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Who is Reading What?
A Celebrity Reading List: 1993

Dear Readers,

This is our sixth annual Who Reads What list. The idea for the list came in 1988, out of a need to provide diverse reading with little money. I was trying to find a way to get people to read the good books the library owns that were being overlooked, rather than just the best sellers that require multiple copies with long reserve lists.

Most librarians seek to get people and books together. The list works. I hear wonderful stories from people all over the world who find knowledge, pleasure, wisdom and peace through reading. Their letters tell how books changed their lives, gave them pleasure, brought self-esteem, and helped them become successful.

We who love to read must promote it. In this year's list, Arte Johnson astutely quotes Robert Hitchins who wrote , "To put an end to the spirit of inquiry that has characterized the West, it is not necessary to burn the books. All we have to do is leave them unread for a few generations."

What are you reading? What book helped you? Let me know, but more than that, share your love of reading and your favorite title with friends.

Regards,

Glenna Nowell, Editor
"Who Reads What?"

 

 

Brooke Adams Jerry Greenfield Michael Levine Jon Voight
Joey Bishop Hugh Hefner Greg Louganis Marilyn vos Savant 
Bill Blass Judd Hirsch Henry Luce III Lindsay Wagner
Erma Bombeck Lena Horne Robert Redford Mike Wallace
Ed Bradley Lee Iacocca Linda Ronstadt Mary Wickes
Michael J. Chitwood Billy Joel Frank Sinatra Jr. Mare Winningham
Phyllis Diller Arte Johnson Dr. Benjamin Spock Chuck Yeager
Mike Ditka Frances Lear Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Henny Youngman 
Gerald R. Ford      

 

 

Brooke Adams
Actress

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Seventh Heaven 
by Alice Hoffman 

 

Joy Luck Club and
Kitchen God's Wife 
by Amy Tan 

 

Jazz 
by Toni Morrison

"Obviously, I seem to like novels by women."
Joey Bishop 
Comedian

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From Time Immemorial 
by Joan Peters
"I had the honor and pleasure of having done quite a few shows for the late John F. Kennedy, including acting as MC at the Gala. I asked President Kennedy what was the most important ingredient in his speeches that helped getting him elected, and his answer was, 'Getting the facts.' 

I read mostly the books that I think may help me get the facts. I wish more people would try to get the facts. It could lead to much less hatred and killings."

Bill Blass 
Designer

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The English Patient 
by Michael Ondaatje
"A book to savor in small reads--to think about and reflect, and certainly a book to be reread in the years to come."
Erma Bombeck 
Syndicated Columnist

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Gift from the Sea 
by Anne Morrow Lindberg
"Thank you so much for your letter. I am flattered to have been suggested for this year's "Who Reads What" list. 

One of the most beautiful books ever written, and one that had a profound impact on my life, is Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg. It is simply and honestly written with great insight into what women are all about. 

Thank you again for including me. Happy National Library Week!

Ed Bradley  
60 Minutes Correspondent

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Jazz 
by Toni Morrison
"So powerful, sometimes I had to put it down."
Michael J. Chitwood 
Portland, Maine Police Chief

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The Firm 
by John Grisham
"The theme of this book deals with life inside a corporate law firm that specializes in tax law. The content deals with corruption and the lack of ethics. It is a very thought-provoking and enjoyable book."
Phyllis Diller 
Comedienne

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The Magic of Believing 
by Claude Bristol
"This book is responsible for my success."
Mike Ditka  
Football Coach

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The Bible "The Bible provides me with the inspiration and the way to live life daily. It puts everything in perspective."
Gerald R. Ford
38th President

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Books by Horatio Alger "As a very young boy I read every Horatio Alger book I could get my hands on. In the quiet of my room at night I would read of the accomplishments of Alger's heroes. The stories of success stimulated me to do my very best in school and in athletics. These characteristics have been very important to me all my life. 

To achieve, one must have goals and be well organized. Personal discipline is essential. Alger's books inspired these qualities."

Jerry Greenfield 
Ben & Jerry's ice cream

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Catch 22 
by Joseph Heller
"Thanks for your recent letter to Jerry recommending a favorite book for National Library Week. 

Jerry is really swamped these days, but I did ask him what his favorite book was. He said his all-time favorite is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I hope this is helpful to you. Thanks a lot for thinking of Jerry. He really does appreciate it." 

Peace,  
Kayne Strippe 
Jerry's Assistant

Hugh Hefner 
Founder of Playboy

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The Foutainhead 
by Ayn Rand
"This tale of an idealistic architect is a compelling tribute to man's quest for personal freedom. I read it first in college and it had a profound effect on me at that time."
Judd Hirsch 
Actor

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Potrait of the Artist as a Young Man  
by James Joyce 

 

Alice in Wonderland 
by Lewis Carroll

 

The poetry of Robert Frost

"A private book about a private soul by a very private man." 

"A book for all time but especially to be read aloud to children." 


All the poetry of Robert Frost. He lived long and spoke so earnestly of America." 

