Today’s guest post is written by Molli Megasko.

A few weeks ago, Gini Dietrich wrote how reading fiction can stimulate your brain to think more creatively and help you in your career. The idea really stuck with me.

I’m in a couple book clubs and always push for fiction when it comes time to vote. It always improves my writing, storytelling, and inspires everyday creativity.

The following is a list of the top 10 fiction books I’ve read and how they can, and will, play a part in my professional life.

  1. Still AliceWritten from the voice of a women who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, author Lisa Genova takes us on a journey. The writing conveys the confusion and anxiety the protagonist feels so well, it makes me want to be a better storyteller.
  2. The Hunger GamesNeed I say more?  These easy reads are the definition of page turners. The trilogies, like the new Chemical Garden rage, provide lots of creativity.  Just the thought of someone creating these other worlds inspires the reader to push the boundaries.
  3. The Handmaid’s TaleThis is my sister’s favorite book of all time and I’ve read it twice now. Margaret Atwood mixes old eras with future scenarios giving you pause to ask yourself how you would have reacted in the different situations.
  4. The Paris WifeI’ve always been infatuated by Ernest Hemingway so when I heard about a book based on one of his lovers I just had to read it, and I’m glad I did. It’s interesting how in such a dynamic time of drugs, art, sex, and mixed culture, the imagery of the writing allows for any women to relate to the struggles of finding oneself.
  5. All the Dragon Tattoo books: If you have not read these yet, it’s not too late. I’ve never been into murder mysteries but somehow this story drew me in. I didn’t like the first book as much as I did the following two, but what struck me with the series is how well Stieg Larsson helps you visualize everything going on. It’s not the amount of detail as much as it is seeing things through the different character’s eyes.
  6. Little Bee: I like this book not just for the story line of survival, injustice, and bravery, but the way Chris Cleeve switches between different perspectives. Usually with those types of books I am dying to get back to the point-of-view from one of the characters, but in Little Bee, it’s done so eloquently you don’t even realize you’re jumping around.
  7. UnbrokenThis is by far the best book I have ever read (and yes, I know it’s not fiction). Laura Hillenbrand also wrote Seabiscuit, which I did not like, but this time she tells the fascinating story of a World War II prisoner of war. The character development is such that I have never before felt more close to a character. Not only is the story compelling, but it’s told in a way that is impossible to put down.
  8. Running with Scissors: Even though it’s been ages since I’ve read this, there is something troubling about the boy’s optimistic attitude that keeps coming back to me over the years. The way he turns his life into a learning session reminds me not to be so diluted and to let things go.
  9. Me Talk Pretty One Day. David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors and this has to be his best book. How is it that I can relate to him? I’m a young white woman raised normally in the suburbs of Detroit. I have nothing in common with his life, but I feel like I not only know him while reading his books, but that he is a long-time friend.  (I’m taking French classes and two weeks ago we were learning how to make nouns plural. I kept thinking of Me Talk Pretty One Day when he says he would always order things in bulk to avoid masculine and feminine and I’m totally doing that trick when I go to Paris this summer.)
  10. Are You There Vodka?  It’s me, Chelsea: Chelsea Handler writes in a way that makes you constantly laugh and snicker at the same time. Her stories bring me down to earth and remind me that compared to her, I am not funny and my life is dull.

I will carry these books with me for a long time. The memories of the detail of the stories might fade, but the ideas have longevity.

What are some of your favorite fiction books and how have they affected your professional life?