do you have a book suggestion?

Lately I’ve realized the quality of my writing has taken a turn for the worse. Even when I know what I want to say, the words aren’t flowing out at a standard I want them to. My brain feels like its got the worst bout of constipation imaginable. We’re dealing with some really serious blockage here, guys. Adding in some extra fiber won’t do the trick this time around. (Million dollar idea – brain enemas for writers. Someone needs to invent this.) I’m chalking it up to the fact I haven’t been reading much of anything lately and I’m lacking some inspiration. Can you recommend a book to me that you’ve enjoyed or felt inspired by? Have you read a writer that has inspired you so much you’ve been able to get back in touch with your voice?

Rapunzel-with-books

Things I like in a book:
1. High quality writing. (None of this Twilight crap that could have been written by a 16-year-old, okay? PS- I actually kind of enjoyed those books. I just think reading that right now would make my constipation even worse.)
2. I can’t do books that take awhile to get into it. If it’s too slow I’ll give up on it in the first 50 pages.
3. I like any genre as long as it’s written well, but have an affinity for humor. (I’ve read The Bloggess. I have a feeling a lot of people will recommend her books, so I’m just gonna say that now lol)

HELP please!

(Thanks in advance, guys. I hope I can take y’all out for a beer someday or, at the very least, share a pizzaΒ with you. Well, just a small slice. Or a bite.Β PizzaΒ is important to me. Don’t judge.)

388 Comments

  1. My Brother’s Farm, it’s a quick read and light and enlightening, especially about vegetarianism and cheese. Then watch a Disney movie and get out of the funk and you won’t need to punctuate all your posts with expletives. Hey, I just got out of eye surgery and am giving you advice so please heed it. I’d be bereft if my eyes wouldn’t let me read and my fingers always hit the wrong keys. Think about being without sight. That may get you writing about positive things. Dee

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Is it going to ruin cheese? I enjoy some good cheese here and there lol. I watch Disney movies ALL the time. Seriously. I’m an animated movie fan. I don’t think I swear THAT much compared to most people that I need an intervention lol, but thanks. Good luck recuperating from your eye surgery πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Well, based on what I’ve read on your blog, I can only suggest you go straight to my most recent two blog posts and begin there. I think you’ll be especially happy with “You Got What You Deserve.” Since you asked. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Aw, The Little Prince is a great book. Obviously, the kid in my things Pinocchio is as well πŸ™‚ Thanks for the suggestions!

      Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Wow, not a word wasted. That’s gotta be impressive writing. I’ll take a look. I love great writing. Thanks πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. I have a deep and abiding love for Sir Terry Pratchett and his Disc World series. The first book I ever read was Going Postal and I have to say that I do find it a hilarious and very inspiring read because it’s about a con-man doing good by doing what he does best: being a con-man.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Sounds interesting! I’m getting a Pratchett book today at the bookstore πŸ™‚ Hilarious and inspiring is exactly what I need right now. Thanks!

      Reply
  4. Cheri Christensen

    I remember dissecting a frog in H.S. I had a good teacher.a lot of his student’s ended up being health care professionals. how many of you actually learned anatomy from colored pictures? None of the frogs were Kermit. Frogs were an economical way to teach anatomy. I am an animal lover. Had my entire family laughing at me when I spent eighteen dollars to have my daughter’s 2 dollar hamster put to sleep. My thinking was it was her pet and she loved it, I couldn’t stand to see it suffer.

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  5. I just read “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl,” the Carrie Brownstein memoir, which is a lot less funny than you’d think. There’s some appealing social awkwardness, though, and some gorgeous writing about music, which always inspires me.

