book reviews / writers resources / writing

30 Essential Books for Every Writer

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Great Books for Writers

Every writer I know has a bookshelf full of books they’ve purchased to help inspire the writing process. In my case, I

have so many, I’ve pretty much lost track of them.

Except for those that I can’t write without. In my office, I have my computer table, an oak rolltop desk close enough my left elbow bumps it when I really get going on the keyboard and behind me, about two feet away, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf of reference books. Those books are constantly ibn motion. I pull them out by piles, stack them on my desk and riffle through them to augment partikcular parts of my stories. Sometimes, I’m looking for facts on nature, animals, buildings. Other times, I’m working through some prickly syntax. Either way, there are those books I can’t write without.

Here’s my list. Read through it. Tell me what your list looks like:

The links are to book reviews I’ve done. It’ll be a while before I complete the entire list.

I’d love to hear your list.

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and four ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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8 thoughts on “30 Essential Books for Every Writer

  1. Thanks for the comprehensive list. Mine is much shorter: Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (several editions), Virginia Tufte’s The Artful Sentence, and Ken Macrorie’s Telling Writing. I’ve read the advice of several professionals, including that of John D. Macdonald, Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King. If you haven’t read Tufte or the Macrorie (from 1979), I recommend them.


    • Those are good. I like your choice of writers–love Macdonald.

      BTW, it’s nice to meet you. I always wondered who the saints were who read through AP English tests. You must have some stories.


      • I’m not sure “saint” describes me as an AP reader. I ignored the chance to read, thinking it must be like being hit on the head with a 2×4 over and over. One day, I realized that I must read for my students. I needed to know more about preparing them, and I needed to give back to all those readers who went before me. Reading became 7 days of professional development for which I was grateful each year.


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