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The book that made you want to become a writer...

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The book that made me want to become a writer was Michael Chabon's, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

It's an adult book and (he's since won a Pulitzer Prize) he was someone I'd never heard of. I just came across it innocently while browsing through bookstore shelves. I lamented about the twelve dollar price. Put it back on the shelf a few times. But it kept leaping back off. Into my hands. Called to me, "Hey, you, scrawny girl, read me!"

I hadn't experienced that kind of joy from a book since I was in the second or third grade, that sort of pure, unmarred joy of racing home each night to read it, poring over each lovely phrase. It is a book that even now, years later, I can pick up and flip open and feel good all over again.

How about you?
#1 - February 13, 2008, 04:25 PM

#2 - February 13, 2008, 04:28 PM
ESCAPING THE TIGER, Bank Street's "Best Books of the Year"

THE BRIDES NECKLACE by kat martin.  it was the first Regency i'd ever read...and it got me obsessed.
#3 - February 13, 2008, 04:33 PM
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HAHA! I love it, LRM. I once worked as a temp in an office and I didn't actually have anything to do except answer like 3 phone calls a day! I went through nearly 2 books a day at that job!

I'm not sure if it was a particular book that made me want to be a writer, but an author came to speak at my school when I was in fourth grade. That made me want to be a writer.

EDIT: I've been thinking about this thread, and I've decided that, in addition to the author visit, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has inspired me the most.
#4 - February 13, 2008, 04:40 PM
« Last Edit: February 13, 2008, 06:10 PM by Michie »

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Bloomability by Sharon Creech
#5 - February 13, 2008, 04:43 PM
Jean Reidy
Coming soon: Pup 681, Truman, When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall, Group Hug , Specs and Specs II.
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It was all the books my fifth grade teacher read to us:

Matilda by Rold Dahl
Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Patterson
Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
Trumpet of the Swan by EB White
#6 - February 13, 2008, 04:48 PM

Homecoming and Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt.
#7 - February 13, 2008, 04:49 PM
Stained Glass Summer, Musa Publishing
Weaving Magic, YA Romance
Finders Keepers--MeeGenius Publishing

Caffeine, please!
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I can't limit it to just one. A Wrinkle in Time; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Jackaroo; everything by L.M. Montgomery.
#8 - February 13, 2008, 05:02 PM


When Worlds Collide when I was in 6th grade then Player Piano when I was in college.
#9 - February 13, 2008, 05:03 PM


Bridge to Terabithia, when I was little.
I wanted to BE Katherine Paterson.  I still might.
#10 - February 13, 2008, 05:24 PM

Reader, reader, reader...
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I always wanted to be an editor when I was young -- but the book(s) that made me want to write were Tamora Pierce's PROTECTOR OF THE SMALL quartet (though I hadn't read all of them by the time I started, as the last one hadn't come out yet...I don't think, heh).  there are so many things I love about her books...ah.

But the writer I most want to emulate (as far as style, etc) is Madeleine L'Engle (as I've mentioned here and there before).
#11 - February 13, 2008, 05:46 PM
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales:

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Many years ago I read the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and loved how she wove the setting, emotions and her philosophy into an incredible story. I wanted to do that. I'm still working on it.
#12 - February 13, 2008, 06:02 PM

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Probably the Babar or Madeline series when I first read them way back when.  :)
#13 - February 13, 2008, 06:21 PM
Film school grad. Time traveller. Billy Bragg fan. Canadian/Irish novelist of character-driven fiction from sci-fi to slice of life.

To Kill a Mockingbird
#14 - February 13, 2008, 06:37 PM

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I love this thread! So many great titles have been mentioned. It was an event surrounding a book, not the book itself for me.

HP and The Goblet of Fire release party at my local Indie. Out back is a dimly lit patio with tables and chairs used during the day for the café. I walked out and saw a small boy in feetsy-pajamas with his copy held high over his head. He had dragged a chair over to the one, small lantern and was desperately trying to read in the only place he could find away from the noise of the party inside. I have never felt such jealousy for another human being as I did for JK Rowling at that moment. Not for her money, not for her fame, but for her power to reach young readers.

I decided at that moment that that was the brass ring and I wanted it.
#15 - February 13, 2008, 07:00 PM


I agree-great topic!

It's hard to pinpoint one specific book, but I think it was in 8th grade, reading THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving, that I decided I wanted to write. Norma Klein, Judy Blume, and Cynthia Voight were huge influences on me, too.
#16 - February 13, 2008, 08:00 PM


For me it was ETHAN FROME. I know, strange, huh?  I was captivatetd by Edith Wharton's descriptions of winter in New England and the tragic love story between Ethan and Mattie.
#17 - February 13, 2008, 08:51 PM

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Little Women
Anne of Green Gables
Green Dolphin Street (I think I have that right? It's by Elizabeth Goudge.)

