Recovery Reading

So, when I came to NSA, I thought “Cool, a place where I read the classics non-stop.” What I had not anticipated was the fact that I would have little time for anything else. Sadly, I lapsed in my fun reading. Indeed, for months at a time I would read no fiction whatsoever. For an avid reader, that’s disturbing. For someone who wants to write, that’s downright stupid. You need good stuff going in, or no good stuff will ever come out. So, after a crisis and some soul searching, I slapped together a list of books good for writers to read, and I’m starting to read it. This is actually modified from my personal list, and it’s divided up into sections. But check them out, I insist.

Children’s Literature:

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Time Quintet, Madeleine L’Engle
The Dark is Rising Sequence, Susan Cooper
The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Patricia C. Wrede
The Book of Dragons, Michael Hague
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
The Chronicles of Prydain , Lloyd Alexander

Non-Fiction:

Dragons: A Natural History, Karl Shuker
The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, C.S. Lewis
Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms, Alistair Moffat
Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis
The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life, Armand M. Nicholi Jr.
Born Fighting: How the Scot-Irish Shaped America, James Webb
God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World, Walter Russell Mead
Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval that Inspired America’s Founding Fathers, Michael Barone
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

Mythology:

The Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson (Norse)
Theogony, Hesiod (Greek)
From the Poetic Edda: (Norse)
___Alvissmal
___Voluspa
___Grimnismal
___Rigsthula
The Mabinogion (British/Welsh)
Lebor Gebala Erenn (Irish)

Classics:

The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
Paradise Lost, John Milton
Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: Book I of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Roy Maynard
The Iliad, Homer
The Odyssey, Homer
Beowulf
The Aeneid, Vergil
The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
The Song of Roland
The Oresteia, Aeschylus
MacBeth, Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare

More Recent:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Series, Tad Williams
Dresden Files, Jim Butcher
The Halfblood Chronicles, Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
Kolmar Series, Elizabeth Kerner
House, Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
Monster, Frank Peretti
Prey, Michael Crichton
Timeline, Michael Crichton
A Time to Kill, John Grisham

Arthuriana:

Culhwch and Olwen
The History of the Kings of Britain, Geoffrey of Monmouth
The Lady of Shallot, Tennyson
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The Dream of Rhonabwy
Peredur Son of Efrawg
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, Roger Lancelyn Green
The Pendragon Cycle, Stephen Lawhead
The Warlord Chronicles (not for kids at all), Bernard Cornwell
Camulod Chronicles (also sketchy, haven’t read them all), Jack Whyte
Avalon High (if you feel like high school drama), Meg Cabot
…and several other things mentioned above and below.

More Welsh Stuff:

The Battle of the Trees
Y Gododdin
Dialogue Between Myrddin and His Sister Gwendydd
The Apple Trees
The Dream of Macsen
Llud and Lefelys

Poetry:

Judith
The Dream of the Rood
Anything by Kipling
Anything by Billy Collins
The Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

And so, so much more. But this is quite a lot to sink your teeth into. You can probably tell from this where my interests lie, and where my deficiencies are. If you have suggestions, I’m open to them. But these are mine. Mostly, I recommend picking up a book and following your nose where it leads. It worked for me, when I let myself do it.

God Bless.

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