Works of inspiration, and advice, selected by one who should know.
Tapped in 2003 as the Chicago Tribune‘s replacement for Ann Landers, Amy Dickinson quickly established her own voice — honest, funny, and forthright — and went on to become a nationally known columnist and NPR commentator. In her memoir The Mighty Queens of Freeville, she tells the engaging story of the unexpected turn her life took as she found herself raising her daughter on her own, and how the women of her extended family became the refuge to which she turned. Amy Dickinson shared with us three of her most cherished reads.
By Michael Chabon
“I spent my young adulthood in New York City, and yet the New York I remember is at least partly a concoction of my reality along with Michael Chabon’s imagined universe, which is so real and so finely drawn that I believe it exists. Chabon’s New York in the first half of the 20th century is lush, cinematic, and layered with drama. He tells a passionate love story peopled with superheroes and villains. Nobody is ordinary in this book, and every character has a secret and an amazing story to tell. Along with the epic imaginings, this novel also explores the hard work and the burden of having a creative vision. This is the only novel I’ve ever read where I finished reading it, flipped the book back to the first page, and started it all over again.”
By Dr. Benjamin Spock
“I’m an advice columnist. But before I became someone who dispenses advice, I was a nervous new mother living thousands of miles from home with a colicky infant and a copy of Dr. Spock by my bedside. My original copy of this classic in practical and compassionate baby care is yellowed and stained with spit up and coffee rings—and still by my bedside. My colicky baby is all grown up, and now I’m the person other people look to for answers. Fortunately I’ve absorbed Dr. Spock’s essential philosophy and am always mindful of my favorite line of this important book: ‘You know more than you think you do.’”
By Walker Percy
“My mother gave me this book when I was in college. She loved it so much she wrote Walker Percy a fan letter, and he answered it. I’ve read The Moviegoer many many times and every time I read it I think it’s about something different. I guess it’s an insightful character study of a man in existential crisis. But it’s also a love story suffused with questions about class and character. This book offered my first glimpse into the life and landscape of New Orleans, and, because of The Moviegoer, I decided to move there.”