    I go through a lot of brain constipation phases, too. What usually breaks me out of them is vowing to never write again, which prompts my brain to say “wait, how about THIS great idea?!” Sometimes it takes a while, though.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I’ve never heard of that book. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll definitely check it out πŸ™‚ You have an interesting method for getting out of a mental block lol. I have a fear if I did that, I might not come back around! (Probably unlikely… But still)

      Reply
  6. If you haven’t read it yet, the Incarceron trilogy by Katherine Fisher is amazing. It’s a bit of a young adults series, but only in a way that it’s not vulgar or overly sexual. It’s intense starting from page one.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Thank you! I actually like YA books even though I’m pretty freaking old lol. And if it’s intense on page 1? Even better πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. 1. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

    2. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

    3. The Divine Comedy by Dante (Ciardi translation)

    The last one is weird, I know, but I’m always revitalized by it. Maybe it’s just me.

    Reply
  8. I love all the Sherlock Holmes. And the Count of Monte Cristo. Old classics are awesome! A lesser known classic that I LOVE the The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. So good.

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    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I read the other two in school, but never the Woman in White! I’ll check it out. You can’t go wrong with a good classic. Thanks πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. K.R. Brorman

    Jen Lancaster, Such A Pretty Fat, Bitter is the New Black, Tao of Martha. And oldie, Sweet Potato Queens by Jil Connor Browne. Bring your Poise.

    Reply
  10. I actually loved the book Atonement, which was the last piece of fiction that I read. It is well written. The characters and plot are well developed. It takes the mind to a time, a place, and a situation that is complex and unfamiliar. I highly recommend it; although, I know it’s not anything new and cutting edge.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I LOVE that book. Thank you for reminding me about it. Maybe I’ll read it again. It’s amazing. I actually enjoyed the movie as well, which is surprising for me lol

      Reply
      1. It’s a “western” story about two brothers who work as contract killers. They are hired to kill a guy who has a formula for stuff that reveals the location of gold in rivers. Instead of killing the guy, they go into business with him. It’s an oddball adventure story, highly readable and compelling.

        Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I actually haven’t. I tried to find it last night at the bookstore and they didn’t have it. I think I’ll have to order it on Amazing. That is one that’s at the top of my list to read!

      Reply
      1. One more recommendation for you….a collection of stories by Italo Calvino called Marcovaldo. Charming, funny, insightful. OK and one more… have you read True Grit by Charles Portis? Never mind the movie (either of them). The book is great.

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        1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

          I haven’t read either of those πŸ™‚ I have seen the True Grit movie though! lol. I’ll check them out πŸ™‚ Thank you

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  11. Anonymous

    I definitely still have the mind of a pre-teen. I love family oriented or those very mild, first love romance/mystery/adventure types like Nancy Drew. I did enjoy books by Mary Stewart. I liked her Gothic series, she had a Merlin series as well. I didn’t know anything about the author til she passed in 2014 at nearly 100 years of age!

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I tend to gravitate toward YA books as well. It always makes me feel a little strange in the bookstore when I’m surrounded by 13-year-olds haha. Although I have a pretty inappropriate sense of humor, I also like mild books. Strange how that works! I’ll have to check that author out, thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Strange! I have no idea why. This self-hosting gig is still new and unknown for me lol. I’m glad you said something though so now I know it was you πŸ™‚

      Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I bought a David Sedaris book yesterday ‘Naked’ but I didn’t see the one you mentioned. I’ll have to check again. Thanks for the suggestion. He is *hilarious*

      Reply
  12. I’m reading The Stopped Heart right now. It’s kind of a rough read, but really well-written. It feels like the author is punching you and I’m a little afraid to read the end. For something calmer, funnier – have you read Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand? The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry?

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I haven’t read those two lighter ones. Although, I’m pretty curious what it feels like to get punched by the author lol. Sounds like good writing πŸ™‚

      Reply
  13. Ash

    I’m sure you’ve seen the movie, but Fight Club is an excellent book. So is Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson. (it’s not a christian book just fyi) it’s about a heroin addict. Great read.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I love Fight Club, I read the book years ago after I saw the movie. Did it out of order, oops. Amazing story. I haven’t read the other one though. I’m glad you clarified – I was a little worried at first because it didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy lol. Thanks for the suggestions πŸ™‚

      Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      I have a Nook, but I’m stuck in the 00’s and love reading actual books still lol. Not sure why πŸ™‚

      Reply
          1. Don’t abandon real books but e readers are really great if you like to highlight, write notes, and return to the book again and again. Also they’re great to get quick definitions of unknown words.

