Creative Writing Reading List

The Writer’s Reference Library

Here are some influential literary works, folktales, and myths that are great to have on hand for inspiration and reference. These are all in the public domain:

You may also want to browse the Project Gutenberg Folklore Bookshelf and the Mythology Bookshelf for more  inspiration from other cultures.

Further recommendations

General Writing Help

  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg
  • Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman
  • Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
  • The Positive Trait Thesaurus by Ackerman & Puglisi
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  • The Art of Brevity by Grant Faulkner

Writing Poetry

  • The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry
  • A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
  • Notes on Prosody by Vladimir Nabokov

Reading for Writers

  • The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf
  • Lectures on Literature by Vladimir Nabokov

Mythology & Legend

  • The Golden Bough by Sir James George Fraser
  • The Myth of the Birth of the Hero by Otto Rank
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  • Creative Mythology by Joseph Campbell
  • Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola-Estés

Inspiration & Creativity

  • The Road to Xanadu by John Livingstone Lowes
  • The White Goddess by Robert Graves
  • The Creative Mind by Margaret Boden

Text Mining

  • Nabokov’s Favourite Word Is Mauve by Ben Blatt
  • The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker

Writers on Writers

Writers’ Diaries & Letters

Theory & Criticism

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