My Book Soup contains of 5 books by authors who I admire for their writing. I have to clarify, that I will never write like anyone of them and that I don't even want to, because I feel like I have to go in a slightly different direction (I am currently writing my first book, which is a youth novel, YA literature has its own rules after all). But they are still 5 of the best books I have ever read and though I am not persuing their writing style, those books have on many levels influenced my own writing and my life in general.
So witout furter ado, here my Book Soup:
1. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I have to admit that I have read this piece of classic literature some months ago for the first time, and only after I saw the sparkling, glamorous movie by Baz Luhrman. But I see now why everyone should read this book at least once in their life.
"The Great Gatsby" is a glorious example of genius storytelling, Fitzgerald truly was a master at that. I admire this novel for its simple, straightforward story, which pulls you in and leaves you amazed by a beautiful story full of love, fame, hope, fear and betrayal (the very things which make the world go round) on less than 200 sites. This is an art I am trying to learn.
2. "On the road" by Jack Kerouac
This book has not only influenced my writing but it shattered my whole world, leaving not one piece where it was. I read this book for the first time when I was 17 shortly before I graduated High School and it captured the promise of life itself so perfectly. It's because of Jack Kerouac that I am planning a roadtrip from the East Cost to the West Cost of the US in 2017. It's because of him that I dream bigger and want to write novels, not only short stories. It's because of him I love to travel and meet new people, being fascinated by the crazy ones instead of judging them. During the las 6 years I have read "On the road" at least 5 times and, though I identify each time with a different character, it leaves me with the feeling that anything is possible every single time.
I think this is what a great book is supposed to do. Though while reading it you experience trauma, loss and desperation at the side of you favorite characters time after time, in the end it should leave the reader somehow empowered so that he or she will live their life differently from now on. To one day write something which will change the way someone lives their life is my biggest dream. I would never write in such long sentences like Jack Kerouac (though they are without question incredibly beautiful) but still "On the road" is the kind of literature which influences my writing more than anything else.
3. "The catcher in the rye" by J.D.Salinger
This book is another American classic which lives from its straightforward way of telling a story. I read this book in a night and it moved me so much. In cotrast to "The Great Gatsby" where a whole life story is told, "A catcher in the rye" tells nothing more than the story of a teenage boy who spends a couple of days in New York and who's fed up with the world. But at the same time it tells the story of the whole world.
In this one character there is so much to learn about society, about history and about growing up. It broke my heart to see the hopelessness of human nature reflected in this one boy. "The catcher in the rye" influenced how I create characters and how I tell their stories through certain characteristics they have rather than by simply writing down the plot.
4. "The beach" by Alex Garland
A friend told me some months ago that if I like "On the road" I should also read "The beach". I spent two months looking for it in bookstores here in Germany but I couldn't find it anywhere. Then on my vacation to Helsinki this summer I found it on a fleemarket. And my friend was right. "The beach" is a beautiful book on so many levels.
Firstly it's written beautifully with wonderful sentences, choosing the perfect words to create a piece of art. I underlined so many sentences while reading this book. Secondly the main character Richard has the rare quality to be a person the reader would never want to be friends with in real life, someone who can't be trusted, who's escentric, even a bit crazy, but still the reader hopes for him to survive and to find his way, he roots for him, simply because the way he is written is so convinving. There's nothing wrong with a likable protagonist but creating a protagonist who the reader dislikes but still roots for is the best it can get in literature. Thridly "The beach" simply has an amazing plot, full of action and suprises and suspense. When I read it I felt like I was on the best trip of my life for three quarter of the book, just to find myself in a nightmare in the last quarter of the book. A story which suprises always wins.
5. "A million little pieces" by James Frey
Besides Jack Kerouac, James Frey is probably my second favorite author and it's solely because of this book. "A million little pieces" is the story of Frey's time in a rehab clinic after being a heavy drug user and alcoholic. It was greatly critzised because apparently it's not a true memoir because Frey excagerate some thing but this doesn't mean that its any less of a genius book.
"A million little pieces" truely lives from the writing which completely pulls in the reader. While reading it I cried and laughed and I even physically felt the pain the main character has to go through. "A million little pieces" is an absolutely brutal book. It will hurt you, shatter you emotionally and it will not, in any way, leave you with a good feeling. But it will make you feel so intensely as if you lived through the story yourself. This is what a great book is made of.
What's in your book soup?