Posted in Books, writer

To be a writer, one must be a reader

One cannot be a writer without reading widely. It is this reading that gives whatever one writes a personal touch. Even when writing non-fiction, the fiction one has read can provide both background and intensity. I may, for instance, write just a few lines on Biafra in a chapter on Nigeria or on Africa, but if I have read a book that depicts what happened [Half of a Yellow Sun], I will write more authentically. So here are just a few of the books I like, not in any particular order.
1.The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse.
2. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.
3. Most other books by Hesse and Mann [but not Siddhartha].
4. The Morning and the Evening by Joan Williams.
5. A Multitude of Sins by J A Cuddon.
6. Dibs—in Search of Self by Virginia Axline.
7. Place Mill by Barbara Softly [a children’s book]
8. The Synthesis of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo.
9. Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
10. Europe: A History, by Norman Davies.
11. Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; also The First Circle, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by the same author.
12. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig.
13. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
14. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
15. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
16. All the plays of Henrik Ibsen.
17. The Mahabharata.
18. The Ramayana of Tulasidasa.
19. Manimekhalai
2o. The Golden Treasury [F.T. Palgrave]



A writer with ten published books and several articles, book reviews etc. I primarily write on history and religion, but also philosophical fiction.

14 thoughts on “To be a writer, one must be a reader

  1. Wow!
    What a fabulous list! I agree with you regarding the impact of reading on writers. Many researchers maintain that creative writing can’t be taught. However, I believe that we can learn it by for example reading literary stories and trying to benefit from. These written texts offer models, tools,and many ideas to start with. And then, we need to practice. As you know, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Thanks so much for taking time to write this inspiring post. I am following you now to learn from you!


  2. I’ve always wanted to read the Ramayana. Never found it in a brick and mortar store though. Completely agree with you though. Good list, nice diversity of genres.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great title for your post and what an interesting list, thank for you the recommendations. I’d never heard of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, but it’s definitely going on my ‘to read list’ now!

    And I think i’ve just found the post I want to base the challenge we got today on too, because I couldn’t agree with you more on this.


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