In Cold Blood
I was directing a production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and found it hard to concentrate on the work in front of me because Millers' writing was so strong. I like to think that I'm a competent playwright, but when placed beside Miller, my stuff pales. Capote's In Cold Blood gave me the same experience. The writing is so strong, each word so well chosen and well placed. The story is engaging and heartbreaking. I read the book in high school, then reread it recently. It is still one of the most potent pieces of non-fiction I've ever read.