Books that changed my life: Caroline Kepnes
Caroline Kepnes is the author of You, Hidden Bodies and Providence. You was adapted for Netflix in 2018 and Hidden Bodies will air later this year.
Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
I had read American Pastoral about three times and I was so in awe of that book that it intimidated me when it came to my own writing. Then one day it hit me that it wasn’t the first thing he’d written, so I picked up Goodbye, Columbus. It’s amazing to think of Roth, published at 26, and to see how much he grew by the time he wrote American Pastoral. The religious aspect, the relatable characters and the fact that you could have people just be absolutely hysterical was a really calming, influential thing for me. It made me want to write.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
I related so much to that character as a young girl. My father was also Jewish and my mother was also raised Catholic. As I got older, I realised that this book was the one that made me understand that the settings of books that I love most are always the interior and the mental landscape. I still come back to this book all the time because of the vulnerability in there. Every time I write now I think about that feeling that you get from some books, that you’ve really been let into the most sacred and quiet corners of someone’s soul.
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
I remember reading The Silence of the Lambs and wanting to live vicariously through Clarice. Every word that came out of Hannibal Lecter’s mouth was so intriguing to me. There’s nothing more terrifying than someone who is intelligent and evil. He had that desire to eat humans, which was awful, but the magic was that he’d then say these really insightful things. I wouldn’t have written anything if I hadn’t read the line, “We covet what we see every day,” in my head. I loved the frightening insights into the possibilities of what’s lurking around you.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter