Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which Book Do You Most Wish You Had Written?

"Daniel in the Lion's Den" - Peter Paul Rubens
Simple question, not so simple answer. Which book do you most wish you had written?

Are you going with the mega fortune? Literary greatness? Maybe a little of both?

I'm going with The Great Gatsby.

What about you?






186 comments:

Joshua said...

"Ender's Game" or "Les Miserables." How's that for spectrum?

Ranae Rose said...

My favorite book - Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. If I'd written that I'd probably just sit back and bask in my awesomeness for...well, ever.

juniperjenny said...

I'm going to go with Richer Than the Queen, Alex, and say "Harry Potter."

Stephanie Barr said...

My next one.

I've never coveted anyone's else's writing. I just try to learn from it.

Juliana said...

HARRY POTTER series!

Besides the money it made, the story is awesome =) Everything is perfect. Characters, plot, setting ... the creativity bar was set pretty high there.

Hannah said...

"The Sea, the Sea" by Iris Murdoch. Greatness.

Charli Armstrong said...

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass"

Darynda Jones said...

The Hunger Games.

Laurel said...

You stole my thunder with THE GREAT GATSBY. On the kidlit front I'd go with HOLES and THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER.

James Scott Bell said...

FAREWELL, MY LOVLEY

Chipper Muse said...

Can I go with a play and choose "Hamlet?"

Lura Slowinski said...

I like Stephanie's answer. I've read books that have made me want to write something equally powerful, but I've never explicitly wished I wrote a specific book or story.

veschwab said...

I think THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, to be honest.

jeffwenker said...

Paul Auster's "New York Stories" - I hate New York and loved this book.

marion said...

Whatever's at the top of the bestseller list right now.

But that's not going to happen, so I just keep on trucking.

Amy said...

The Odyssey. My favorite book ever for so many reasons. Maybe not the most ideal plot, but I loved all the small adventures and fantasy creatures.

John Rea-Hedrick said...

Without hesitation, I'd say "Watership Down".

CourtLoveLeigh said...

I'm like Ranae...

OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. First of all, her characters are vivid. I had their voices in my head for a long while after I put the book down. Then also, Gabaldon really takes her time with the details. The setting, the dialogue, the action - everything is precise. They add to the story in a complex, interwoven way, and I find myself constantly in awe of her ability to tie in mundane or ordinary details of every day life and make them profound.

Also, she puts her characters through hell. I try to be that brave, but it doesn't always work out that way.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm with Stephanie.

And I hated "The Great Gatsby". =P

Laura Marcella said...

"Anne of Green Gables" and "James and the Giant Peach"!

David Kazzie said...

The Stand

writerjmk44 said...

"On Writing Well" by William Zinsser

That book is simply a masterpiece.

Cixxi said...

Definitly The Perfume!

Melissa Morrow said...

To Kill a Mockingbird. It was so brave.

mageraine said...

"American Gods."

/wistfulsigh

Dianna Zaragoza said...

I've already written it. Still editing, but the dream eating at me since I was 10 is down on paper :-)

Starting on the sequel now. A very soul-satisfying experience so far.

marion said...

The Rubens picture looks like an illustration for Query Letter Hell or something.
Except the lions don't look hungry enough.

Clare said...

Catcher in the rye - without competition

Marisa Hopkins said...

Absolutely anything by Melina Marchetta, but if I have to pick on, I'll go with my favorite - Jellicoe Road!

Margot Galaway said...

The Catcher In The Rye. Love everything about it.

LC said...

Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"

Damon Ortt said...

I would say The Grapes of Wrath, but if I wrote that, I would have to just lay down my pen and retire.

E.J. Wesley said...

There are more refined answers, I'm sure, but for me it's hands down Harry Potter. If for the crossover (kid-adult) alone. Truly a modern marvel.

Danielle Meitiv said...

Not surprised to see a couple of Neil Gaiman books on this list. For me it would definitely be "Neverwhere. "

Sierra McConnell said...

What, no one is going to say The Bible? At least the red parts? XD

I'm only teasing Father! Don't smite me! XD

Alan Orloff said...

I'll go with Joshua: Ender's Game. (Maybe we can be co-authors?)

Anonymous said...

The BFG :)

Sean Thomas Fisher said...

