Five Favorites is a new feature at the LA Books Examiner in which our favorite authors share and discuss their five favorite books within a category. In this edition, Robert Dugoni, bestselling author of Wrongful Death and Bodily Harm, discusses his five favorite (and most influential to his writing) books.
No book has ever made me feel as emotionally invested in its characters or a period and setting I’ll never personally get to experience. Lonesome Dove spoke to me in ways no other book has, at a time in my life when I needed a good escape. I read it when I turned thirty, and my life hadn’t developed as I had expected. As I reached that age when we realize we aren’t going to be President, or a famous actor, but just a cog in the wheel of life, I remember shutting the book at two o’clock in the morning, alone in my flat in San Francisco, and crying. I cried because Captain Call was alone, so many great friends dead and gone, and I could empathize. No book had ever made me cry before, and none since.
2) Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1989)
I recently reread this novel, and found myself struck more by the prose than the plot. The second time through, knowing the ending, I was able to focus more on the craft, and the language used by Turow is really inspiring. Every word choice appears to be spot on. A practicing lawyer at the time, I read Presumed Innocent the first time with a desire to return to writing, and this was the book that gave me the bug to return to my artistic endeavors. Shortly after reading it I picked up the phone at work, called ACT Theater in San Francisco, and began taking acting classes, then doing plays throughout the Bay Area. I studied character development, dialogue and conflict, and I knew I wanted to write again. I knew I had to change my life. When a book changes your life, it makes the list of top five.