Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeCultureBooksMeet the Author

Books that changed my life: Harlan Coben


1st Sep 2019 Meet the Author

Books that changed my life: Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben is a New York Times bestselling thriller and mystery novel writer. His new book, Run Away, is out now, published by Century

The Marathon Man by William Goldman

My father gave me this book when I was 15 or 16. It was the first time I read an adult thriller where I said to myself, “I can’t put this down—someone could put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t put this down! How lucky is this Goldman guy to do this for a living?” Subconsciously, I think, that started me on this career path. Bill Goldman later became a valued friend and mentor. He died last year and I miss him greatly.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

bird by bird.png
Once a year or so, I re-read this writing manual (though it’s really much more than that). This is a series of hilarious and helpful essays on writing and the creative process. It also gives the reader great insight on why we writers are a tad insecure and just plain nuts. I use it like a coach’s halftime speech to get me fired up to write. Give this book to anyone who wants to understand (or become) an artist. It will teach you, yes, but it’s also funny and poignant.

Are You My Mother? by P D Eastman

My earliest reading memory is this illustrated children’s book. A baby bird searches for his missing mother, asking the title question to a kitten, a cow and even a diesel truck. It’s a dark picture book. You’ll be gripped! I got the reading bug at a very young age. I also loved The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis—my favourite childhood series. I love the way the history folded back on itself. We can all imagine the magic of being in a house and opening a door on a boring day to a whole new world. Pure escapism.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit