Books that changed me: Gabrielle Williams

Books that changed me: Gabrielle Williams

Sean & David’s Long Drive – Sean Condon

Sean’s a good friend of ours, and I was working with him at the time that Lonely Planet gave him an advance to write his first book. It made me realise that real people write books (I’m not sure exactly who I thought wrote them before this point: author-fairies, I suppose). Seeing Sean’s hilarious sense of humour laid out on the page was very inspiring to me.

Beatle Meets Destiny – Gabrielle Williams

Is it too self-promotion-y to mention my own book? Probably. Anyway, it was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s awards and the Victorian Premier’s awards, and even though I didn’t win (damn you, Bill Condon and Kirsty Eagar, respectively), it made me think I might be able to make a bit of a career out of writing. Maybe.

Bel Canto – Ann Patchett

One of the loveliest books I’ve ever read. Stunning. Exactly like the music it’s named after, it starts softly and slowly, and builds to a devastating but beautiful crescendo. I wish I was Ann Patchett, except with my husband, my children and my friends.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Kate Bush made Wuthering Heights required reading for every teenager worth her salt back in my day, which makes me think maybe I should get Kimbra and Gotye to write a song called Beatle Meets Destiny or The Reluctant Hallelujah (must speak to Penguin’s marketing department so they can organise this). Wuthering Heights is darkly gothic – a masterly piece of writing.

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

Hmm. It’s tricky, this picking-five-books business. Like choosing my five favourite friends, then feeling bad for the ones I didn’t mention. I’m going to choose … drumroll … basically I’m stalling … OK … Tales of the City. A series of books set in San Francisco in the ’80s, they were cracking yarns and very funny. I’m sure they’re very old-fashioned now, but they kept me home quite a few weekends when I was 20.

Gabrielle Williams is a Melbourne young-adult author who has worked in recording studios, advertising and television. Her latest novel is The Reluctant Hallelujah (Penguin, $19.95).

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