Like many writers, I have a lot of books. They are threatening to take over the house. It is time for some sorting out and that inevitably means some will have to go. How am I going to decide which to keep and which to throw? The shelves need cataloguing. I'm not talking Dewey Decimal but it would be helpful if the books were in some sort of order. Relevant titles would be easier to find and that would save time.
As I'm a writer of historical fiction, I thought I might begin with those titles, collect them all together and put them in author order. These are some of the titles I will be keeping. These are books that mean something to me. Books that changed my perceptions of historical fiction, that have stayed with me, some for a very long time. Books that I discovered as a young reader and as an adult long before I even thought of writing, let alone writing historical fiction. Some are books that I simply admire, that I go to when I think my own writing needs a boost, by writers who leave me in awe to wonder: 'How do they do that? I couldn't do that!'
Here are ten of my 'keepers':
Margaret Atwood - alias grace
Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights
Charles Frazier - Cold Mountain
William Golding - To the Ends of the Earth Trilogy
Cormac McCarthy - Border Trilogy
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall, Bringing Up the Bodies and A Place of Greater Safety
Annie Proulx - Accordian Crimes
Mary Renault - The King Must Die, The Bull From The Sea
Rosemary Sutcliff - Eagle of the Ninth
Leo Tolstoy - War And Peace