I suppose that in some mysterious ways everything I've read has helped me find the voice that speaks in my work, but there are some that are vivid in my memory.
The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner, and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, taught me to listen to the rhythm of language.
In Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I learned about the gift of hope that can come from writing honestly about pain.
Flannery O'Connor's short stories made me believe I could write in the language of my Oklahoma culture and tell stories about the people I come from.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee showed me that storytelling can change people's lives.
And in her collection Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros gave me Salvador Late or Early, so powerful in its simplicity that I am humbled each time I read it.