"Goosebumps: The Curse of Camp Cold Lake"

Perfection at its finest.

j a zobair said...

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.

Timely question--I've just started blogging and my first post answers why I would pick her book.

Second choice would be anything by Zadie Smith. She is crazy brilliant.

..... said...

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

JP Kurzitza said...

As a father of three boys, The Road, by McCarthy. Only one book made me cry in my life - this is it.

Derek Gentry said...

Today, I'd choose The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. On another day, I might choose something by John Irving or Kurt Vonnegut.

Javid Suleymanli said...

The Alchemist or The Reader

MaryZ said...

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Scribbling Scarlet said...

There are books I love but none I wish I wrote. They motivate and inspire me to produce something equally great and maybe even better.

Anonymous said...

2001: A Space Odyssey. Wish it was written by me, instead Sir Arthur Clarke beat me to it.

The Encyclopedia Brown detective books by Donald J. Sobol. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant books. In fact, the first class stories I'd written were bascially Encyclopedia Brown fanfics.

Bill

Aaron Scott said...

I feel this way every time I read a book by Murakami, especially "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World".

Mark Terry said...

It's a toss-up, actually. "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King or "The Sorceror's Stone" by JK Rowling. Although I'm deeply envious of Rowling, not for the money (okay, for the money, too), but for having written such a deeply rich and satisfying series of 7 books.

Miranda Hardy said...

Some great titles. I'd have to go with "Pride & Prejudice".

Anonymous said...

When I read a Louise Erdrich book, I get so jealous, I want to tear it up and stomp on it, except it's too good and I have to keep reading. - Jean

Christy McCall said...

Pale Fire by Nabokov -yum.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely anything by Margaret Atwood.

Cossette said...

A fascinating question...I'd probably have to say _The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_ because it is timeless, classic, and helped paved the way for all modern fairy stories and children's fantasy. But really...I've never wished I wrote someone else's book--I just find them inspiring

Rick Daley said...

THE ROAD, for the style and the profound emotional impact delivered through the story.

WORD VERIFICATION: ceregism. A cerebral climax, i.e. a purely intellectual orgasm. Sorry, I just call 'em as I see 'em.

D.G. Hudson said...

It's a toss-up: either the original DUNE series by Frank Herbert, or the FOUNDATION epic by I. Asimov. The scope of those two amazes me. (in the genre category)

As for literary - anything by Hemingway, preferably during the Paris or Key West years.

This is the stuff we dream about, that perhaps our writing might resonate like the books we all remember. Can't wait to see all the comments - our favorite books sometimes indicates our preferences in writing too.

Diane T said...

Every time I read "His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman I get jealous. I wish I'd thought of the daemons.

Diane Marie Shaw said...

"Come Away my Beloved" a devotional by Frances Roberts. Whenever I open it it gives me what I need. It helped me through a bout of depression and it is a book I give and recommend to others.
Writing a book that impacts lives for the good, even after death, it doesn't get much better than that.

Jennifer Cary Diers said...

Either "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn or Tamora Pierce's new series (the first book of which was "Terrier")... although, actually, if I'd written those books then I would miss on the delight of reading them.

1000th.monkey said...

"ROOM" by Emma Donoghue

...the voice of Jack is just so amazing... it was like reading my nephew's thoughts it was so realistic/perfect.

Laurie Muench said...

Wuthering Heights. That was the book that got me obsessed with writing as a teenager. I wanted to create my own Heathcliff.

Livia said...

Hunger Games

Mallory Garrett said...

Twilight or Harry Potter. I don't like the Twilight novels but she sure does have a lot of $$$$

Anonymous said...

The Great Gatsby for me, too.


-Salom

there said...

Also Gatsby. Definitely the best-written book I have read.

Anonymous said...

Oh, forgot to mention: I also wish I had thought of The Boys from Brazil.

-Salom

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

Trickster's Queen because the characters are so believable and the complexity of the social and racial clash between the natives and whites is honest and doesn't have a clear cut resolution.
Every time I read it I find something new. That is the best kind of book.

BP said...

Aw, you know, anything earth-shatteringly inspiring and classic by one of the great literary geniuses. Nothing spectacular. ;) I don't necessarily want to have WRITTEN their books, but I wish I could inspire people the same way they did with MY writing! :D Someday!

chestel said...

Cloud Atlas. Six for the price of one.

