Friday, April 9, 2010

The 2010 Northern Colorado Writers Post-Conference Reading List

Post By NCW Member Laura Bridgwater

No matter our genres, reading is an important part of our development as writers. With dedication, we read with a pen in hand, determined to parse the magic of the words. We circle surprising passages, underline transitions, and leave, in the margins, a trail of question marks, stars, smiley faces, and other pictographs that tell the story of our growth as writers. By reading closely, we hope that the individual elements of craft will coalesce in our psyche, and we will become the ones drawing words into art.

Because reading is an integral part of a writer’s education, I took notes at the conference whenever a presenter mentioned a favorite book, poem, essay, or author. For if the mentioned reading material helped that writer, then most likely I could find help there, too.

So here’s the list of material that I gleaned from the conference. The compilation varies in genres, including classics, bestsellers, groundbreakers, poetry, craft books, memoirs, short stories, essays, and works of creative nonfiction. But every item below shares one thing in common: It helped to grow a writer.

What valuable reading suggestions did you pick up?

The 2010 Post-Conference Reading List, in no particular order:

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Girl with Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace
  • Marchlands by Karla Kuban
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  • Ron Carlson Writes a Story by Ron CarlsonThe Shack by William P. Young
  • Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas
  • Rapture by Susan Minot
  • After by Claire Tristram
  • Endless Love by Scott Spencer
  • About My Life and the Kept Woman by John Rechy
  • Tender Bar: A Memoir by J.R. Mohringer
  • The poetry of Charles Bukowski
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love by Debra Gwartney
  • “Leap” by Brian Doyle
  • “Word on the Street” by Richard Price
  • Creating Fiction from Experience by Peggy Simpson Curry

    Laura Bridgwater is a freelance writer and commentator. You can hear her radio commentaries on KUNC.


Michelle Mach said...

I've only read 3 of those titles. Guess I need to get busy! I did check out The Traitor King by Todd Mitchell (one of the conference presenters) and will be reading that soon.

Laura.Bridgwater said...

I haven't read all of the list either, but I have read The Glass Castle. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it yet.

Jenny S. said...

Thanks for the great list, Laura. I've read a few of the titles and hope to read many more. You've also inspired me to take better notes about book recommendations at future conferences!

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