Think John Wayne in silk and diamonds. Marie Brenner has taken some of the great divas, courtesans and heroines of modern time and ennobled their love of men, power and vital energy. They inspire—like Kitty Carlisle Hart, who begins every day letting go of the previous day's mistakes by looking in the mirror and announcing, 'Kitty, I forgive you.'
Revolutionary Petunias & Other Poems By Alice Walker
I like to carry a small book of poetry in my purse at all times to transform the frustration of gridlock or late lunch partners into a sanctuary. Alice Walker wrote these poems about everyday valor, the search for truth and hope in the reality of life.
West with the Night By Beryl Markham
This is not just a true story; it's a rapture of adventure and courage by a pioneering aviatrix from Africa. Someone once quoted the phrase to me: 'Risk is extra life.' (I love that Mrs. Clinton chose this for her "Bookshelf" in the previous issue of O, The Oprah Magazine too.)
Bird by Bird By Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott seems immediately like your new best friend—funny, sunny, spiritual. This book can teach you how to write wonderfully, though its lessons are as much about life as they are about writing.
The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin
It's not a read for the beach, but James Baldwin writes like a red-hot hammer on an anvil. Even if you didn't live through the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties, when Baldwin wrote this book, every word is still a call to arms and a cry of the heart.