, and I like his characters, as I grew up with many of them in upstate New York. His Empire Falls is the one I like best.