A Completely Thrilling Craft Book

Benjamin Percy walks the line between literary and genre fiction. In fact, he completely stomps on it, rendering the line a porous liminal space where the two fictions bleed into one another. That's the simplest way to talk about Percy's writing. He's a literary guy who manages to write about the stuff  MFA programs scoff at—I believe at their own peril. Because, like Percy, I find that the books I turn to time and again are the ones that exist on the edges of the literary. I'm talking about Percy's work, Victor LaValle's dark fictions, George Saunders' wonderful fictional universe complete with ghosts, Karen Russel's magical landscapes, and many more. All quite literary, yet also all forging ahead of the beautifully rendered but oftentimes dull modern American realist fiction. 

Here, in Thrill Me, we get Percy's take on a craft book—and he doesn't disappoint. He brings his unique perspective to bear in ways that will invigorate your writing and maybe just send it screaming into the dark, foggy night. Give it a read, if you dare. 

Essential Reads for Writers

Ask any writer for suggestions about what craft books to read and you'll get an almost endless list of choices. But, there are some standard reads and, at least for us, some less known gems worth having on your shelf. Here's the Wonderland list of best books for writers.

  1. Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
  2. The Lie That Tells a Truth by John Dufresne
  3. Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich
  4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  5. The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera
  6. Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose
  7. The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
  8. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  9. Story by Robert McKee
  10. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

That's a good start anyway. A few of the books are more useful on a line by line basis—like Klinkenborg's book. Most are most theoretical and will get you thinking about stories, their structure and point of view and what makes the best ones work. 

Good luck.