Clarion reading list

Clarion reading list

Updated 5 September – as I go through my notes and find more recommendations.

One of the many joys of Clarion was to get recommendations for good reads from wise teachers and co-clarionerds. This is an incomplete list, I forgot to jot down the list on the fridge and I’m sure there are ones mentioned in passing that I neglected. My dear co-clarionitics, if you read this and see absences and would like to recommend… or indeed other wise minds who read this and want to add to my enormous reading list please make some suggestions. It’s delightful to have such a rich and diverse list.

Creative resources

  • Outdoor Emergency Care – very detailed, step by step instructions for dealing with really diverse situations, very handy should you want a protagonist injured in some way.
  • Laboratory Life and Science in Action, Latour
  • Psychology of Science, Maslow
  • Macrocosmos, Lyn Margoulis
  • any popular book by a scientist
  • Science News (Magazine) – subscribed (
  • a history text called “Daily life in…” will give you a great snapshot of a culture and time period at the grass roots level

Writing technique/tools

  • About Writing, and essay “52800 words” Delaney (read)
  • On becoming a Novelist, John Garner (includes how it comes out of your core and highly recommended by Elizabeth Hand) (read)
  • Crafty Screen Writing – Alex Epstein
  • The Chapter Negation of the Negation in Story – I must confess while I own a copy I always struggle to read past Robert Mckee’s self indulgent feminism slapping. It is handy to have a specific bit to of reading homework in this oft cited tome
  • Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, Blake Snyder
  • Writing down the bones
  • Elmore Leonard’s Rules
  • The Full Oxford Dictionary

Literary Criticism for Writers

  • Narrative Discourse, G. Genette – Novel Structure (but read a Proust novel first to get full value)
  • Anatomy of Criticism, N. Fry – Includes the five modalities of criticism
  • The Novel, F. Marettii
  • Shakespeare’s Imagery, C. Spurgeon
  • The Language of the Night (and other essay collections), Le Guin (read many of them, though not recently)
  • Stuff by Delaney (some read)

Short fiction/Anthologies

  • “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse”, Andy Duncan
  • Geektastic
  • Kim Stanley Robinson “The Lunatics”, “Black Air”, “A short sharp shock”
  • Italo Calvino, especially his Italian folk tales (read 6 memos, Cosmicomics and Invisible Cities)
  • “Good Country People”, O’Connor
  • Things that never happen – M. John Harrison
  • Borges
  • Cortazar
  • Guy Devenport
  • Wolfe
  • Delaney (esp Driftglass, Trouble on Titan)
  • Hemingway
  • WC Williams
  • Tom Disch
  • Tiptree (especially “The girl who was plugged in”, “Love is the plan, the plan is death”, “The women men don’t see” and “Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death)
  • “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers,” Lawrence Watt-Evans


  • Light, M John Harrison
  • Engine Summer, John Crowly
  • Space Skimmer, David Gerrold
  • Celestus, Paul Park
  • A Voyage to Arcturus, David Lindsey
  • Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
  • Titan, John Varley
  • Jonathan Living Seagull, Richard Bach (read)
  • Wildcard Anthology, George R Martin
  • Ulysses, Joyce
  • Starmaker, Stapleton
  • 100 years of solitude, Gabrielle Garcia Marquez (I have read this half a dozen times, so I have bought and read Love in a time of cholera for a fresh Marquez)
  • Notes from the underground, Dostoyevsky
  • Hills like white elephants, Hemmingway
  • Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
  • Three Guinees, Virginia Woolf (read – though now working on her diaries, not quite sure how this got on the list, there’s better Virginia Woolf)
  • All that summer she was mad, Hermoine Lee (a good biography of Virginia Woolf)
  • Books by Mollie Gloss
  • Trouble on Triton, Delaney
  • The girl on the swing, Richard Adams
  • The Willows, Algernon Blackwood
  • Lulu in Marakesh
  • Canticle of Leibowitz
  • The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  • Gun with occasional music, Jonathan Lethem
  • The Magicians – Lev Grossman
  • Diaspora – Greg Egan (read)
  • Wedding Album – David Marusak
  • The Stars My Destination, Bester
  • Demolished Man, Bester
  • Light, John Harrison
  • Being Dead, Jim Crace (title might be wrong)
  • Living Will, Alexander Jablokov
  • Read Proust for complex figures of speech
  • Roddy Doyl, Paula Spinster
  • Gilead, Marion Robison
  • The Wonderboys, Chabon
  • Dying Inside, Robert Silverberg
  • Nigger to Narcissus, Joseph Conrad
  • The White Tiger
  • A Suitable Boy
  • books by Patrick O’Brian
  • Joan Aiken
  • Kelly Link


  • William Carlos Williams (the plums, the plums!)

Recommended reading notes I cannot decipher

  • Dina Mestburg

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