Today marks the first (optional) theme related post as part of my participation in this year's Blogathon. We were asked to write about our five favorite books related to writing or the subject of our blog. Since I do not have one set subject for my blog, I have decided to write about the five books that have most influenced my writing and the subject on which I write.
1. The Way, St. Josemaria Escriva:
I can not believe it has been over ten years since I came back to the Catholic Church. During the time of my reversion I kept stumbling across writings by St. Josemaria, in particular points from The Way. The book consists of 999 spiritual reflections, like mini-retreats. Sometimes, when I read a point, it was as if St. Josemaria was speaking directly to me. I can even hear his castillian accent. The overall message of the book is that we are called to be holy in precisely the place in life we are or as Mother Theresa said "you are called to bloom where you have been planted."
2. On Writing, Stephen King:
I am not sure there would be many people who would have these first two books together on their list. I grew up reading all of Stephen King's novels. I must have been about nine years old when Carrie was published. I remember my mother being a member of a book club and often she would let me read some of her books. I very specifically remembering her finishing Carrie letting me read it. My mother was a huge advocate of reading and never censored our reading. Anyway, I began writing short stories at about the same age and of course I was drawn to the horror and science fiction genres. When King wrote this book, I had to have it. I actually own the book in multiple formats: hardback, paperback, audio and ebook. Like King in his early years, I am a teacher. Just maybe...
3. Marvel Comics (The Avengers, Captain America, Spider-Man, et al)
I mentioned above that my mother was an advocate of reading. She never said no to giving me a dime or quarter to buy a comic or two. I can't tell you the number of times she would catch me reading by the light of a flashlight after it was time to go to bed. Reading these marvelous Stan Lee creations introduced me to the art of alliteration. I have always loved used this literary device in all of my writings: fiction, non-fiction even in school essays. I did not realize until very recently where this came from - Marvel Comics! I was watching an interview with Stan Lee and heard him talking about the various names of characters when it hit me. BOOM! POW!
4. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell
I have included this book on the list because I find myself referring to it when writing about educational and non-profit management. I was first introduced to this book years ago when I was a financial planner. I actually have a personalized, autographed copy.
Over the years, I have been impressed with how universal these "laws of leadership" really are. Two of my favorite points include the Law of the Lid and the Law of Influence. The Law of Lid simply asserts that an organization can only rise to the level of leader's ability. Law of Influence essentially defines leadership as influence, nothing more, nothing less. Finally, the funniest observation in Maxwell's book: if you turn around and no one is following you, you are NOT a leader.
5. What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell
I could have very easily included any of Gladwell's books. I chose this one because it most exemplifies the quality that has influenced my writing. You can not read any of Gladwell's books or his articles in the New Yorker without realizing that he takes great effort in researching his material.
In addition to his research approach, his writing is engaging. How many people do you know who can write about the history of ketchup and make it interesting? He did.
This is my humble list. I have to admit this assignment was a bit more difficult than it first appeared.