The Write Stuff – Blog

Apr 02 2015 The books that writers are reading
Stephen King I Love Books

All good writers love to read. According to one of modern literature’s most successful writers, Stephen King, they HAVE to read to be good at their job.

So I asked a bunch of my fellow copywriters what books they were currently reading (and why). I got a fantastically diverse response and then we lost ourselves in conversation about other great books we’ve all read and how we need to set up our own library.

Here’s what’s currently on everyone’s reading list:

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Jon Ronson

A shocking, gruesome and at times hilarious look at how psychopaths have been (often wrongly) diagnosed in the last 50 years or so – and how you can use some basic rules to spot one.

Bought it at the airport on way back from UK. Best book I’ve read in ages.

Max Kitchen – The Sydney Copywriter

Everybody Writes
Ann Handley

I’m reading it because she is awesome and it’s living up to the hype as a superb guide to creating exceptional content.

I’m also reading Battle Axe by Sara Douglas, which was a gift from Rebekah Lambert! Fantasy is one my favourite genres and it features a main character who shares her name with my daughter, Faraday. So far, I’m loving it and the chance to sink into a story that makes the world melt away!

The final book in my bedside table is A Marketer’s Guide to Slideshare. Nerd out!

Belinda Weaver – Copywrite Matters

Funny Girl
Nick Hornby

‘Cos I love Nick Hornby. My reading tends to the eclectic. I just put down Graham Norton’s autobiography and am dipping my toes in Bob Bly Secrets of a Freelance Writer on and off.

Nicole Leedham – Black Coffee Communication

James and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl

I love Dahl’s irreverent humour, his flights of fancy and his ability to tap into the woes and thrills of small human minds. And because I love the look of rapt attention on my son’s face as I read.

Kate Toon – Kate Toon Copywriter

Return to the Badlands
Liam Houlihan

12 of the most weird arse crime stories in Australian history.

And I’m reading Psychobabble by Stephen Briers which is all about busting the BS myths of the self-help age. Which is good, but not that good if you’ve already read “50 great myths of popular psychology” because it’s pretty much the same myths so far only without the hooked in referencing. A poor man’s substitute.

Rebekah Lambert – Unashamedly Creative

Here on Earth
Tim Flannery

INCREDIBLE! I’m also reading Molly Ringwald’s When It Happens to You (for uni) and Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Gabaldon’s Outlander (AGAIN…comfort reading) and I’ve just started Kerouac’s On the Road. I should really focus on finishing them before I start any more!

Sarah Morton – Sarah Morton Copywriter

This House of Grief
Helen Garner

Because I love her. Very sad story though. And for writing, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. I’ve also just finished John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began because my daughter wants to read it and I thought I’d better check it out first. Awesome YA fiction. Now reading the second in the series.

Bec Christensen – The Wordsmith Copywriting

A Spool of Blue Thread
Anne Tyler

A book with effortless and deceptively simple charm. I’m also reading a HILARIOUS and fascinating potted history called 1000 Years of Annoying the French by Stephen Clark. If you’re muddled by all the kings, this is for you.

Charlotte Calder – Charlotte Calder Copywriter

A War of Flowers
Jane Thynne

It’s a fiction novel set in pre-WWII Berlin and our heroine, Clara Vine is a half English, half German actress running intelligence for the British government. She’s tasked with getting close to Hitler’s girlfriend Eva Braun in a bid to discover what Hitler’s plans are before Europe’s plunged into war. Great characters, beautiful writing and for me, the perfect blend of a mystery/thriller with a bit of history thrown in. Was sad to finish it.

Shauna Maguire – Take My Word For It

The Happiness Trap
Russ Harris

A book about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It changed my life in 2011 (seriously) and I thought it was time for a refresh read! Also reading By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham, because The Hours was one of my favourite books of all time. Hasn’t grabbed me yet, but I’m persisting!

Sally Cameron – Sally Cameron Copywriting

Tested Advertising Methods
John Caples

A smelly old book in which the copy is older than me! There’s a very good reason why it’s considered a classic though…

Ben Miller – Fullbeam Copy

As for me, I’m (slowly) working my way through Edward De Bono’s Letters to Thinkers, which were a series of letters for private subscribers outlining creative ways to approach problems and develop lateral thinking. It’s pretty heavy going, but it caught my eye in a second-hand book store and has been a fascinating, albeit hard-core read.

I also recently finished Billy Idol’s autobiography Dancing With Myself (a birthday present from my husband because I’m a die-hard fan from the Gen X days) and was rather impressed he was able to legitimately use “discombobulated” in a sentence.

So what are you reading at the moment? I’m always looking for new books to add to my repertoire.


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