S.G. Browne

10 Books That Matter To Me

Recently I was tagged on Facebook by a friend with the following:

“List 10 books that have stayed with you. Don’t think too hard about it – they just have to be books that touched you.”

She then went on to share her list of 10 books and tagged a handful of friends to see what their lists looked like. While I didn’t tag anyone, I did feel compelled to share the 10 books that came to mind without having to give them too much thought. But then I realized I wanted to share a brief explanation as to WHY the books mattered to me or how they touched me. So here we go:


Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
This is the novel that inspired me to write Breathers and sent me down the path of social satire and dark comedy. While several of Pahlaniuk’s early novels could also have made the list, this one stands out for it’s influence on the direction my writing took.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
My favorite of Vonnegut’s novels, it has it all: science fiction, satire, a dwarf, an original Calypso religion, granfallons, pissants, and the end of the world. What’s not to like?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Lyrical in its prose and poignant in its message about the power of words, this is the one book I recommend and gift to everyone. A Young Adult novel that should be classified as Literary Fiction.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
I’m a sucker for novels that make social commentary on capitalism and Patrick Bateman’s stream-of-consciousness narration just sucked me in. Along with Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut, American Psycho was one of the inspirations for Big Egos.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
My stranded-on-a-desert-island book (which I coincidentally read as a sophomore in high school while living on an island) and the first book to really stick with me. I’ve got the conch!

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
While a number of books by King and Straub are among my favorite reads, this was the first time I ever got so caught up in the story unfolding within the pages that the world outside of the book ceased to exist. And I thought: I want to make people feel this way.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Great opening. Great voice. Great character. Chandler has a way with words that are all his own. This novel set the bar for hard-boiled crime novels and was influential in the writing of my third novel, Lucky Bastard.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
While every book on this list is unique in its own way, I’ve never read another novel that comes close to this one. Dunn’s story of a self-made carnival sideshow freak family is one-of-a-kind awesome.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
by Christopher Moore
My favorite of Moore’s novels, all of which are an inspiration to my own writing. Smart, funny, and addictive. If you haven’t read anything by Moore, you should start now. Preferably with this one. You’ll thank me later.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This one surprised me a bit when it popped into my head, but only for a moment. One of my favorite stories of my childhood and of all time. I can still recite Max’s adventures word-for-word.


That’s it. That’s my list. If you have your own favorite books that matter to you, feel free to share them in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading.


Y is for You, Z is for Zombie

We’ve reached the end of the alphabet, which culminates with a single title for each of the letters Y and Z. And with the dearth of titles I’ve read for both of them, I decided to combine the two letters here.

And by dearth, I mean I haven’t read, or can’t recall having read, any other books that begin with the letters Y or Z. Is there something I should have read? Something I should read? Like I need to add more books to my TBR pile, which is already almost an entire shelf on one of my bookcases.

But before I get to the final two titles of my Favorite Reads From A to Z, I just wanted to thank everyone who’s given this a glance and stopped by to thrown down the occasional comment. I hope you enjoyed the posts and found some titles that you’d never considered picking up before. Happy reading!

And now, to wrap this up…

You Suck: A Love Story, Christopher Moore
The sequel (after twelve years) to Bloodsucking Fiends, this one picks up with Tommy, the frozen-turkey-bowling night shift employee at Safeway, discovering that he’s just been turned into a vampire by his girlfriend, Jody, who recently became a vampire herself. Things get complicated when Tommy’s turkey-bowling buddies find out he’s a vampire. Throw in a a homeless Emperor, a blue-dyed Vegas call girl, and a vampire cat named Chet, and what you get is classic Christopher Moore. The diary entries from Abby Normal, Tommy and Jody’s goth minion, steal the show.

The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
Arguably the book that laid the groundwork for the zombie madness that has engulfed film and fiction. This always practical, often enlightening, and frequently amusing manual about how to survive a zombie attack is filled with helpful advice such as: Use your head, cut off theirs; and Blades don’t need reloading. With weapon and combat techniques and case histories of recorded zombie outbreaks, this book has it all. A must read for anyone who wants to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 5:58 am

D is for Dirty and Dead

D is also for Delayed, as in this blog post. While I’ll do my best to get out a couple of these each week, occasionally I have something else I want to blog about. Or, more likely, since I’m spending 4-6 hours a day at my computer writing while trying to finish my next book, sometimes I need to unplug.

Plus, I have some books on my shelf I’ve been meaning to read and I’m hoping that somehow I’ll manage to read them before the appropriate letter so I’ll know whether or not to include them. One of those books actually makes this list as this week’s Bonus Entry.

On to the selections for the letter D:

First across the finish line:
A Dirty Job, Christopher Moore
This was my introduction to Moore and it immediately got me hooked. A clever premise, a likable Beta male protagonist, the Emperor of San Francisco, hell hounds, the Grim Reaper, a character named Minty Fresh, and humorous, engaging prose make this a fun read. If you haven’t discovered the world of Christopher Moore, then let this be your first foray into it.

Close but no cigar:
The Dead Zone, Stephen King
If you’ve read my bio or posts about my influences, then you know that Stephen King is the reason I wanted to become a writer. One of his earliest works, and among those I still consider his best, The Dead Zone tells the story of Johnny Smith who comes out of a five-year coma after a car accident and discovers that his head injury has caused him to develop psychic abilities. Good characters. Great storytelling. Vintage King.

At least you’re on the podium:
The Deportees and Other Stories, Roddy Doyle
While this isn’t technically a novel, I’m including it here because it was one of the most enjoyable short story collections I’ve read in years. Written by the author who penned The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van (all of which were adapted into films), Deportees is a humorous and poignant collection of stories about modern day Ireland.

*Novel you think I would have read:
Dracula, Bram Stoker
This has been sitting on my shelf for I think a good ten years now. Never read it so couldn’t include it on the list. Someday, I’m sure to get around to giving it a look-see.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:23 pm