John K. said...

*To Kill A Mockingbird

*Peace Like a River (Enger)

*Boys Life (McCammon)

John Barnes said...

All the books I imagined I was going to write before I wrote them. The reach of imagination always exceeds the grasp of technique.

Joanna said...

Where The Wild Things Are

Not seeing many picture books in this list!

L. Shanna said...

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close-- that book changed the way I look at the creative process. It's amazing.

Christie Koester said...

Matilda by Roald Dahl (any of his books, really) or The Giving Tree(Shel Silverstein). Those books changed me as a kid!

Sommer Leigh said...

I'm going to have to go with Harry Potter, but not really for the money. (though I'm sure it is nice) I'd go with Harry Potter because of the way the books make me feel. I love The Great Gatsby and I've loved many other books, but few of them make me FEEL the way Harry Potter does. I'd love to have created that. I hope what I do create makes someone else feel the same way Harry Potter has made me feel.

Brett Minor said...

Any of the works of Alexandre Dumas

TheLabRat said...

THe Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Nearly every topic I get into a discussion about has the potential to make me think of that book series. It just covers so many bloody themes it's a little absurd.

abc said...

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The forgotten, the rejected, the human. I love books about the human condition and I think this one is the most beautiful one I have ever read.

Steve DeWinter said...

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. It's why I wrote the book I did.

Tim Christian said...

One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Enusan said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, for a modern work. But for something older and more serious I wish I could express myself the way Souseki does in Kokoro.

Kristy said...

A Million Little Pieces. I am a glutton for punishment.

No, seriously. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb or Sue Miller While I was Gone. But, ask again in five minutes and the answer could be different.

cookie said...

LOTR.

Leigh Ann said...

"The Hunger Games" - Instant answer.

Incredible story and message, riveting writing, and an instant YA classic that is going to the silver screen. What's not to (be jealous of) love?

terryd said...

A certain dark Cormac McCarthy book inspired me to write my first published novel, but I love The Road without envy.

I wish I could write a current-day version of McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Jim Butcher's Codex Alera. One of those instant-connection books, you know? :)

MJR said...

I'm going with the The Great Gatsby, too...

Istvan Szabo, Ifj. said...

Stainless Steel Rat, Hornblower or the Harry Potter series.

Bret Wellman said...

I'm going for big money on this one. Twilight! The author wrote the book in three months and then made 750k in a three book deal.
Three months of hard work and she never had to think about a day job again, she had all the time in the world to wright the other to after that... yea I would wright Twilight.

Steph Sinkhorn said...

It's a close race between A Wrinkle In Time and Bridge of Birds.

magpiewrites said...

The first book that popped into my head was "Northern Lights" by Philip Pullman, the second was "Wise Children" by Angela Carter. I echo Joshua and say, how's that for spectrum?

I can read either of these books over and over again and find new things I am in awe of.

Interestingly, my favorite book isn't a book I wish I'd written...

Rebecca said...

"Lord of the Rings." I'd love to have that much impact, that a book I wrote changed a genre forever.

Marsha Sigman said...

Southern Vampire Series (aka Sookie Stackhouse-True Blood series).

Not just because of the popularity but the dark southern wit and clearly defined world Harris created. Awesome.

Himbokal said...

Hands down, A Confederacy of Dunces. Although I wouldn't make the same career choices he made afterward.

Mira said...

Fun question!

As usual, I have multiple answers:

The Harry Potter books. Not the money at all - I wish I could create an incredible world like that, I wish I could plot like that, I wish I could write like that!

Runner up: The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry. Lovely and wise.

Another runner up: Winnie the Pooh. Delightful and perfect.

Another Runner up: No specific book, but I wish I could write like Terry Pratchett

Non-Fiction: Hard to pick since most of the truly great non-fiction books we've integrated and moved beyond, but I'd love to have the abilities of Darwin, Freud, etc. to conceptualize a new and more accurate way of thinking about things. To add clarity to the human worldview.

Anonymous said...

The Harry Potter series, for the same reasons Mira said. To be able to create such an intricate, complex, sustainable world with such a huge diversity of characters, settings and challenges, wow.

I can't seem to post as me today, having trouble again, but it's Leila.

Domino said...

Like the Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell comment- great novel.

Also would have enjoyed writing Harry Potter.