Also, big thick books in general made me want to be a writer. I guess it was the fascination of creating a world or story that huge. And I loved pens when I was a child. They made me want to be a writer too. I didn't need a lot of persuading.
#18 - February 13, 2008, 09:32 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet

"East of Eden"
and also
"The Winter of Our Discontent'

#19 - February 13, 2008, 09:37 PM

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Well, I used to staple pages together and illustrate them and then dictate the text to my mom before I could actually read, so I don't remember which book made me realize writing was a part of me. And when I got to Nancy Drew, I was disappointed when my mom explained Carolyn Keene was actually a book packager, not a real person. But the first novel I read where I knew there was a real publisher and a real author that woke me up to complete consciousness would be A Wrinkle in Time. L'Engle wrote me back and FSG was my first personalized rejection, so I think I'd have to tag that one. 
#20 - February 13, 2008, 09:52 PM

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I'd have the say the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, especially "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe."  We lived in Africa, and I remember waiting impatiently for my aunt and uncle in the States to send me the next book when it came out...
And it's the first time I got so caught up in a writer's world.  Lewis whisked me off to Narnia and I didn't want to come back!
#21 - February 13, 2008, 10:26 PM
"Writing is making sense of life."  --  Nadine Gordimer



Anne of Green Gables.
#22 - February 14, 2008, 05:35 AM


Hmmm, I don't know of any one book that made me want to be a writer, though the closest is probably Burnett's The Little Princess. I remember being fascinated with how Sarah Crewe drew comfort from and gained popularity through her story-telling ability. It remains one of my all time favorite books!
#23 - February 14, 2008, 07:13 AM

addicted to YA
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Not sure I could pinpoint any one book - since I've been reading voraciously since I was 3. I absolutely loved A Child's Garden of Verses & I started writing poetry when I was old enough to writing - and I used to illustrate my poems with things like a birdbath surrounded by flowers and little birds flying around it or sitting on the rim. (I was very into gardens back then  :D )

I think I first thought about writing books during my Agatha Christie phase... but didn't try writing any until I did a rhyming PB for my daughters. I started writing fiction in earnest about fourteen years ago... finally completing my first ms the summer of 2006 (a MG ghost story that still needs tweaking.)

That's my story... (or at least one of them  ;D  )
#24 - February 14, 2008, 07:18 AM
« Last Edit: February 14, 2008, 07:24 AM by Juliarts2003 »
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Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012

Dr. Seuss and his wacky worlds and unique approach had a big impact on me. I love humor! The Wayside School books by Louis Sachar have provided a boost as well. But it wasn't until I read Cynthia Rylant's A Fine White Dust that I really believed I could write the stories I wanted to write.

 :hamster Will I ever get back to the trench?
#25 - February 14, 2008, 07:19 AM

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
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Gosh, I'm enjoying this thread very much.

I have three books.  One that I read when I was 12 -- Adventures in Two Worlds by A.J. Cronin.  It's his autobiography.  He was a doctor turned novelist.  And that was my dream.  I loved science and medicine and my first love was medicine.  And I dreamed that when I became a grandmother, I'd write stories.  But I became a scientist instead.  Although I loved it, it didn't have the same *calling* factor as medicine.

Flashforward 20 years.  I read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  And I was in awe.  I thought, I'd like to write a book some day.  Like that.

A couple of years later, I bought Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance.  I *avoided* reading this book for a long time.  Reading random pages brought back memories so intensely, I'd put it away.  Then one day, I started reading and when I finished the book, the characters stayed with me a long time (they are still with me), and I remembered all the things that didn't make sense to me as a child and I finally understood a few things.  And I started writing in a lab-notebook.  A month or two later, I bought myself a spiral notebook ... and just wrote stuff.

But it wasn't until I had my first baby a couple of years later that I took my first writing class and learned how to write ... and I've been writing ever since, off and on, the first few years, but more regularly once baby#2 started sleeping through the night.  Writing is my calling, on par with medicine.

These books have really made my dreams come true.
#26 - February 14, 2008, 10:03 PM
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This is a totally offbeat choice.  But as a small child, this book really did make me want to be an author.  The book is called The Debater's Guide.  None of your have ever heard of it, and you can't find anything about it online.  It was copyrighted over 90 years ago.  It's probably been out of print almost that long.  I've never even read it.

My dad's father was an ardent book collector.  All of his books were lovingly cared for and marked on the inside covers with hand made, typed book plates saying "John H. Arnold Private Library" and each book was numbered.

A small time entrepreneur whose various business ventures ranged from ghost writing college termpapers to manufacturing vending machines, my grandfather died a few months after my parents were married, so all I ever knew of him was one photograph, the remnant of his book collection that was in our home, and the stories my dad would tell about him.  And my grandfather was the author of The Debater's Guide.

I can still remember the tingle of fascination I felt as a child looking at that book, and making the connection that books weren't just objects on a shelf, but were the creative efforts of real people.  And the real person who created THIS book was my grandfather, who was not a real person to ME except in the manifestation of this book.

My grandfather's love of books quickly rubbed off on me and all the books I owned as a child still contain labels on the inside covers marking them as part of my own private library.  And in a very real sense my interest in writing, which began literally as soon as I COULD write, grew out of a desire to connect with the grandfather I never knew, because of that special book on in our bookcase.

 :star2  Okay, this is getting way to deep.  Time to get ready for school!
#27 - February 15, 2008, 04:50 AM


Pet Semetery - Stephen King. I've always wanted to scare the crap out of readers like that.
#28 - February 15, 2008, 05:00 AM


Probably not true, but for the sake of embroidered fiction to inspire other writers, I'll say "The Animal Family", by Randall Jarell:

I usually run screaming from Yolen-ite fantasies in love with the sound of their own voice and/or new-ageiness, and found myself more attracted to a more "natural" fantasy, in which a mermaid is described so offhandedly and naturalistically, it was part immersion and part frustration that made me want to write more fantasies that left the reader saying, "Now, that's good observation of detail; the writer must've really gone out and spent some time observing local mermaids in the wi...Aww, geez!!  :banghead "   :faint
#29 - February 15, 2008, 05:09 AM

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As a kid--books that enthralled me and made me want to write:
Charlotte's Web
Pippi Longstocking
Little Women

As a mom (the books that made me want to write for kids--maybe because I read them to my kids 1000s of times):
Goodnight Moon
But Not the Hippopatamus
Blueberries for Sal
Bread and Jam for Frances
#30 - February 15, 2008, 07:30 AM


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