While I can point to specific non-fiction books as being highly influential on my photography work (see Bibliography), literary fiction has been equally if not more influential on my work, but in a general macro sense. My favorite genre is the short story, and I have read hundreds if not thousands of short stories over the years. To me they are like paintings or sculptures, some of the best are not fully appreciated until after a third or fourth reading. I have been buying the Best American Short Story series for years now and I have started collecting the older editions; the series started in 1978. My goal is to collect the complete set.
It's a fairly elitist selection every year, and the same authors seem to show up on a consistent basis, but certainly no different than any best of selection in the art world, and certainly no different than the elitist nature of the contemporary photography world. But there is no disputing the quality of the choices, and while I have my individual favorites, it is the genre of contemporary American realist fiction itself that captivates me. I have read some of my favorite stories dozens of times over the years. (Just look at the tattered condition of the 1996 edition) They are like paintings that I can return to over and over again. They shape the way I view the world.