          2. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

            Very true! I still use my ereader. I like how easy it is to make a spur of the moment book purchase without having to go to the store lol

  14. You already have too many suggestions. I too am suffering from writers’ constipation. I’m ready to write short stories but enjoy writing my stream of consciousness crap blogs too.
    Stephen King – On Writing.
    Anything by Iain Banks or Kazuo Ishiguro

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Thanks! Constipation sucks, doesn’t it? I love On Writing. I’m about to dig it out and read it again πŸ™‚

      Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Thank you! Actually, YA is one of my favorites lol. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of them πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. A few of my favorites (in no particular order) are: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, My Horizontal Life, Not That Kind of Girl, A Million Little Pieces, Do Cool Shit, The 25th Hour, House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel (I love true crime), The Cases That Haunt Us, The Last Lecture…I know there are a million more, but that’s all I can think of

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Thanks! Is the first one Mindy Kaling? I secretly love her. She cracks me up. I’ll have to check them out πŸ™‚ I appreciate the suggestions!

      Reply
  16. There are some people who write well and humorously about (… wait for it …) philosophy. Really. A good intro to philosophy with laughter is [Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar] by T. Cathcart & D. Klein. Some very contemporary and provocative work in philosophy is also well-written and has some wry humor. Reading anything by D.C. Dennett or David Deutsch is more work than reading [Plato and … ] but is *very* rewarding.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Humorous philosophy? Sounds like an oxymoron lol. I’ll have to check them out. After all, I do enjoy platypuses. (Platypi? I’m not sure what the correct spelling is here…) Thanks for the suggestions πŸ™‚

      Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Ooo, I’ll check them out πŸ™‚ If they can continue to inspire after the first read, they’e gotta be good. I appreciate it !

      Reply
  17. I NEVER watched Chelsea Lately and I never found her funny. Then I read her books and holy shit….I’ve read (actually listened to) them each at least twice. Oh my God. Highly recommend. Additionally I found a self published author of a book series called “The Undead” by R.R. Haywood. They became so popular that audible.com picked them up for audible books. I’m on the 10th one and I’ve even communicated with him about my book and which avenue I should use for publishing. Great content!

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Yeah, I haven’t been a big fan of Chelsea either lol. Maybe I’ll check it out! Thanks for the ideas. I’m always for supporting self publishers. That’s awesome.

      Reply
      1. She is so funny in the book. An example is the EXACT Cabbage Patch Kid she instructed her parents to get her and what they actually came home with. Let’s just say, not Caucasian and not old enough to have yarn hair to comb.

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    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Ooo she has been suggested a few times now! Y’all can’t be wrong. She’s towards the top of my list πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. My fave book by her is The Poisonwood Bible but that’s definitely not easy to get into (which was one of your criteria), She also wrote an amazing book of essays, High Tide in Tucson (one essay of which inspired my blog tagline “trying to be a good animal”). One of my favourite writers ever. I hope you enjoy her books once you get to them!

        Reply
  18. I’m reading Carol Burnett, the comedian. She’s a great writer, too. Also, there’s a gentleman I really like named, John Mason. He has several ‘believe in yourself’ type books that I love. They are short reads with do-able goals.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Oh, I need that. I could use some more positive thinking in my life. Really. I’ll check them out πŸ™‚ Carol Burnett – such a funny woman!

      Reply
      1. You might look into books by Joe Girard. I’ve read several of them. He holds the Guinness World Record (or did) for selling cars. I read them in case I ever sell any books I write. Some of the lessons I applied to life in general. His writing is very frank and doesn’t beat around the bush at all. A different writing style for me, and I liked it. πŸ™‚

        Reply
  19. Bill Bryson writes great and funny memoirs. I enjoyed A Walk in the Woods, it’s from 1998, and is much better than the Robert Redford movie. He also wrote some about the years he spent in England, whose names escape me right now.

