My Ideal Bookshelf

Today is National Book Lovers Day, so it seemed like a good time to share my Ideal Bookshelf! I got the idea from IdealBookshelf.com, and thought I’d take a photo of my own. Narrowing it down to 20 books was hard, and several of my favorites I only have in ebook or audiobook form (which is why there’s no Jonathan Maberry on here.) I tried to cover most of my bases: novels, graphic novels, plays, and books on writing, film, and acting.
  • The World of King Arthur by Christopher Snyder: I’ve been doing a lot of research on Arthurian mythology, and this is one of the best resources I’ve found thus far.
  • Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee: This is the book that got me into reading comics. My roommate at the time handed me the first issue, and I got hooked pretty quick.
  • Nightwing Vol. 1: A Knight in Bludhaven by Chuck Dixon/Scott McDaniel: Nightwing’s my favorite comic book character, and this is the beginning of Dixon’s great run on the title.
  • Kingdom Come by Mark Waid/Alex Ross: This whole graphic novel is a work of art. Fascinating storyline with amazing artwork.
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day: I’m a big fan of Felicia Day. Her “just do it” attitude is inspiring and uplifting for creative types looking for the push they need to make something big happen for themselves. But most importantly, this book was important to me for helping me come to terms with some of my own struggles with anxiety and depression.
  • Timeline by Michael Crichton: My favorite Michael Crichton book. I vividly remember being engrossed in this book during high school, and then being extremely let down when I saw the movie.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling: I didn’t read the Harry Potter books until last year (I know, I missed the boat there),
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: Throughout high school, I didn’t read a whole lot. The vast majority of my reading during that time was fanfiction. A Game of Thrones is what got me back into reading, and ever since then Martin has been one of my biggest influences as a writer.
  • Paper Towns by John Green: I’ve started getting into YA lit over the last couple years as I’ve been wanting to write something for that audience, and John Green’s books have really struck a chord with me.
  • The High King by Lloyd Alexander: I loved The Prydain Chronicles growing up. The High King struck me with how epic it was, and with how ruthless Alexander was with his characters.
  • Changes by Jim Butcher: The Dresden Files books have passed A Song of Ice & Fire as my favorite series, and Changes is my favorite book in that series. You want to talk about a book that changes the entire complexion of a series, this is it. The whole second half is just a non-stop, edge of your seat thrill ride.
  • William Shakespeare: The Complete Works: Originally I was going to include Macbeth and Much Ado on this list, but rather than cut something else I just went with Shakespeare’s complete works instead. I’ve always been a fan of Shakespeare, but somehow in the last year I’ve found an affinity for analyzing and directing his work.
  • The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Vol. 1: I did a study on Neil Simon in college, reading and analyzing 20 of his plays and then writing a play in his style. Helped me gain a whole new appreciation for his work.
  • The Lion in Winter by James Goldman: My favorite play. Even though I’ve mostly transitioned to writing and directing, this is one play that I’d still love to perform in.
  • Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier: A must read for anyone involved in improv, sketch comedy, or acting in general.
  • Directing Actors by Judith Weston: I love the way Weston talks about working with actors, communicating with them on their level and using playable direction. That’s guided me as a director since I first read this book back in 2003.
  • Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez: This book helped inspire me to say to hell with the odds and try making my own movie. Granted, my first attempt in 2004 failed… as did my second attempt in 2005. But years later I would finally succeed with Uncommon Law!
  • Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder: I’ve used elements of Save the Cat in every screenplay I’ve written in the last ten years. Although I’ve begun deviating from the structure he defines, it’s a wonderful starting point for anyone getting into screenwriting. And I still swear by his breakdown of genres as the best way to think about story.
  • Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland: After years of writing by the seat of my pants, I picked up Outlining Your Novel and used the system within to outline Into The Black. Thanks to that, I’ve written more on ITB than on any of my previous writing projects that fizzled out partway through. 102k words and still going strong!
  • On Writing by Stephen King: Part memoir, part book on writing craft, tons of valuable information for writers.

2 Comments on “My Ideal Bookshelf

  1. 1. This is neat
    2. I like what you say about Lloyd Alexander. His ruthlessness is surgically precise to a specific end and it’s phenomenal. It’s been over 20 years and the emotional impact of The High King hasn’t ebbed. And I think that’s because of how and why he deploys tragedy.

    • Yes! It was brutal, but it definitely stuck with me as a kid. I need to go back and reread that series again.

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