This week, with a super last-minute invite, I stopped by the McNally Jackson bookstore to attend an author trivia night one of my fellow Swanky Seventeen compatriots was participating in. Who was the host of the event? Oh, just R.L Stein…only MY FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER!! At the end of the event, I stood on line like a little girl, anxiously waiting my turn to talk to him with clammy hands. What am I going to say? How he changed my life? How my love of horror movies moved into my love of books, thanks to him? By the time it was my turn, I completely blanked. BUT I did manage to snag a photo and sent it to my Mom, screaming.
Anyways, what’s our topic this week? Oh yeah, favorite books. So let me start with an obvious one:
Goosebumps (All of Them) By R.L Stein
His stories have the perfect balance of suspense, horror, and thrills, tailored for children. Something as a YA author, I’m still learning to do.
Salvage the Bones By Jesmyn Ward
You could literally feel the oppressive summer heat, smell the sea air, taste the food, endure the pressure of a looming storm approaching. This story lifts you out your seat and drops you in Louisiana. The prose…just spectacular. (If you can, read it before or during a big storm, like this weekend.)
Sharp Objects/Dark Places/ Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn
Ok, I’m cheating by lumping all three books together, but these stories inspired me to change the way I wrote protagonists. To write deeply flawed, at times pessimistic, yet passionate individuals because let’s face it, none of us are perfect.
The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou By Maya Angelou
If I had to pick one book from high school that I still read today, it would be this one. Poetry makes you appreciate the beauty and simplicity of words, subsequently making you a better writer.
The Coldest Winter Ever By Sista Souljah
I had never heard of Sista Souljah until she stopped by Howard University on an empowerment tour, promoting her new book. During the panel, she encouraged young women to find their true calling, while also serving their community and keeping it REAL. The rawness of the main character Winter floored me.
Wait Till Helen Comes Mary Downing Hahn
Aside from reading every single Goosebump, this was my ultimate FAVORITE book growing up. So much so that I named my imaginary friend Helen. (Yes I was a creepy kid, don’t judge me!)