Suggested Reading


Short Fiction

Sixty Stories and Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme

If you want to write experimental fiction, definitely check out Barthelme.  And if you think you can't stand experimental fiction, you might also want to check out Barthelme.

Cathedral by Raymond Carver

Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

In addition to all the other reasons to read Chekhov, notice what he does with POV.

Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen

Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway

The Best Tales of Hoffmann by ETA Hoffman

The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor

Dubliners by James Joyce

The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka

In addition to his more well-known stories, check out "The Burrow" for a beautifully constructed horror story.

Lucy: A Novel by Jamaica Kincaid

Published as a novel, but based on a series of inter-connected short stories Kincaid originally published in The New Yorker—each chapter also works as a stand-alone piece.

The Marquise of O and Other Stories by Heinrich von Kleist

For examples of amazing first sentences, check out "The Marquise of O" and "The Earthquake in Chile."

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea: Stories by Ursula Le Guin

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem

The Progress of Love by Alice Munro

Close Range : Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

Check out what she does with POV in "Brokeback Mountain."

Traplines by Eden Robinson

Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain by Mark Twain

Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

Eight Men: Short Stories by Richard Wright

Books on Writing

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

This is a good book on writing solid prose. That said, the book is largely rule-based (that is, it doesn't explore various choices, and the trade-offs involved in each, but tells writers which choice is "right" in each instance); and it focuses on current stylistic trends. So read and absorb this book, but also temper it with the perspectives given in these other books on writing, which offer more expansive views of fiction, and with reading fiction from a wide range of time periods and styles.

The Art of Fiction and On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner

On Writing by Stephen King

The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera

Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose



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