The December Brilliant Reading List (& How I Find Books For You!)

One of you recently asked me how I come up with regular book recommendations for you.

I don’t imagine that most of you follow my posts religiously (your lives are far more important, so you definitely need to focus on that first!), but this might be helpful:

The monthly book lists usually includes books in these categories:

  1. Writing: Books by writers about the craft and career of writing.
  2. Marketing/Business/Entrepreneurship: Different aspects of business for those trying to make their interests into a part- or full-time job as a freelancer, entrepreneur, etc.
  3. Faith/personal growth: Pretty self-explanatory 😃
  4. Fiction/Memoirs: Stories about people, real or imagined.
  5. “Wild Cards”: If you are on the Brilliant Writer list, you will get a secret top book recommendation each month.

And that’s basically how I select books to read and share. Now, for the ACTUAL recommendations…

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel (Unless otherwise noted, links are affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. If you use these links, thank you for your support!”)


Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is the follow up to Blake Snyder’s classic screenwriting book, Save the Cat! just for novelists! In it, Jessica Brody, a student of Snyder’s, carefully goes through the proven formula for crafting quality stories that readers can’t put down.

If you’ve already read the original book, this one goes more in depth on the concepts using examples from popular novels. If you haven’t yet read any Save the Cat books, you need to read this one. It will give you another helpful tool in your novel planning and writing arsenal.


Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton

Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton

For those interested in philosophy, Orthodoxy is a fascinating short yet thought-provoking book on different modern worldviews compared to the “ancient orthodox” worldview. Chesterton was a great thinker and writer of both fiction and nonfiction (the Father Brown detective series) who influenced great future thinkers and writers, including CS Lewis. He thinks deeply but illustrates his points clearly for thoughtful readers willing to wrestle with the big questions.


How to Learn a Foreign Language by Paul Pimsleur

How to Learn a Foreign Language by Paul Pimsleur

How to Learn a Foreign Language is a short and sweet and super helpful book for anyone interested in learning a foreign language. Written by the man who invented Pimsleur language programs, this book describes the problem with traditional language learning approaches, and what you can do differently to learn how to understand and speak a new language quickly and efficiently.


Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer

When journalist Joshua Foer decided to cover a Memory Championship competition, he had no idea that he himself was launching a year long journey into the incredible world of memory athletes. In Moonwalking with Einstein, Foer recounts his experience training for the American memory competition, meeting memory savants, and learning the techniques and philosophies behind honing one’s memory for fun, for work, and for life.


All Things New by Lynn Austin

All Things New by Lynn Austin

One of the pleasures of life is re-reading a great book you’d forgotten. That’s what happened to me recently when I was reading Lynn Austin’s All Things New, a novel about a family in the American South and their former slaves adjusting to the end of the Civil War, and trying to rebuild their lives after massive loss. This brilliant novel covers the effects of war and PTSD, racism and slavery, family ties, and so many more important concepts that resonated deeply with me. It’s a riveting look into American history from very different perspectives, and I’m definitely putting this one on my re-read list!

That’s the December book list: If you’re a part of the Brilliant Writer Family already, you’ll get a special extra book recommendation. If you’re not yet part of the tribe, use the form below to stay in the loop 😃

Want to Find More Incredible Books Like This?

I’ve created The Brilliant Writer Reading List to help you avoid wasting time on terrible books and only enjoy reading the good stuff.