Books on Writing and Living: What Every Aspiring Writer Should be Reading

There are a lot of books in the world, close to 130 million actually, with new ones being published every single day. Each book is a window to the soul of the person, or people, who wrote it. Choosing which books to read with the limited amount of time we have can be a complete nightmare, especially with multiple books on the same subjects – which one will offer the best advice, the best thoughts, the most eloquent language? Reading is a journey each individual must take on his or her own, however, here is a list of some of the favourite books that got me where I am today.

Albert Camus – The Outsider

I must have been around 12 when I read this book. Although I have been a bookworm pretty much my entire life, this book instilled in me a much deeper love for reading; moving from reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and Secret Seven to the ‘adult section’. In doing my research for this article, I learned that Jean-Paul Sartre, one of my favourite philosophers, had written extensively about this book and is ranked no. 1 by Le Monde in their 100 books of the century.

The Iliad – Homer (Stephen Mitchell translation)

If there is one book that never ceases to amaze me in how beautiful language can be, it is The Iliad. Its use of language is so profound that it beckons one to write. The elegance of its prose so artistic that each word paints a thousand pictures. If you ever need inspiration, this book is both a master and a muse. I can never praise this book enough.

The Last Days of Socrates – Plato

Argument construction is very important when it comes to writing and nobody could construct arguments better than Socrates. Learn how logos, pathos, and ethos can be employed to move your audience, how to construct syllogisms and how to employ loci to make sure all your arguments are as tight as they can ever be.

The Alchemist – Paolo Cohelo

No book fits the freelancer writer better than Cohelo’s masterpiece, The Alchemist. Perfectly written and with a flowing story to boot, Cohelo explores the pursuit of destiny and happiness in this wonderful story that I honestly believe everyone should read at least once. If you ever catch yourself wondering whether you have made the right decision, let this book help you decide.

Anything by Ernest Hemingway.

The bluntness and truth that flows from Hemingway’s pen is a force to be reckoned with. Hemingway is such a master story-teller that any of his books are a good pick. For a more intimate experience, watch Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris where Hemingway is brilliantly portrayed. Nobody understood writing as much as Ernest Hemingway, succinctly illustrated by his quote – ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Style Guides

Several publishing houses tend to publish their own style guides which tells its authors and contributors how to stylize their writings. These guides can quickly and succinctly help you improve the style of your writing and moreover you can choose the publisher that best matches the audience you are writing for.

Conversational Intelligence – Judith E. Glaser

In Conversational Intelligence. Judith E. Glaser tackles the way we communicate and how to be more intelligent in the way you communicate – an important aspect of writing content that carries the message through. Read this book to understand how to communicate better and you will be rewarded both personally and professionally.

Five Hour Work Week/Body – Timothy Ferris

Timothy Ferris is a free-lancer hero that has hacked both work and body to produce amazing results. Jam-packed with advice from how to work effectively to effective dieting and living, Timothy Ferris is a life-hacker like no other. Moreover, his blogs are fascinating and will broaden your horizons enough that you will always have loads to write about.

These books are but a short list that every aspiring writer ought to read. Delve yourself into the magic of language and when you feel inspired enough, join Topcontent and perhaps one day, your work will make it to a list such as this one.