    Also an author easy to read and positive in tone is Alexander McCall Smith. His series set in Botswana, #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, is delightful.

    The best book I’ve read recently is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It’s brilliant and has lots of cultural refernces about Japan, with bottom-of-the-page notes about Japanese terms, and a section of Appendices on several profound and thought-provoking topics.

    Good luck on breaking through your writer’s block. I sympathize. Reading some interesting books in different writing atyles is an excellent way to get inspired! Here’s an exercise: Take one of your favorite novels, and rewrite a scene from the point of view of a different character than the author presents.

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Thanks for the suggestions! And for the exercise ! I’ve never done anything like that, so I think I will try tonight πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. You’ve had great suggestions- wanted to add in- I love any of the Rosamunde Pilcher books- and sometimes for inspiration – quick – I will read ‘the Velveteen Rabbit’ – my favorite quote is ‘How do know you’re real?’ the rabbit asked the skin horse…he replied ‘you know you’re real when your eyes fall out, your fur gets rubbed off and you are very shabby’ or something like that….anyway, for some reason- that inspires me- and I have two very old books with quotes in them…sometimes just a short thought gets it going…good luck and thank you for liking my blog post!

    Reply
  21. Hi Blair,

    I want to say you are just too funny! I enjoy your blog very much, and I appreciate you reading mine. I totally relate to this post of yours. I too at times get stuck, and I also think it is because I haven’t read a good book in years (well, one that interest me). I like you need the same things from a book in order to get into it. I love John Grisham, Steven King, and many others. I am very diverse when it comes to books. I have recently bought a few Judy Blume books some I’ve read years ago, and some I havent. I do recall enjoying her writing though. I wish you luck in finding a book to satisfy your reading craving. Keep up that great writing, for your blog is great!

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚ That’s so kind! I feel like it’s been YEARS since I’ve come across a great book too. It’s sad, isn’t it? I used to get totally consumed and obsessed with some books… I just can’t get to that point anymore. As of now, my brain block has been a bit relieved πŸ™‚ Thank goodness!

      Reply
  22. ANYTHING by T.C. Boyle! (And by ANYTHING I mean any of his novels or short story collections. He doesn’t actually have a book titled “Anything.” But that sounds pretty good… Maybe I’ll use that myself…) He’s got a dark humor that is brutal, and a vocabulary that will make you slap your momma. If you can get your hands on his collection of stories, “If the River Was Whisky,” that’s a great place to start. Enjoy!

    Reply
    1. Blair (The Shameful Sheep) Author

      Wow, sounds like an author I’d love to read lol. Vocabulary that will make me slap my momma? That’s intense. I have to check him out now haha. Thanks for the suggestion πŸ™‚

      Reply
  23. I’d second anything by the late Sir Terry Pratchett (such a loss!) Another funny, funny writer is Patrick McManus; he writes about going hunting and fishing (neither of which appeal to me) as a kid with his friend Retch; he absolutely remembers what it was to be a ten year old boy – or so The Squire tells me – and he is laugh-out-loud funny.

    Another good writer is Carl Hiaasen. He lives in Florida and writes funny novels about ecological issues. I know that sounds as if it’s an oxymoron, but there is one about a woman whose husband takes her on a cruise and throws her overboard because he thinks she has figured out that he is Up To No Good. She gets rescued and decides to go back to their house and drive him crazy. She knows where he hides the house key, so she gets one of her dresses out of the closet and lays it across the bed, then puts her makeup on the bathroom counter and sprays perfume all over the place. Hubby panics, changes the locks, and puts the key in the same place, so she does it again. He, of course, can’t go to the police, and in the end, everybody gets what they deserve, for better or worse.

    Reply

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