• Reading Recommendations: WriteByNight Staff

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    StacksReaders don’t need to write, but writers sure do need to read.

    Our wonderful writing coaches and consultants set a fine example: they’re all voracious readers, and they love to share their favorite books, as well as books they’ve learned from as writers.

    When we bring on new staff here at WriteByNight, we always ask ’em what book they’re currently reading and what they think of it. Here are answers from a handful of them. (Click on a coach’s name to read a full Q & A with him or her.)

    Look for more in the future — just as soon as you read every single one of the books touted below.

    There will be a quiz.

    (But you can sneak a peak at more responses if you dig around a bit on our Staff page.)


    Resa Alboher

    “I am working through the translations Archipelago is in the process of bringing out one by one: all six books of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, and these books thus far are a nearly plotless hyper-nonfiction work of compelling, hypnotic beauty. He writes well and deeply mines his memory and reaches near-Proustian heights.

    Now I need to finish Proust!”


    Tom Andes

    Huckleberry Finn is probably the novel I’ve returned to most over the years, and Raymond Carver was the first literary short story writer I fell in love with (thanks to Altman’s Short Cuts, I discovered him on my own, before being introduced to his work in writing workshops).

    I just finished Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. I thought it was terrific. I finished the book in the middle of the night, and I was terrified to walk around the house. I love how she couches these urgent concerns about feminism and gender in what’s generally considered a popular — if not a disposable — form.

    I also think her prose is fantastic — funny, self-aware, caustic, electrifying.”


    Bridget Apfeld

    “Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. I was so engrossed that I finished it in a single day — I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the way she built up a portrait of her characters in the first half of the book only to introduce, in the second half, a new narrative point of view that surprises the reader with unexpected information, history, and attitude.

    The book challenges us in a fresh way to consider, among other things, secrets within relationships, and I thought Groff’s storytelling here was impeccable. I can’t stop thinking about the novel, and for me that’s a mark of success.”


    Katherine Catmull

    “Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. It was still a delight—filling all my lit-nerd needs with its splendid writing, while also providing a thrilling story.”


    Jessamine Chan

    The Star Side of Bird Hill, the debut novel by Naomi Jackson. Naomi is a friend, so I came to the book biased. That said, I’d love this novel no matter who wrote it. The characters are richly drawn, and the book’s spirit is big-hearted, even as it attends to a huge amount of family tragedy. I was impressed and enchanted by the amount of wisdom in this novel.

    Next up, I’m planning to reread 1984 by George Orwell, and Taking Care by Joy Williams.”


    Lydia Conklin

    “I’m currently reading Susan Steinberg’s Spectacle and it’s blowing up my world. It’s addictive and absorbing and fierce and so exciting to read. It’s the kind of book I half hate reading because I can’t really do anything else while I’m reading it.

    Yesterday a friend asked what I was reading and I handed it to her and she became so absorbed that she wouldn’t give it back! Finally I wrenched it from her hands by force.”


    Nick Courtright

    “I’m usually working on multiple books at a time, because I can’t bear to stick on just one thing. I don’t know whether this is good or bad.

    But it does mean that right now I’ve been chewing through the Old Testament (I’ve gotten through the first ten books, which means Kings is on deck), a delightful and wicked book of poetry called I am Your Slave, Now Do What I Say by Anthony Madrid, and the nonfiction work Collapse by Jared Diamond, about how civilizations fall apart.

    They are all good, and when I’m done with them, I’ll find some more.”



    Hey, so, what are you currently reading, and what do you think of it? Let us know below.


    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2016 writing project that you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coaching, private instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”


    Linked2WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is copy editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and contributes regularly to the Dallas Morning News, Publishing Perspectives, the Observer and other publications.

    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    Notify of

    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x