Actress and best-selling author Carrie Fisher has just published a memoir, Wishful Drinking. Adapted from her one-woman stage show, it describes her life growing up as Hollywood royalty.
Middlemarch by George Eliot (Penguin Classics, $10) One of the greatest books ever written by a woman, especially in those early days. Although Mary Anne Evans gave herself a male pen name, she showed incredible ambition and scope in her writing—the world she created, the characters she imagined. I love that line in the book that reads: “The really delightful marriage must be that where your husband was a sort of father, and could teach you Hebrew, if you wished it.” It was hard to be a woman in those days, but her storytelling was exceptional.
Naked by David Sedaris (Back Bay Books, $14.99) This collection of personal essays made me laugh as hard as any book I’ve ever read. I also discovered that I needed glasses when reading this, but still it’s one of the funniest books ever.
Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $13) I love her use of spare narrative throughout this story about an unfulfilled actress looking for purpose in her life. I admired the style then and have tried to pattern some of my own writing in that fashion.
My Old Sweetheart by Susanna Moore (Vintage, $12) She’s an extremely talented writer. Her first novel, set in the 1950s, is about a woman who grew up with a very eccentric mother, which, of course, is why I related to it.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Penguin, $15) I love Salman. He’s a friend of mine, but I loved this book—which allegorically weaves a family’s story with the history of modern India—even before I knew him. I’m just showing off that I know him.
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (Penguin Classics, $16) I’m also showing off that I’ve actually gotten through Swann’s Way, the first volume in Proust’s monumental work In Search of Lost Time. Just getting through those first 100 pages, where he could not fall asleep until his mother kissed him good night, was an achievement alone.