But I'm gonna go long on this one say, "The Brothers Karamazov," by Dostoevsky.

And to this day I am stunned by the devotees of Ender's Game. I thought it was awful, awful writing. But to each their own.

Thufer said...

There are so many; however, I must go with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
BTW, this is a wonderful 'to read' list.

Rebecca Burke said...

I'll share the list of Top 100 novels I keep bookmarked for my ongoing self-improvement program :).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/oct/12/features.fiction

Gatsby makes it, also Catcher in the Rye. And Catch 22, another book I would love to have authored.

It's biased toward British writers and obviously made up of lots of classics and works that make it onto assigned reading lists. How many of us would really like to have authored Pilgrim's Progress, raise your hand?! Or The Scarlet Letter, for that matter.

I'm very curious to read Outlander now, given all the call-outs here. Once was enough for The Road, however.

Autumn Rose said...

Les Miserables or To Kill A Mockingbird. So many to choose from!

Katherine Hyde said...

Pride & Prejudice. Literary greatness, no lifetime fame or money but lots of posthumous glory. OK, I wouldn't mind some lifetime fame and money, but I'd rather see my work become immortal.

Elizabeth said...

OK, I'm cheating. Because the book I really wish I had written isn't a book, it's a movie: Mean Girls

It's fetch. It's fierce. It's awesome. Regina George is a life ruiner. She ruins lives. What's not to love?

Ann Best said...

Don't even have to think about it. Always: To Kill A Mockingbird. (second: Lord of the Flies)
Ann Best, Memoir Author

S.J.Kincaid said...

Catch-22.

Er, then again, maybe I would have had to be a World War II veteran to have penned that.

'Legacy' by Susan Kay, then.

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Harry Potter. Not because of the fame and fortune but because I adore that world and I would love to have her imagination. I would also like Tamora Pierce's name creating ability and imagination.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I wish I could write like Fitzgerald, and I'm sure I could contribute many more classics to the list, but really, it's SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson. Coincidentally, I first heard about this book on your blog. I think this book is incredible: the scope is sweeping and epic, the prose is beautiful, and the characters are deep. It's Wilson's masterpiece.

~Renate said...

I'd love to have written Pride and Prejudice.

But I'd also gladly settle for one of the Brontë's novels.

Or something more modern perhaps like Breakfast at Tiffany's by Capote or A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

Ella Schwartz said...

Without a doubt, Harry Potter. We all talk about the billion dollar empire that JK Rowling singlehandedly created, and yet all of that doesn’t speak to the real magic that is J.K. Rowling. With one boy wizard, Rowling transformed reading for children around the world. Reading became fun again. And not only were children reading, adults were reading too. Harry Potter became an experience the whole family could share together. So forget about the Potter movies, the theme park, and the gluttony of merchandizing. The true magic is that Rowling found the formula to make reading awesome again.

No other writer in modern times has been as transformative as JK Rowling, and for that, I salute her.

Angie Lockett said...

I'm torn. It would either be - And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It is one of my all time favorite books and she did such a brilliant job of building the suspense throughout the novel and the ending was sheer genius. Or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - simply because it is the beginning of something so incredible. A magical world, a fantastic and such well written characters.

E. VERNA said...

"OP CENTER" by Tom Clancy and OLD MAN & THE SEA" by Ernest Hemingway. Two of the most interesting books I wished have written IF ONLY because the two famous authors seemed to be just like me when it comes to story-telling. LOL just kidding.

Jordan McCollum said...

Aw, man! Nathan took mine.

Anonymous said...

Madame Bovary or Gone with the Wind. Ooh! Or The Help.

Kate said...

Tough one. Probably Pizzolatto's Galveston, or McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, or maybe Great Expectations.

Jo-Ann said...

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel - brilliant writing.

Beth S said...

"Ten Little Indians". It is just a great mystery.

Karen S. Elliott said...

"Carrie" by Stephen King. It's the one his wife Tabitha fished out of the garbage.

ElizaJane said...

Rebecca West's "The Return of the Soldier". Small and controlled and perfect.
Gert Hofmann's "The Parable of the Blind." What an amazing way of giving voice to the voiceless by making great painting come alive.

(Speaking of which, I also wish I'd painted the Rubens "Daniel in the Lions' Den" that heads this thread!)

