There are billions* of lists on the web that list the books that every writer should read.
In an attempt to help me decide which books to buy, here is a pseudo-scientific method.
If a book appears on a list, it gets a point. If it accumulates three (roughly 10%) or more points, it gets on this list.
The book with the most points is the one I’ll buy.
If your favourite book doesn’t appear on this list, don’t blame me, blame the authors of the lists.
* I might have exaggerated.
|On Writing||Stephen King||23||82||Buy on Amazon|
|Bird by Bird||Anne Lamott||17||60||Buy on Amazon|
|On Writing Well||William Zinsser||11||39||Buy on Amazon|
|Writing Down the Bones||Natalie Goldberg||11||39||Buy on Amazon|
|The Elements of Style||William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White||10||35||Buy on Amazon|
|The War of Art||Steven Pressfield||10||35||Buy on Amazon|
|Plot & Structure||James Scott Bell||7||25||Buy on Amazon|
|The Artist’s Way||Julia Cameron||7||25||Buy on Amazon|
|Self-Editing for Fiction Writers||Renni Browne and Dave King||6||21||Buy on Amazon|
|Story||Robert McKee||6||21||Buy on Amazon|
|The Writing Life||Annie Dillard||6||21||Buy on Amazon|
|Writing the Breakout Novel||Donald Maass||6||21||Buy on Amazon|
|Eats, Shoots & Leaves||Lynne Truss||5||17||Buy on Amazon|
|The Writer’s Journey||Christopher Vogler||5||17||Buy on Amazon|
|Zen in the Art of Writing||Ray Bradbury||5||17||Buy on Amazon|
|How to Write a Damn Good Novel||James N. Frey||4||14||Buy on Amazon|
|Save the Cat!||Blake Snyder||4||14||Buy on Amazon|
|Story Engineering||Larry Brooks||4||14||Buy on Amazon|
|Writing Tools||Roy Peter Clark||4||14||Buy on Amazon|
|On Moral Fiction||John Gardner||3||10||Buy on Amazon|
|Reading Like a Writer||Francine Prose||3||10||Buy on Amazon|
|Story Genius||Lisa Cron||3||10||Buy on Amazon|
|Telling Lies for Fun & Profit||Lawrence Block||3||10||Buy on Amazon|
|The Forest for the Trees||Betsy Lerner||3||10||Buy on Amazon|
|The Situation and the Story||Vivian Gornick||3||10||Buy on Amazon|
So there we have it. By a long way, Stephen King’s On Writing is the book to have.
Here’s a list of 28 sites that list 196 distinct books on writing.
Found by searching for “recommended books writing” and “books for writers” on startpage, duckduckgo, google and bing.
Good Reads also has lots of user generated lists, but I didn’t include any
Unused in ranking table – not in useful format e.g. ranked