I can’t point to one book that has been transformative. There have been too many. But, I have some books that must be within 10 feet of where I’m working. I don’t have to see, smell or touch them, but if they’re not within a stones throw the planets feel out of alignment. So, they’re coming with me when we move to France next spring.

In no particular order:

  • The Girl’s Guide To Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks
  • Interpreter of Maladies — short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • For the Relief of Unbearable Urges — short stories by Nathan Englander (Is that not one of the best titles?)
  • Heir To The Glimmering World — Cynthia Ozick
  • In The Heart Of The Heart Of The Country — William H. Gass
  • Pam Houston — Waltzing the Cat
  • Gertrude & Claudius — John Updike
  • The Delinquent Virgin — short stories by Laura Kalpakian
  • The Translator — John Crowley
  • Three Junes — Julia Glass
  • Atonement — Ian McEwan
  • Weight – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • Villette — Charlotte Bronte

There’s at least 10 more in this particular pile of books. Towards all of them I have that greedy possessiveness we sometimes feel for things (or people) we love and cherish.

There’s a tragic edge to most of these, or at least a bittersweetness. If you’re passionate about good writing, love the tears that good writing can stir, want to be moved deeply, and don’t mind endings that make the story marinate long after the cover has been closed, then you’re bound to find something yummy on this list.

Melissa (a.k.a. Flying Ready), 38, Atlanta, USA