Friday Fun — The Book You Wish You Wrote

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Most writers are avid readers? What is the one book that you wish had your name on the title page?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: There are many books over the years I’ve wished I’d written. I really dove into Peace Like a River and admired that book so much–if I’d written it I’d be very proud. Also, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I just love the creativity of the story that JK Rowling came up with when she wrote those seven books. I admit I’m a big fan of “tying up loose ends” so I love how so many pieces of the story came together in the last book. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed Me Before You, which I would have loved to have written, and also The Rosie Project. I used to read huge epics (like The Lord of the Rings books) but in more recent years I’ve been into books that have a more narrow focus. Someday, after a long career as a writer, I’d love to have written a book that writers re-read as often as I have re-read Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas: I have no desire to co-opt anyone else’s work and so the honest answer to this question is that I’d like to have my name on the book of mine that is published.

Having said this, though, there will always be a few books that stand out in my mind of which I would have loved to have been a part of.

Here we go again, I can already hear you guys sigh, “The Princess Bride” – hands down is the book I would have loved to have worked on. It’s not so much the story (although, let’s face it, it’s brilliant) but it’s the tone, humor, and intelligence in that book that I so respect. That is the first book that made me stop and say, “Wait a minute, you’re allowed to do this in a book?”

I would have loved to have been a part of a cookbook (I love to cook but don’t have the depth to really be a foodie.) I would have loved to have worked on *anything* with Anthony Bourdain, his wit is so sharp, it cuts my breath.

Books where people are taught life information like “The Cure Unknown” – about Lyme disease and books that are singularly stunning like the “Scarlet Letter.”

In short, I would have loved to be a part of anything that moved others.

 headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: This is a tough question and one that I see flying around Twitter and Facebook on a weekly basis. I lean towards an answer similar to Wendy’s. Though there are so many books I admire, I can’t quite imagine any of them being mine. An author’s work is a manifestation of her essence. I could no more put my name on someone else’s story than I could lay claim to someone else’s soul.

That said, there are so many writers and stories that I admire and aspire to emulate. I love Neil Gaiman for his darkly beautiful tales and mastery of a well-turned phrase. I adore Vonnegut for his ability to present the human condition with both sharp wit and deep empathy. I love Tolkien and Rowling and Pullman for their boundless imaginations and skill in world crafting. I rever E.B. White for his clear, concise prose and for the way he makes the mundane illuminate universal truths.

I could go on and on. There is truly no end to the list of writers who have inspired admiration and envy in my creative heart. But, the only book I wish to bear my name is the one I have not yet written, but will … someday soon.

Susan Nye: I need to delve into the classics to answer this one. I think it would have to be My Antonia by Willa Cather. There is a wonderful rhythm and flow to the book. And who won’t want to write something with that kind of staying power? Written in 1918, it is still read and well-loved today. Note, I said, I think it would have to be. Depending on the day, I might change my mind and wish I’d written any or all of John Cheever’s short stories.

12 thoughts on “Friday Fun — The Book You Wish You Wrote

  1. I am currently enjoying “The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume Three, 1939-1944”; her writing is breathtaking as she captures each exquisite detail of life. (Having grown up in a family where creative pursuits were not considered “real work”, I am happy to be learning differently!)

  2. There are some writers who I admire and a considerable number of books I’m in awe of. Having said that, I’ve realised for a long time that the only book I deserve to be credited with is one where I’ve actually done the work. Let’s twist the question round. Which books am I most in awe of?
    It’s hard to not be impressed by the blending of economic, spiritual and political themes in Herbert’s Dune; Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land for seeing the boundaries and breaking them; and Dick’s Galactic Pot Healer in which religio-spiritual themes are examined through the prism of a bleak future. Here, Dick’s black humour is on top form.
    To go back in time I’m rather taken by, Plato’s The Republic (if only for the Cave, and the Sun) and by Aristotle’s Poetics, which continues to have relevance to writing.

  3. Reblogged this on My Author Within and commented:
    I came across this blog post on Live to Write and Write to Live, and it got me thinking. It’s a very interesting topic, and I am having a difficult time deciding. I think my answer has to be Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I just cannot believe the abundance of imagination that woman had to create a completely new world, with a new language (more or less) and tie everything together so perfectly well at the end. What is your response?

  4. Hello, I don’t even know if I should comment here next to actual writers. I am just starting out on my journey to authordom. To answer the question, I would have to say I would have loved to be the one who came up with Harry Potter books. What I loved about it was obviously the imagination and creativity it took to write the books, but more importantly, people could read, understand and relate to the books regardless of their age.

    Incidentally, I Reblogged this on my site at

    Thanks for a very engaging post.

  5. Oh my. For me, it’s “The Secret History,” by Donna Tartt. It’s one of the few books I’ve reread at least a dozen times. I pick it up sometimes, at random, just to enjoy passages throughout the book.

  6. One of my favourite books is George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. I would love to have written it but by adding a social media slant to it. Big Brother and the Party would have had more impact in social media than just the newspaper articles that Smith wrote in the original version.

  7. I’ve never been an “avid” reader compared to many people I know. I’ve probably spent as much time writing as I have reading over the years. I think the most compelling book I’ve read is “Blood’s a Rover” by James Ellroy, but I have a love/hate relationship with this book, and truth be told, I haven’t even finished it yet. I read it for a while, then put it down, then pick it up again, then put it down. But I can’t get away from it. Would I really want to be the writer of this? No, it’s not me, but I’d like to be the writer of a book as compelling as this. I yearn to stir readers with my work in the way that Ellroy did with this book.

  8. That was a fun read. Anything written by Rumer Godden–a now-deceased English author who was raised in India. Hard to locate her books anymore but I have read most of them. And Madeline L’Engle’s adult novels, such as The Severed Wasp. But my actual list would take up too much room here. Ahhh, writers and our books…

  9. Pingback: The book I might have written, and the book I’m actually writing – franceskraft

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