Debut author and avid reader E.C. Frey has always loved books. With the upcoming release of her novel Entangled Moon just around the corner, she shared with She Reads the five books that inspired her to write the coming-of-age thriller.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
By the end of sixth grade, I had traveled through my mother’s unabridged works of Shakespeare and finished with Macbeth. Containing all the high drama of political ambition, power, war, descent into madness, greed, guilt, paranoia and murder in prose both lyrical and brief, I was hooked on the sheer beauty of language and storytelling.
The Tell-Tale Heart a story by Edgar Allan Poe
I read The Tell-Tale Heart at a young age and it gave me heart palpitations despite the minimalist language. All the horror of the confused boundary between life and death mixed with paranoia and mental deterioration was fascinating. Even more stunning to my young mind was the strange motivation of wishing harm upon someone the character seemed to both love and hate.
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
In middle school, we read Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. The concept of a pathogen taking most of the world and leaving a few hapless people alive was terrifying. The pursuit of tools and the abandoning of some also had an effect on me. Again, the power of language and story to convey deeper questions and meanings inspired me to view the world differently.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
While Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee did not speak of my grandmother’s tribe specifically, it did portray the narrative of American Indian history in a manner consistent to that within my family but not in society at large. The book taught me that history is a story and that narratives sometime convey the meanings of a prevailing society and, as a consequence, they are like a crime needing to be disentangled and solved. And there was plenty of drama, action, adventure, intrigue, mixed motivation and sorrow to match the best of fiction.
In my life, I have read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy more times than I can count. It is the ultimate hero’s journey. Archetypes, adventure, intrigue, lessons in power and choice, betrayal and the slippery slope of vice and the difficulty of virtue make for the ultimate story rich in high stakes. But the incredible world he created was fantastically beautiful and the message that even the smallest of people can change the world through individual action directed toward a collective good has influenced my life as well as my writing.