By Annie Dillard
Why she chose it: When life goes bonkers, and I start to feel skittery-jittery, I find nature medicinal. I'm happiest when I stumble upon dense, cool patches of moist green moss. So this book—about Dillard's year observing the seasons—is almost scriptural. I feel drunk when I read it, spiritually tipsy.
Why it's so intoxicating: In one sublime passage, she talks about how in order to see things in all their dazzle and beauty you've got to be still. I've always found that paragraph very poignant, because in the age of high-speed Internet, fast food, and express checkouts, we attack everything at breakneck speed—so many people cannot, will not, and do not know how to be still.
Memorable passage: "Instead of going rigid, I go calm. I center down wherever I am; I find a balance and repose. I retreat—not inside myself, but outside myself, so that I am a tissue of senses. Whatever I see is plenty, abundance. I am the skin of water the wind plays over; I am petal, feather, stone."