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Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno Garcia

Let’s go play at the Adams’ – Mendal Johnson

The Only Good Indians – Stephen Graham Jones

The Reddening – Adam Nevill

The Wide, Carnivorous Sky – John Langan

The Breakout Novelist – Donald Maas

Best Horror of the Year vol. 11 – Ellen Datlow

Educated – Tara Westover

The Deep – Alma Katsu

Orphan X series – Gregg Hurwitz

Talking To Strangers – Malcolm Gladwell

The Nevernight Chronicles Trilogy – Jay Kristoff

The Madness of Crowds – Douglass Murray

The 3 Body Problem – Cixin Liu

House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski

Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt

Making Evil – Dr. Julia Shaw

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

The Wise Man’s Fear – Pat Rothfuss

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Mongrels – Stephen Graham Jones

The Deep – Nick Cutter

The Gulag Archipelago – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Flowers for Algernon

The Hunger – Alma Katsu

The Name of the Wind – Pat Rothfuss

The Institute – Stephen King

Wake in Fright – Kenneth Cooke

Blue Mind – Wallace J. Nichols

The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters

Enlightenment Now – Steven Pinker

How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes – Peter Schiff

Moby Dick – Hermann Melville

The Butchering Art – Lindsay Fitzharris

The Ritual – Adam Nevill

The Labyrinth of the Spirits – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Original Grimm’s Fairy Tales

The First 5 Pages – Noah Lukeman

October Country – Ray Bradbury

Some Will Not Sleep – Adam Nevill

His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman

Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice

Win Bigly – Scott Adams

Summer of Night – Dan Simmons

The Troop – Nick Cutter

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Psycho – Robert Bloch

Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins

Planet Word – J.P Davidson

The Damnation Game – Clive Barker

Writing the Breakout Novel – Donald Maas

Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Bird Box – Josh Malerman

Flow – Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi

Ordinary Men – Christopher Browning

Hellbent – Gregg Hurwitz

Mistborn #1 – Brandon Sanderson

The Fireman – Joe Hill

The Emotional Craft of Fiction – Donald Maas

The Rape of Nanking – Iris Chang

Tribe – Sebastian Junger

Nowhere Man – Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X – Gregg Hurwitz

Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch – Alexander Solzhenitzen

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Where Nightmares Come From – (Various)

Reality is Broken – Jane McGonigal

NOS4R2 – Joe Hill

The Nightrunners – Joe Landsdale

Influence – Robert Cialdini

Dune – Frank Herbert

Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – Jordan Peterson

Musashi – Eiji Yoshikawa

Junky – William S. Burroughs

Midnight Sun – Ramsey Campbell

The Martian – Andy Weir

Panzram – Journal of Murder

Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Watcher in the Shadows – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Nocturnal – Scott Sigler

Madam Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

Bird By Bird – Ann Lamott

Permutation City – Greg Egan

The Uses of Enchantment – Bruno Bettleheim

Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

The View from the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman

The Passage – Justin Cronin

The Warrior Ethos – Steven Pressfield

The Knowledge – Steven Pressfield

Letters to Lucilius – Seneca

Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman

Danse Macabre – Stephen King

Watership Down – Richard Adams

If This is a Man – Primo Levi

Night Music – John Connolly

The Writing Life – Annie Dillard

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari 

Every single one of these books changed my writing significantly for the better, each in a different way, and I’ve read some of them several times. That’s saying something by the way, since as a rule I never read a book more than once – there are too many good ones out there.

I should probably caution you to take your time reading these, if you’re planning to go through the list. The best way to do it, I think, would be to work your way down from #1, and as you finish each book spend at least a few months practicing and applying the things you learn. Otherwise you run the risk of taking in too much information and forgetting half of it before you get a chance to internalise it.

  1. The Elements of Style – Strunk & White
  2. On Writing – Stephen King
  3. Stein On Writing – Sol Stein
  4. On Writing Well – William Zinsser
  5. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  6. The First 5 Pages – Noah Lukeman
  7. No One Wants To Read Your Shit – Shaun Coyne
  8. The :Emotional Craft of Fiction – Donald Maas
  9. The Hero With a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell
  10. Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury
  1. It – Stephen King
  2. Drood – Dan Simmons
  3. Summer of Night – Dan Simmons
  4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R Tolkien
  5. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
  6. The Dark Tower series – Stephen King
  7. Coraline – Neil Gaiman
  8. Carrie – Stephen King
  9. The Terror – Dan Simmons
  10. Flashback – Dan Simmons
  11. Tommyknockers – Stephen King
  12. Needful Things – Stephen King
  13. Jack Reacher Series – Lee Child
  14. Live by Night – Dennis Lehane
  15. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
  16. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker
  17. The Heroes – Joe Abercrombie
  18. First Law Trilogy – Joe Abercrombie
  19. Game of Thrones series – George R.R. Martin
  20. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stephenson
  21. The Witches – Roald Dahl
  22. Orphan X Series – Gregg Hurwitz
  23. Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl
  24. The Silence of the Lambs – Robert Harris
  25. The Great God Pan – Arthur Machen
  26. The Ruins – Scott Smith
  27. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  28. Gates of Fire – Steven Pressfield
  29. The Last Kingdom series – Bernard Cornwell
  30. The Things They Carried – Tim O’ Brian
  31. Let the Right One In – Joh Ajvide Lindqvist
  32. Books of Blood – Clive Barker
  33. Rum Diary – Hunter S. Thompson
  34. Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons
  35. Requiem for a Dream – Hubert Selby Jnr.
  36. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  37. The Beach – Alex Garland
  38. Post Office – Charles Buckowski
  39. A Time to Kill – John Grisham
  40. Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
  41. Pirate Latitudes – Michael Chrichton
  42. Eaters of the Dead – Michael Chrichton
  43. Fallen Angel – William Hjortsberg
  44. The Stand – Stephen King
  45. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  46. Call of the Wild – Jack London
  47. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  48. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  49. 1984 – George Orwell
  50. The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  51. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  52. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  53. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  54. The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins
  55. Perfume – Patrick Suskind
  56. Joyland – Stephen King
  57. Audition – Ryu Murakami
  58. Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno Garcia
  59. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  60. King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard
  61. She – H. Rider Haggard
  62. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
  63. The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  64. Preacher (Graphic Novel) – Garth Ennis
  65. Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice
  66. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  67. Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
  68. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  69. The Firm – John Grisham
  70. Dead Inside – Chandler Morrison
  71. The Help – Katherine Stockett
  72. Hearts in Atlantis – Stephen King
  73. The Shining – Stephen King
  74. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Shwartz and Stephen Gammell
  75. Pet Sematary – Stephen King
  76. The Eyes of the Dragon – Stephen King
  77. Some Will Not Sleep – Adam Nevill
  78. Bird Box – Josh Malerman
  79. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  80. NOS4R2 – Joe Hill
  81. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
  82. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  83. Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut
  84. Marina – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  85. Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie
  86. Red Country – Joe Abercrombie
  87. The Ritual – Adam Nevill
  88. Lets go play at the Adams’ – Mendal W. Johnson
  89. I am Legend – Richard Matheson
  90. The Thief of Always – Clive Barker
  91. The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien
  92. 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill
  93. Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill
  94. Ghost Story – Peter Straub
  95. Rant – Chuck Palahniuk
  96. I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  97. Minority Report – Phillip K. Dick
  98. Dune – Frank Herbert
  99. Mongrels – Stephen Graham Jones
  100. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
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