September 17, 2014

25 Books That Inspired the World


In conjunction with the November 2014 cover feature of World Literature Today - which will focus on central European literature since the fall of the Berlin Wall - the editors of WLT invited 25 writers to nominate one book that most influenced their own writing or ways of seeing the world - from anywhere in the world - and to add a brief statement explaining their choice. Now, it’s your turn to help choose the best of the best. Read through the longlist, then during the readers’ poll.

Vassilis Alexakis Les mots étrangers
Ambai Kattil oru man
Jon Lee Anderson Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
Edwidge Danticat The Farming of Bones
Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex
Ted Hughes Birthday Letters
Miljenko Jergović Sarajevski Marlboro
Andrey Kurkov Death and the Penguin
Ian McEwan Atonement
Thích Nhat Hanh Being Peace
Grace Paley Collected Stories
Orhan Pamuk Benim adım Kırmızı
Tom Reiss The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things
Carlos Ruiz Zafón La Sombra del Viento
Pavel Sanaev Pokhoronite Menia za Plintusom
José Saramago Ensaio sobre a cegueira
Dieter Schulz Emerson and Thoreau, or, Steps beyond Ourselves
W. G. Sebald Die Ausgewanderten
Ahdaf Soueif The Map of Love
Art Spiegelman Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
Sasa Stanisic Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert
Zoë Wicomb David’s Story
Charles Wright Appalachia
Jim Madison Davis

Prof. Jim Madison Davis is the author of several crime novels and several nonfiction books, including the forthcoming Van Gogh Conspiracy. A President Worldwide of the International Association of Crime Writers, he teaches novel and filmscript writing in the Professional Writing Program of the Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.



  • Charles den Tex (Australië, 1952) studeerde fotografie en film in Londen, doceerde Engels in Parijs,…
  • In 1988 publiceerde Chris Rippen (Haarlem, 1940) zijn eersteling Sporen en maakte als auteur van…
  • Eva Waiblinger, MSc, PhD (Dr. sc. nat.), is a Swiss zoologist and science journalist as…
  • Prof. Jim Madison Davis is the author of several crime novels and several nonfiction books,…
  • José Latour was born in Havana, Cuba, on April 24, 1940. He started reading at…
  • Jutta Motz wurde in Halle an der Saale geboren und ging in Frankfurt am Main…
  • Kriminalromansekundärliteraturexperte mit einer Vorliebe für lange Wörter, die es nur im Deutschen gibt. Hat Österreichs…
  • Sabina Naber arbeitete nach ihrem Studium in Wien u.a. als Regisseurin, Journalistin und Drehbuchautorin. 2002…
  • Sandra Balzo turned to mystery writing after twenty years in corporate public relations, event management…



While there are some excellent books on writing, the web is also filled with terrific sites on the topic. Now Novel has made an extensive list of the very best writing websites, and they’re organised for you by subject and genre.