James Joyce

It is a rare and beautiful feeling to find a writer that speaks directly to the soul. James Joyce sings a song I never thought anyone else knew except for myself.

Franz Kafka

Kafka becomes the only way for me to laugh at some of the most confusing and miserable things going on in the world. There’s so much hectic and masterful circumnavigating in all of Kafka’s writing, it’s such an inspiration.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

This book took me by surprise in so many ways. Its plot, characters, prose, and general atmosphere (whatever that means) all echo back to me in the form of an unusual dream; I love it.

The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

As an Iranian American, reading the notorious Blind Owl helped me understand how powerful writing pushes the limits, flips people over on their heads. Banned books are the best books.

Augustus by J.E. Williams

This historical novel is a great example of an explored past without a heavy of anachronism. The legacy of the Roman Emperor Augustus may be set in stone, but the circumstances of his rise after Julius Caeser’s death are illuminated under a powerful and poetic light.

Ariel N. Banayan is an Iranian Jewish writer born and raised in Los Angeles. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Diaphanous Micro Press, and elsewhere. He is currently a creative writing fellow at Chapman University, where he teaches a class on the rhetoric of memory. He also co-hosts and plays the piano for the monthly reading series, Write to Read.

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