Eowyn Ivey is the author of our March 2012 Book Club Pick, The Snow Child, which was her debut novel. She is currently at work on her second novel, also set in Alaska. Here, she shares her top book picks of all time.
1. Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich, $17.
It’s the book that made me want to be a better writer. I first read it in college, and Erdrich’s ability to use poetry in her language and shape characters was a revelation. It continues to both inspire me and intimidate me.
2. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx, $21.
There are so many aspects to this novel that I love – the humor and tenderness with which she treats her characters, the portrait of a town and its harsh surroundings. It’s one I keep on my desk and open now and then to remind me why I ever wanted to write a novel.
3. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier, $21.
Frazier so captured a landscape and the people who live there. It made me realize that one’s knowledge of a place can become a kind of poetry in itself.
4. The Ice-Shirt, William Vollman, $18.
This is not an easy read, and I’m not sure calling it a novel is entirely correct. But that’s what I love about it – it made me work, and it made me reconsider how we tell stories.
5. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy, $17.
What drew me to this novel is McCarthy’s spare, lyrical writing and the juxtaposition of vulnerable, real characters against a hard landscape and a brutal society.