Of recent books in my own genre, YA, I really admire Sonya Hartnett's "Thursday's Child." I wish I could write like that.

Tim Warnes said...

Right now in my career, 'Olivia', the picture book by Ian Falconer. It oozes sophistication and draughtsmanship, is great to read aloud to the kids, works on different levels and is downright HILARIOUS not to mention beautiful to look at. I'm writing a comic strip - http://chalkandcheesecomics.blogspot.com/ - check it out!

brianw said...

I would have written Beach Music by Pat Conroy. Sometimes I read just a sentence by Mr. Conroy and I realize I will never be able to write anything quite so beautiful or haunting.

On the other hand, the books I write don't drive me into such a deep depression that I can't write another for 5 years, so maybe he wishes he could write something a little lighter.

I read Pat Conroy when I want to be depressed about my own writing skills, but in a good way. If that makes any sense:)

Guilie said...

Uh, my bar isn't that high, actually. Anything by Isabel Allende, especially the first one, The House of The Spirits. I'm a storyteller, no great literary aspirations for me except as far as crafting a unique tale that speaks to people and makes them FEEL (good, bad, happy, sad, whatever).

Judith Mercado said...

Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea

Donna said...

The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner.

mbdcares said...

Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. Judy Blume. Any of those books. She gives lessons without preaching and I clung to every lesson she could teach me since I was lacking so from home.

Dave said...

Perhaps "Nine Stories."

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Different topic: I've always loved this painting and have a postcard copy on my fridge. The emotion is so powerful.

Lauren said...

Harry Potter, without a doubt.

Jenise Frohlinger said...

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Of Mice and Men

Laurie Boris said...

Amsterdam. The World According to Garp. A Visit from the Goon Squad. Oh, I could go on all day!

Ray Anderson said...

Either "Look Homeward, Angel" or "Crime and Punishment."

Alexia said...

Anything by Cormac McCarthy.

Or LOTR.

Kirsty Jenkins said...

Hi Nathan, I have been following your blog for a while and love it. Time to stop being a lurker and post something! I could think of many, but am going with The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It is beautifully written, has four strong, unique voices, and carries a powerful message.

Cathi Stoler said...

Time & Again by Jack Finney.
I love it because it uses imagination instead of devices to go back in timeand it's a mystery and a love story,too!

Dave said...

Henry Miller's TROPIC OF CANCER. To say (this won't be word for word as I'm going from memory), "I am no longer an artist, I don't think about it. I just am. This is not a novel. This is libel, slander, a kick in the pants to God." Yep. And then in his later years to support a young writer in Erica Jong and then to coorespond with her via snailmail. Priceless.

Laura said...

Like Joshua and Alan:
Ender's Game (Card)

(It's okay, Domino. To each his own.:D)

or Swan Song (McCammon)

chriskellywriter said...

Shirley Hazzard's The Transit of Venus. A perfect novel.

Anything by David Sedaris for LOFL.

For kids: Holly Black's Tithe.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at all the comments.

I have truly never even considered this until right now.

I've never wished I'd written anything other than my own books. I've never wanted to be anyone else either. Interesting.

Kitty said...

The Hunger Games Trilogy because a book hasn't made me cry like that since I read Bridge to Terebithia in sixth grade. Also Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy because the worldbuilding is so inventive and amazing.

Adam Heine said...

Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN.

For me, it's not so much about how the book was received as what the book's about. LEVIATHAN is precisely the kind of book I would've written, if only I'd thought of it first. Now I have to figure out how to clone without looking like I'm cloning it ;-)

Mira said...

Anon 6:09

That's cool that you feel confident with your own self-expression.

But from my perspective regarding this topic - we admire other people and their accomplishments, and we learn from them what is possible. We can then use those possiblities as a guide for ourselves, so we aspire to simliar accomplishments. For me, that's what this post is really about - our dreams and aspirations, as well as applauding other people's great works.

C.Smith said...

The book I most wish I'd written would be the one I have yet to write. I'm going for both mega fortune and literary greatness.
I just need to find That Book in me. :)

Rick Fry said...

I'll go with a short story and say A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor.

Underneath the violence, I can feel the gospel everytime I read it.

Backfence said...

I'm seeing a lot of my favorites in these responses, but I share BrianW's awe of Pat Conroy and, yes, Beach Music.

