A Few Books I Wish I’d Written

Like the other debs, I’m having a hard time narrowing down my book loves to a single post. But I like this game of “Wish I’d Written” because it isn’t quite the same as picking favorites. It’s more like choosing some of the superpowers I want as a writer.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

A series of musings on nature and life’s big questions. I read it in college for a seminar and it blew me away. I wish I’d written it because I love Dillard’s perspective on life.  Her world is an incredible, beautiful, terrifying place, and it could be our world too if we paid enough attention. She also breaks so many writing rules by using long descriptions, random scientific facts/minutiae, and all kinds of tangents and rambles. But it works for her! Obviously, this kind of rule-breaking isn’t for everyone, but it’s a nice reminder to be true to our own voices.


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

A breathless romance with time travel, longing, and tragedy. It’s also filled with little references to Chicago neighborhoods and places that I completely ate up. I wish I’d written it because it’s so ambitious. It’s really unbelievable to me that this was Niffenegger’s first novel. You have a nonlinear storyline, perspective shifts, complicated transitions, and some sticky and potentially creepy moments and all of this is handled smoothly, creating a beautiful page-turner.



Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Two awkward teenagers falling in love in the 80s. It’s cute, fun, smart, snarky and it hurts in all the right places. As both a reader and a writer, I was wowed. So much is packed into this book, and I also found myself reliving the delicious insanity and agony of my first crush. Because, as one of the characters says, “people want to remember what it’s like to be young? And in love?” Full disclosure, I’m not sure what I want more: to have written this book or to be Rainbow Rowell’s BFF. Because she’s awesome.


What about you? Which books do you wish you’d written?

Author: Susan Gloss

Susan Gloss is the author of the novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2014). When she's not writing, toddler wrangling, or working as an attorney, she blogs at Glossing Over It and curates an online vintage store, Cleverly Curated.

5 Replies to “A Few Books I Wish I’d Written”

  1. I think superpowers is a really good way to look at it. The superpower I think about is the ability to write great sentences. My sentences are perfectly good, but they’re not magical. I’ve always said that every sentence Henry James ever wrote was better than any sentence of mine. Pynchon, too.

    I’m not complaining, and I’m not really envious, since I’ve worked pretty hard to get where I want to go with the sentences I have.

    In one comic, Daredevil (who is blind) has his sight magically restored, and it completely throws him off since he’s worked his whole life to be able to be a superhero without sight. He actually asks (this is all in the middle of a big battle with a villain, so no time to adapt) that he be made blind again, because he can function better that way.

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