5 Books Cheryl Strayed Recommends for Sparking Creativity and Inspiring Bravery

May 12 2020
Share 5 Books Cheryl Strayed Recommends for Sparking Creativity and Inspiring Bravery

Brave books come from brave writers, and we need brave books right now.  Cheryl Strayed believes these memoirs, stories, and poems are exemplary of just that. This list is an excerpt from The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer by Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon, an authoritative guide for writers that answers every imaginable question about craft and career. The ultimate comprehensive resource that belongs on every writing desk, this book covers everything you need to know about craft, inspiration, agents, editors, publishing, and the business of building a sustainable writing career. The guide also includes writing prompts, action items, and reading lists, and original essays from writers you love.  

Heavy
by Kiese Laymon

An intensely honest memoir that is so wrenching and real in places that I literally gasped while reading it.

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Citizen
by Claudia Rankine

Innovative in form and deeply intelligent in content, this potent book should be required reading for every citizen.

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Citizen
Claudia Rankine

Told through essay, image, and poetry, Claudia Rankine’s provocative book is a powerful testament to the effects of mounting racial aggressions on the individual and collective in the twenty-first century.

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Because They Wanted To
by Mary Gaitskill

Near-perfect stories about desire, longing, cruelty, and compassion by a master of the form.

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Because They Wanted To
Mary Gaitskill

“I found Mary Gaitskill the way I’ve found a lot of my favorite authors over the past two years: via my roommate’s bookshelf. Gaitskill’s stories are dark, unsettling, and unflinching; they mostly revolve around masochistic female characters trying to get a grip on their sex lives; and trust me, you will rip through them. Because They Wanted To isn’t her best-known book, but I love the title and I particularly love a story titled “The Dentist,” about a woman who becomes completely obsessed with her bland, totally normal dentist, who extracted one of her wisdom teeth. If you’re looking for something entertaining that will suck you in, that you can probably read in a day and a half, but has actual literary value and cultural cred so you don’t feel wasted—this is a good one. And then Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior; Two Girls, Fat and Thin; and Veronica after that.” —Meg Miller

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MENTIONED IN:

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Crazy Brave
by Joy Harjo

A gorgeous book by a powerfully wise writer about resilience, love, loss, forgiveness, and finding your voice.

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Crazy Brave
Joy Harjo

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The Chronology of Water
by Lidia Yuknavitch

Raw, visceral, sad, and beautiful—nobody writes with such wildly blunt truth about the body like Lidia Yuknavitch.

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The Chronology of Water
Lidia Yuknavitch

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CHERYL STRAYED  is the author of the #1  New York Times best-selling memoir  Wild, the  New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, and the novel  Torch.  Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Strayed’s books have been translated into nearly forty lan- guages around the world and have been adapted for both the screen and the stage. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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