But then there's Mockingbird: Who wouldn't want to be the creator of Atticus Finch!

m said...

The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold, or the Harry Potter series.

Heather Marie said...

Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" or Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time"

Anthony J Langford said...

Anthony J. Langford's 'RIP Rest in Prime'. Oh hang on, I wrote it already.


;)

Miriam said...

So many books! I don't know. Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines is a brilliant idea, one I wish I'd had. But there are so many other books. I finish them and just sit there for a while, thinking, "I wish I'd written that. That's such a good idea!"

Nancy Kelley said...

Given that the subtitle of my current WIP is "A Mr. Darcy Novel," I think my answer is obvious.

However, I agree with Rebecca regarding Tolkien--to know my book reshaped an entire genre would be pretty heady.

Jennifer Cary Diers had a good point as well. If I wrote my favorite book, I wouldn't have the enjoyment of reading and rereading it.

zsuzsy said...

The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Gabryyl said...

Rebecca, Dracula or any of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

J.C. Martin said...

Because I'm the sort of borderline sociopath who love to get into the mind of criminals, I'll have to say Thomas Harris' SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. I wish I'd created a villain that deliciously evil, intelligent, charming and likeable! :)

Tamara Eaton said...

Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible

Outlander

and my WIP.

Tres Buffalo said...

I would have to go with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness or Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

Jen C said...

I'm stuck because if I'd written any of the books I adore, I probably wouldn't adore them as much. So I'll just go with something that made a lot of money. Maybe the Bible.

Lynnea said...

Books that have made the most impact on me would include Mrs. Dalloway, Sharp Teeth, LOTR, Three Bags Full, Mudbound, Coraline. I could go on and on. If I had to pick just one I think my head would explode. For today, I'd probably say Mrs. Dalloway. The language in it is like watching a fast moving train while listening to the most beautiful orchestral music.

John Waverly said...

I must be one of the few people who escaped both high school and college without reading The Great Gatsby.

I've decided I'm going to take the plunge and read it. Thanks Nathan. (And thanks to John Green too, who also recommended it recently.)

J. R. McLemore said...

Yes, Nathan, a very tough question to answer.

For me, there are three. Any of these would be great to have written:

Richard Bachman's THE LONG WALK,
Dennis Lehane's MYSTIC RIVER, or
Margaret Atwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE.

Heck, it was hard to whittle my list down to those three! JAWS was in there, along with THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN. :(

Matthew MacNish said...

This may sound like a cop-out, but I'm glad I've written (am writing) my own book. All the books I love so much are wonderful because they are the way they are. I've I'd written them they'd be different.

Not necessarily bad, just different.

Tura Lura said...

Okay, it's not a book I wish I'd written. It's a series. Rachel Vincent's young adult Soul Screamers series. I am so in love with that series. ^_^

Anonymous said...

"For me, that's what this post is really about - our dreams and aspirations, as well as applauding other people's great works."

I "get" it. I just never did it.

Anon 6:09

Lisa said...

Three books:
Catcher In The Rye
The Great Gatsby (Old Sport)
The ShacK

Kevin Lynn Helmick said...

That IS a toughie, I don't think I've ever really said to myself, 'I wish I'd written that.'
But off the top, I'd say, The old Man and The Sea. I get something new from that book every time I read it. So much about human nature, having, losing, winning and having it taken away again to discover it not the destination but the journey, so much is said in such a small space. It's an epic saga in a hundred or so pages. It's what a book should be and does what a book should do, for me anyway.
2nd choice, Probably The Outsiders. The first book I ever identified with in a way that made me want to write.

Lori Howell said...

"To Kill a Mockingbird" or "Huckleberry Finn". Great talent.

Dorothy L. Abrams said...

Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley for contemporary lit. The Scarlet Letter from the established literary canon.

Mari Passananti said...

The Handmaid's Tale

An Observer Of Souls said...

Loved, loved Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna. The breadth and history and fitting all the pieces together. It has inspired me to research my own historical novel.

Also wish I had written The Secret Life of Bee's. In fact, I am a little disappointed in myself that I didn't!

Skip Milo said...

Either 'Johnathan Livingstone Seagull' or 'A Christmas Carol'...but on further personal questioning, it would have to beeeeeee............... 'A Christmas Carol'; finest story ever written.

Daniel McNeet said...

