Here’s a list of books I think you’ll love. What you’ll find here –– in alphabetical order, not quality order –– are the books that inspired me to want to be a creative. I hope they give you as much joy and inspiration as they’ve given me.
I’ve purposefully omitted the classics, like Dracula or Sherlock Holmes in favor of lesser known titles that I think fewer people may have read.
Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka –– One part romance, one part samurai action, one part cowboy. If you’re a fan of my Jadepunk setting, you’ll likely enjoy this book.
Legend of the Five Rings: Clan War, First Scroll (The Scorpion) by Wizards of the Coast –– The first of a series that covers the major clans of the L5R setting. I read these when they were still on bookshelves. Very close to Ranger’s Apprentice (below) in my list of all-time favorites.
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa –– While Musashi is a historical character, this book is a fictional telling of his life. I read it early in my martial arts career and reread it often.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis –– A dark tale of an elder demon instructing on the ways to tempt humans toward sin. I didn’t think I would enjoy this one as much as I did.
Path of Destruction (Star Wars: Darth Bane, Book One) by Del Rey –– The first of an excellent trilogy of Star Wars books. I’m a notorious lover of the prequels, so take this opinion with a grain of salt, but I love this trilogy.
The Ranger’s Apprentice Series (12 Book Set) by John Flanagan –– This is probably my all-time favorite series of books. If you don’t want to jump in for the entire set, you can get started with the first one: The Ruins of Gorlan.
Wolverine: Weapon X by Marvel Comics –– This is a prose novel that was written before X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s a great narrative telling that sticks close to the story found in the comics.
Extreme Ownership: How Navy Seals Lead and Win by Leif Babin and Jacko Willink –– A book that will not only make you more responsible and productive but will have you feeling guilty if you wake up past 4 am.
Living the Martial Way: A Manual for the Way a Modern Warrior Should Think by Forrest E. Morgan –– Pretty much my manual for personal conduct during my early college years. It’s not so “modern” anymore, but I feel it still has a lot to teach.
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell –– The single most influential book about writing for me. Many of the techniques I employ have been refined elsewhere but were originally learned here.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson –– The title kept me from buying this for some time, but I learned a lot from it about not worrying too much about things that, when I’m honest, I really don’t care about.
Comic Books / Graphic Novels
Batman: Hush by DC Comics –– Possibly the most iconic Batman story ever told. It includes every major villain of the Dark Crusader’s and plot ties directly to the deaths of his parents. One of my all-time favorite comics.
Fathom: Volume One and Fathom: Dawn of War both by Aspen Comics –– It’s difficult to put one of these above the other. Fathom started an incredible undersea universe that Aquaman only wishes he was a part of, and Dawn of War gave the setting samurai!
X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic (Book One) by Marvel Comics –– The Onslaught story is one of my all-time favorites, and concludes with a real tear-jerker in Marvel: Onslaught. Just don’t go in for the test run of the Ultimate Universe that followed Onslaught (Heroe’s Reborn); they were just terrible stories.
I cut my teeth on comics, so I could go on about great stories all day long; so I’ll just leave it at what’s list here. If you have any questions or want other recommendations, drop me a line and I’ll try to come up with some.
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