School of Nonfiction with Shulem Deen

We all have our favorites, the books we come back to, some for instruction, some for inspiration, and some just for fun. These are mine — from the essential to the light-hearted to the deep and comprehensive.

Don’t hate me if your favorite isn’t here. Just add it in the comments below!

1. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E. B. White

The classic style-book that’s never gone out of style. Read it, then reread it, and keep it on your desk or nearest bookshelf at all times.

2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

This unique blend of memoir and craft guide is a surprising gem, from one of the foremost narrative writers of our time.

3. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, by John Gardner

Don’t be fooled by the title: this is not just for fiction writers nor is it for the young alone. An essential manual for understanding the essence of narrative.

4. Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott

This slim volume, widely beloved for the author’s quirky, idiosyncratic voice, is chock-full of-writing wisdom that is sure to inspire and motivate just when you feel most stuck.

5. The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, by Alice LaPlante

This hefty volume is everything the previous recommendation is not; thick, systematic, comprehensive — practically a writer’s Bible.