"To Kill a Mockingbird" or Gentleman's Agreement"

Jen P said...

I should have asked you this before - but why the Great Gatsby? Based on your enthusiasm, I bought and read this, this year - up to page 55, "There's another man in the car," and maybe I have to hang my head in shame, but I am lost and not hooked in the least. I can't get to grips with the characters and the plot so far isn't grabbing me. I've read lots of historical lit, so it's not the time period, I think it's the pace - or that I can only read it in short snatches. What am I missing? Maybe I should restart it when I can do more than a couple of pages at a time.

Wish I had written? Conversations in Sicily by E. Vittorini.

Kyla said...

Lord of the Rings, Wild Magic, Trickster's Choice, The Blue Sword, or The BFG.

But, if I had to choose a favorite, I'd say...Wild Magic. It's just my sort of book! I WOULD have written it, if Tamora Pierce hadn't gotten there first!

Great question! Have a great day.

Tom Bentley said...

Gatsby's definitely in there. On different days, Huck Finn, Lolita, Crime and Punishment, All the Pretty Horses, Plainsong, Gilead, Oryx and Crake, Breakfast of Champions.

Cheating, I know, to list different days, but those are some good days (and good books)...

- -Alex McGrath said...

gotta go with the one that started it all for me: "The Catcher in the Rye." I find magic in those pages.

Elanor Lawrence said...

Lord of the Rings. I would die to be able to write like Tolkien.

Nicole said...

The Forbidden Game trilogy. Originally by L.J. Smith. Did it earn her oodles of money? No. Did it gain her international acclaim? No. But I think it's a damn fine bit of writing, and highly enjoyable. If I'd written it, I would have advertised the heck out of it - which is exactly what I do for her now as a bookseller. I've lost count of how many books I've handsold.


If I chose anything else, I think I'd go with Harry Potter. Riches and it's a hell of a lot of fun. xD

John K. said...

I listed three books earlier but now that I think about it, there is one book that would probably supercede all of them.

The Giving Tree.

Mr. Thompson said...

Last three books Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. It would've been my dream to be able to finish that series. Brandon Sanderson's doing a great job, though.

Fi said...

Great question. Love Great Gatsby but it would be Imajica or Weaveworld by Clive Barker, or The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

nilaewhite said...

The Bible.

KristiLynn said...

"Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. Perhaps my American bias is showing, but that's something that almost literally moved the world. I want to write something that has that sort of an impact; to start a revolution, or at least an underground rebellion.

Barring that (which is, admittedly, a pamphlet, not a book), I'd choose "The Outsiders", "Ender's Game", or "Fight Club". These books all formed who I am, and all started a sort of revolt in my soul against the world. I absolutely love that a writer was able to affect people like that, and that's what I strive for. To push at the world, and for the world to push back in some way.

Tammy said...

I wish I had written, LAMB, by Christopher Moore. I laugh every time I read it. I also buy a copy every chance I get and give it to someone.

Megan Stirler said...

"Good Omens" by Gaiman/Pratchett. And "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. And the Dresden FIles by Jim Butcher.

janesadek said...

Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. I always hated that all the Camelot tales blamed it all on the women. I can't say that The Mists of Avalon is exactly the book I would have written, but it served the purpose I hoped to serve.

Ruth Bee said...

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Mitch Tacy said...

I really wish I had written A Series of Unfortunate Events. I know that's 13 books (not including the extensions to Snicket's backstory), but you can't have one of the books without all of them, and I would've loved to be their author.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually going to go with a Romance book. And even though they're packed with 'extra scenes', when I find an author that's AWESOME and can entertain me regardless of 'heat'...I love it! There's a lot of really good romance writers out there. And if they only sold 'adult fiction' or just 'fiction', I'd still buy them. Because it's the teller of the story & their characters that sell me. Not the stuff between the sheets...

"Knight of Desire" by Margaret Mallory [great historical researching, fun-filled bantering & wonderful characters to fall in love with]

Anonymous said...

"To Kill a Mockingbird"

I still pick it up and read it when I need a bit of inspiration. It's so easy to sink into, and it carries you into another time and place and emotional space.

To just be able to pull all the best of my thoughts together so well is what I strive for everyday I sit down to write.

Leah Katz said...

"House of Leaves" or "The Last Unicorn." Both are perfect.

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