“Theodore Weesner’s 1987 novel The True Detective is a book I go back to again and again. The story of a child abduction, seen through the eyes of those closest to the case, it’s got the velocity and compulsion of a thriller and the depth and compassion of a great literary novel.
In this online exclusive we ask authors to share books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired them in their writing. We see this as a place for writers to turn to for ideas that will help feed their creative process.
“When I’m at my most creative, I call it being ‘sticky,’ and almost anything at all can help enrich the work. I’ve found a really simple, effective source of inspiration is to just go outside.
“Whenever I feel that I've lost sight of a story I’m working on, I return to one book in particular: Stuart Dybek’s The Coast of Chicago. I can open this book to almost any page, read a few paragraphs, and be reminded of why I wanted to start writing short stories in the first place.
"One of my enthusiasms of the moment is David Shield's great and overlooked book Enough About You: Notes Toward the New Autobiography, just reissued by Soft Skull Press. Shield's insights about the complex back-and-forth of fiction and fact in literature and our larger culture are remarkable. This new edition is introduced by documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee, so I went back and watched his hilarious and amazing film Bright Leaves. Also, I was surprised recently while rereading Langston Hughes's Best of Simple to see how much my new
“Richard Siken’s Crush illuminates the intersection of passion and violence with perfect clarity.