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Influential Books

As a writer, people usually want to know the writers that most influence you, so here is a partial list of my favorite authors, their books that mean the most to me, and their other books that I’ve read.

L. Frank Baum
Most influential books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Queen Zixi of Ix, Tamawaca Folks, The Last Egyptian, Aunt Jane’s Nieces, Ozma of Oz, Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work, The Emerald City of Oz, Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Uncle John, The Flying Girl, Aunt Jane’s Nieces on Vacation, Phoebe Daring, Rinkitink of Oz, The Lost Princess of Oz, Mary Louise, Mary Louise in the Country, Mary Louise Solves a Mystery, The Tin Woodman of Oz, Glinda of Oz, The Collected Short Stories of L. Frank Baum
Also read: The Maid of Arran, Our Landlady, Mother Goose in Prose, By the Candelabra’s Glare, Father Goose, His Book; The Magical Monarch of Mo, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (play), Dot and Tot of Merryland, American Fairy Tales, The Enchanted Island of Yew, The Woggle-Bug (play), Annabel, Animal Fairy Tales, The Fate of a Crown, Aunt Jane’s Nieces Abroad, Daughters of Destiny, Twinkle and Chubbins, John Dough and the Cherub, Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Millville, Father Goose’s Year Book, Policeman Bluejay, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society, Little Wizard Stories of Oz, The Daring Twins, The Flying Girl and Her Chum, The Sea Fairies, Sky Island, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Aunt Jane’s Nieces on the Ranch, Aunt Jane’s Nieces Out West, Tik-Tok of Oz, The Scarecrow of Oz, Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls, The Uplift of Lucifer, The Magic of Oz, The Musical Fantasies of L. Frank Baum, The High-Jinks of L. Frank Baum

William Shakespeare
Most influential books: Hamlet, Timon of Athens, Cymbeline, King Lear, Macbeth, King Henry VI trilogy, King Richard III, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale
Also read: Edmund Ironside, King Edward III (with Thomas Kyd), King Henry IV, Part I; Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, All’s Well That Ends Well, Coriolanus, Pericles, Prince of Tyre (with George Wilkins); King Henry VIII (with John Fletcher)
Seen only: Two Gentlemen of Verona (musical version), The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, King Henry V, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Othello, The Two Noble Kinsmen (with John Fletcher)
Still haven’t read or seen: King John, King Richard II, King Henry IV, Part II; Sir Thomas More (mainly by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle), The Merry Wives of Windsor (unless Salieri’s Falstaff counts), Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra
Also read: The Second Maiden’s Tragedy by Thomas Middleton, which Charles Hamilton claimed was Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Cardenio. If Middleton truly co-authored Timon of Athens, I must read more Middleton–so far have read The Witch, The Roaring Girl (with Thomas Dekker).

Samuel Beckett
Most influential books: Molloy, Malone Dies, Murphy, Endgame, Waiting for Godot, Collected Shorter Plays, The Complete Short Prose 1929-1989
Also read: The Unnameable, How It Is, Watt, Happy Days, Mercier and Camier, More Pricks Than Kicks, Echo’s Bones

Mary Shelley
Most influential books: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus; Mathilda, Valperga, or The Life and Adventures of Castruccio Prince of Lucca; The Last Man, Falkner
Also read: The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, Lodore

Steve Gerber
[Most of these I read in single issue format, but I’m listing them in a way that will make it easier for non-collectors]
Most influential: The Man-Thing Omnibus, The Howard the Duck Omnibus, Omega the Unknown, Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders Vol. 4-5, Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorow’s Avengers, Superman: Phantom Zone, Foolkiller, Morbius, Lilith, Tales of the Zombie, The Legion of Night, Hard Time, A. Bizarro, Marvel Two-in-One 1-9, Son of Satan, Hawkeye: Bang, Stewart the Rat, Doctor Fate: More Pain Comics, Poison: Vandals of the Heart
Also read: Nevada, Sludge, Void Indigo, Daredevil 97-117, Shanna the She-Devil, Sub-Mariner 58-69, Iron Man 65-67, Destroyer Duck, Blade II, Cloak and Dagger, Cybernary, Code Name: Strike Force 10-14, Opposing Forces, Kiss, The Living Mummy, Toxic Crusaders, Man-Thing: Elements of Fear, The Infernal Man Thing

Neil Gaiman
Most influential: The Sandman, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman’s Midnight Days
Also read: Stardust, Coraline

Franz Kafka
Read: The Castle (as translated by Mark Harman), The Metamorphosis (as translated by Stanley Korngold)

Jonathan Swift
Most Influential: Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal
Also read: A Tale of a Tub, The Battle of the Books, Abolishing Christianity

David Williamson
Most influential: The Removalists, Emerald City, Travelling North
Also read: The Coming of Stork, Jugglers Three, What if You Died Tomorrow?, Money and Friends
Seen as films only: The Club, Don’s Party, The Perfectionist, The Last Bastion, Phar Lap

Henry Handel Richardson
Most influential: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, Maurice Guest
Also read: The Getting of Wisdom

Kobo Abe (all of his English translations that I know of are by E. Dale Saunders)
Read: The Face of Another, The Woman in the Dunes, Kangaroo Notebook, Friends

Eugène Ionesco
Read: Rhinocéros, La Cantatrice Chauve et La Leçon (untranslated)

Don Elkins and Carla Rueckert
Most influential: The Crucifixion of Esmerelda Sweetwater
Also Read: The Law of One, Books I and II

Douglas Adams
Most influential: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe, and Everything
Also read: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

D.G. Compton: The Unsleeping Eye, The Silent Multitude
Davis Grubb: The Night of the Hunter, The Barefoot Man

Based on only one book:
Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground (as translated by Michael R. Katz)
Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
Albert Camus: L’Étranger (untranslated)
James Joyce: Finnegans Wake
Douglas Hill: The Fraxilly Fracas
Gilberto Perez: The Material Ghost
Jim Steinmeyer: Hiding the Elephant

 

Non-Fiction/History/Sociology books that should be required reading for all:

Matilda Joslyn Gage: Woman, Church and State
Leonard Shlain: The Alphabet vs. the Goddess
Michael Perelman: The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism: How Market Tyranny Stifles the Economy by Stunting Workers
Laura Gottesdiener: A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home
Stephanie Koontz: The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap
Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham: Bad for You: Exposing the War on Fun!
Moshe Adler: Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal
Edward E. Baptist: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism
Greg LeRoy: The Great American Jobs Scam
George Lakey: Viking Economics
Nicole Aschoff: The New Prophets of Capital
Barbara Ehrenreich: Bait and Switch
Robert Kuttner: Debtor’s Prison

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