Books to Dip Into and Out Of
Burroughs: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ($22, amazon.com).
We know Emily Dickinson lived in olden days and she was a poet and seldom left her home. But read one of her poemsany one will doand youll see the evidence of a glittering genius. You will be amazed by what one brilliant woman can accomplish alone in her bedroom without e-mail, a telephone, or a best friend.
Collins: Anything by Elmore Leonard. His books are short, smart, and hilarious.
DeMille: The Atlantic Book of British and American Poetry, edited by Edith Sitwell (find used copies online, amazon.com).
Sitwell picked the best of the best in the English language. Excellent with a bottle of wine on the porch or the patio.
Evanovich: Disney Princess The Ultimate Sticker Book ($7, amazon.com).
Stick Snow White and Cinderella on the pages and make up your own stories.
Fairstein: I always keep a volume of 19th-century British poetry near my bed. Its a delight to put myself to sleep with a sonnet or a love poem.
Gilbert: Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius ($11, amazon.com).
I keep a copy by my bed. And the fact that the ruminations of a second-century Roman emperor bring me comfort, delight, and inspiration is a clue to how timeless this is. Even those of us who arent governing empires can benefit from these musings on courage and decency.
Gregory: Sappho: A New Translation, translated by Mary Barnard ($14, amazon.com).
It sounds fearfully heavy, but it is absolutely contemporary in feel. A friend who teaches a course in Sappho sent me one poem: Dont ask me what to wear. This is a poet who lived thousands of years ago, yet her work will make a modern woman laugh with recognition.
A series of radio broadcasts Lewis made during World War II, which can be absorbed chapter by chapter without loss of continuity.
Patterson: Nine Horses, by Billy Collins ($15, amazon.com).
Collins makes writing accessible poetry seem easy.
Picoult: The Best American Short Stories ($14, amazon.com).
I am a sucker for this collection and keep a copy of the 2007 edition, edited by Stephen King, in the guest room of our lake house.
Steel: Anything religious.