The Three Books That Inspired You Most

by Chris Abouzeid

No one becomes a writer without being influenced by other writers.

Virginia Woolf was so taken with Proust’s Swan’s Way it almost paralyzed her writing. Yet it inspired her, too, and forced her to come to terms with her own genius and limitations.

When he was a kid, Stephen King asked his local librarian for a book about how kids really are. She handed him Lord of the Flies. It “unlocked the rest of my life,” King said.

So what we at Beyond the Margins want to know is, which books were your inspiration? Name the three works—great or small—that influenced your writing the most, and tell us what it was about them that affected you so much.

To get the ball rolling, here are my three:

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Book Lists and The Second Law of Thermodynamics

By Kathy Crowley

Hi, my name is Kathy and I am organizationally challenged. Also, I am powerless over just about everything, mostly because I can’t find any of it. Yes, yes.  It’s true.  I could regale you with tales of repossessed cable boxes (pay the bill every month? Come on…) and cars driven with long expired registrations (“Now Miss Crowley,” says the officer, “which month comes first, February or August?”)

But instead, I’ll just cut to the chase: I can’t keep track of books I want to read.  Or books I’ve read.

Let’s take a quick look at my current system.

Books I’m Dying to Read List:

Somebody recommends a book that sounds great.  Exactly the kind of thing I’d like to read.  I WRITE  IT  DOWN.  Yes! On REAL PAPER.  Sometimes even with the author’s name!!  And the ISBN!  (Well, maybe not.)  THEN I put the paper in my pants pocket.  THEN I drop tomato sauce laden tortellini on my pants at dinner. THEN I put my pants in the wash.  THEN my husband complains that there are little bits of white schmutz all over the clean laundry.  And THEN, the next time I’m looking for a book to read I think, what was that really great book…? I know I wrote it down somewhere…

Books I’ve Read That Mattered to Me:

“Oh yes!  That reminds me of this book I read once. I loved it! It was called… Well, it was about this woman. I think she was a nurse. No, a governess!  You should read it.  I think you’d like it.”

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