Reading List

Since Jobie could easily list over a hundred of his favorite novels here, he tried including only those that, in one way or another, have had the most impact on his own development as a writer. By no means is this list complete. In an attempt to add order to chaos, he positioned his most revered titles at the top. The rest of the books, however, fell into place in no discernible pattern.

Ernest Hemingway
    A Farewell to Arms
    The Sun Also Rises
    For Whom the Bell Tolls
    The Old Man and the Sea
    A Moveable Feast
    In Our Time
    The Garden of Eden

Cormac McCarthy
    The Road
    No Country for Old Men
    Blood Meridian
    All the Pretty Horses
    The Crossing
    Cities of the Plain
    Child of God

Richard Russo
    The Risk Pool
    Nobody's Fool
    Straight Man
    Empire Falls
    Bridge of Sighs
    That Old Cape Magic
    Elsewhere: A Memoir

Frederick Exley
    A Fan's Notes
    Pages from a Cold Island
    Last Notes from Home

F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Great Gatsby
    Tender is the Night

Jack Kerouac
    On the Road
    The Dharma Bums
    Big Sur

John Steinbeck
    The Grapes of Wrath
    Of Mice and Men
    East of Eden
    Cannery Row
    Travels with Charley in
       Search of America

    The Winter of Our Discontent

John Irving
    The World According to Garp
    The Hotel New Hampshire
    The Water Method Man
    A Son of the Circus
    Last Night in Twisted River
    My Movie Year
    The Imaginary Girlfriend

Charles Bukowski
    Ham on Rye
    Post Office

William Gay
    Provinces of Night

Jonathan Franzen
    The Corrections

John Fante
    Ask the Dust
    The Brotherhood of the Grape

Vladamir Nabokov

William Kennedy

D. H. Lawrence
    Lady Chatterly's Lover

J. M. Coetzee

Philip Roth
    Portnoy's Complaint

Susanna Clarke
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Graham Greene
    The Quiet American

Kingsley Amis
    Lucky Jim

Milan Kundera
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being

For aspiring writers still learning craft, Hughes recommends the following books:

  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose
  • The First Five Pages… by Noah Lukeman

For writers who've finished a book and are unsure of the next step, check out this guide:

  • How to Write a Great Query Letter by Noah Lukeman
  • Available as a free PDF download at Noah Lukeman's website, found HERE!

Every book here comes highly recommended, but remember, this list is far from comprehensive. Jobie recommends finding authors you admire (especially those who inspire you) and then reading their entire canon of work. If you can, start with their first published novel and go from there, reading each book in the order in which it was written. If you take your time and pay attention, you'll eventually discern the small and subtle ways in which each writer slowly developed (and often improved) his or her craft over the course of a long career (or even a short one).

“At Dawn is the brave, rare sort of novel that finds extraordinary meaning in ordinary lives. The characters are beautifully complex, honorable and compassionate, and yet, like so many of us, deeply flawed and emotionally scarred. The writing is clean and sharp and vivid, and in reading Jobie Hughes I’m reminded of the tremendous power of simple honesty in storytelling. This is a fine book by a fine writer.”

James Brown
Author of The Los Angeles Diaries and This River

“Hughes' debut novel, At Dawn, follows a former All-American wrestler, and is there any better metaphor for contemporary American life? We're all wrestling, tussling with the economy, no jobs, doing the best we can. Hughes doesn't flinch from the tough existential questions. He embraces them.”

Joshua Mohr
Author of Damascus

“Hughes combines coming-of-age tale, portrait of the artist as a young man, and father-son saga in a well-crafted novel...[with] pathos, wit, and insight into the relationships that define our lives.”

Publishers Weekly