Writing That Inspires Writing

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  I still have marbled composition books filled with ten-year-old prose and characters named after my cousins.  I can remember my grandmother telling me stories and urging me to create my own.  Even now, I have family and friends who call me often to ask about my latest writing.  Even with such an extended support group and a long history of storytelling, I still find it hard to write sometimes.  I get discouraged, I write bad sentences that turn into bad stories.  Sometimes I even push myself to think of another profession, but I never can.  Because there’s nothing I want to be more than a writer.

On days such as these, I pull out my favorite books.  Books that motivate me to write beautiful prose, books that inspire me to dream bigger, and books that remind me that literature can change the world through the hearts of readers.  This is my go-to list that still elicits goosebumps:

1. William Trevor’s Love and Summer:

He cycled slowly, the air raw on his face.  The signpost to Crilly was lit up by his lamp as he went by.  The road straightened, became a hill to freewheel down, and then the twists and turns began again.  How useless being sorry was, and yet that, most of all, was what he felt, a soreness in him somewhere.  Her grey-blue eyes had been no more than smudges in the dark.

2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles:

The noise could not have been far away and was certainly in the house.  For half an hour I waited with every nerve on the alert, but there came no other sound save the chiming clock and the rustle of the ivy on the wall.

3. James Joyce’s Dubliners:

Every night I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis.  It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism.  But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being.  It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.

5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula:

It is the eve of St George’s Day. Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?

6. Pablo Neruda’s “Poesia:”

And I, infinitesimal being, drunk with the great starry void…

What are your favorites?  What works inspire you to write?