Lena Horne  
Singer

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X 
with Alex Haley
"This raised my social awareness at a time in the sixties when I needed to know more about myself as a living, awake human person."
Lee Iacocca  
Chrysler Chairman

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Agents of Influence 
by David Aaron
"I guess I like this book because the novel puts modern nuclear brinksmanship into perspective. The fast pace and use of fact or fiction format makes this an exciting book."
Billy Joel 
Singer

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The Mysterious Stranger 
by Mark Twain
"Reading is a great passion of mine. I live to read because it is much more personal than any other form of communication. When I read a book I can become a hero, or I can make up the voices, or create the faces, or imagine the scenery. I personalize every book I have ever read. The better the book, the greater the experience I have had. One of my favorite books is The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain. I also love to read history books."
Arte Johnson 
Comedian

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Dreadnought  
by Robert K. Massie
"Hopefully in reading this book, the stupidity of man's inhumanity to man will be exposed. Unfortunately, my list of books, as both reader and collector, is a bit too lengthy. In the words of Robert M. Hutchins, 'To put an end to the spirit of inquiry that has characterized the West it is not necessary to burn the books. All we have to do is to leave them unread for a few generations.'"
Frances Lear 
Publisher

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Looking Backward 
by Richard Bellamy
Michael Levine 
Public Relations Consultant

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The Road Less Traveled 
by M. Scott Peck
"As far as what I read, I'd like to list The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, as the book that has most influenced my adult life. Yes, indeed, 'life is difficult,' and Peck outlines that with such truth that it shook me to my core. I have shared it with many of my friends, who have also been touched by its honesty."
Greg Louganis
Olympic Diver

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull 
by Richard Bach
"My favorite book is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, primarily because it was the first book I actually read from cover to cover. Growing up with a learning disability made reading frustrating and difficult. The challenge and accomplishment of reading an entire book for the first time makes it a memorable experience."
Henry Luce III Publisher

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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt 
by Edmond Morris
Robert Redford 
Actor

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The Making of a Continent  
by Ron Redfern
Linda Ronstadt 
Singer

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Washington Square  
by Henry James
"Henry James is my favorite American author. He's also my favorite novelist in the English language. This fine novella length story is an excellent introduction to his work."
Frank Sinatra Jr., 
Son of singer Frank Sinatra

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A Short History of the World 
by H.G. Wells
"Although this little book was first published in 1922, and is today very difficult to find, it is fascinating to read a non-fictional account of world history by an author who spent his career in writing fiction. I found a Penguin Books reprint in a department store in London, and learned that it has now been reprinted in 1991. I'm now rereading it for the fourth time."
Dr. Benjamin Spock 
Pediatrician and Author

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The essays of E.B. White "I return most often to these short pieces, so witty, so sensitive, so delightful. 

P.S. White fell in love with Maine and left New York to live there--as I did." 

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich 
Author

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Refuge 
by Terry Tempest Williams
"I have a new favorite every year. This year I especially liked Terry Tempest William's wonderful story of birds, family, love and death. It opened up new vistas in a Utah landscape I thought I knew and didn't."
Jon Voight 
Actor

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Souls on Fire 
by Elie Wiesel
"I've always been interested in stories about saints. But, over the years, I've redefined my ideas about sanctity, and now I discover that I find myself with people I regard as 'saints' almost every day. Indeed, in my own family, I've had a couple of 'great ones': My father was a gold professional, who gave good cheer and hope wherever he went. My mother has shown her children and acquaintences how to keep in good spirits throughout the greatest adversity, how to overcome problems and love life in all its lessons. And wherever I go these days I seem to find there are loving energies that I can turn to when I find myself getting a little down about happenings in the world. 

In Elie Wiesel's book Souls on Fire I have found wonderful portraits of great souls who have been saints of leadership and good humor, and their stories are delightfully and powerfully interpreted by a great saint of poetry and love, who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986."

Marilyn vos Savant 
Parade Magazine columnist

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Bonfires of the Vanities 
by Tom Wolfe
"It's always a pleasure to hear from a librarian, a person who undoubtably shares my love of books. 

For a perfectly-polished modern novel, I'd recommend The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. I think it's possible that his turn-of-the-century portrayal of life in one of the great cities of the world may someday rank with James Joyce's Ulysses. (And it has the added benefit of being understandable upon first reading!)"

Lindsay Wagner 
Actress

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All I See is Part of Me 
by Chara M. Curtis 
with illustrations by Cynthia Aldrich
"Seldom have I seen such simple beauty and truth expressed in both color and words at the same time."
Mike Wallace 
60 Minutes Correspondent

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The Man Who Stayed Behind 
by Sidney Rittenberg and Amanda Bennett
"I've just finished the galleys. It'll be published in April by Simon and Schuster. The personal journal of a young American who volunteered for U.S. Army duty in China in World War Two. He 'stayed behind,' wound up as a devotee of Mao, friend of Zhou, sometime colleague of Deng. Spent 16 years in solitary confinement in Chinese prisons (as a CIA agent, which he was not). Finally disillusioned out of his idealism by the corruption of China's communism. This personal journal is a stunner."
Mary Wickes 
Actress

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Little Women 
by Louisa May Alcott
"It was my first 'grown up' book as a child. I was an avid reader. My father held a perpetual membership in the great, old private library, the St. Louis Mercantile Library. The librarians granted me the great privilege of going back in the stacks and selecting my books. I went right down the shelves from Alcott, Dickens to Tarkington and Walpole, opening doors to vistas I have never forgotten! After college and being in the New York theatre and, now, films, I read plays and theatrical biographies a lot. Not bad reading, either!"
Mare Winningham 
Actress

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Care of the Soul 
by Thomas Moore
Chuck Yeager 
Retired Air Force Pilot

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Books by Louis L'Amour "This is in response to your question of what is my favorite book. My favorite book would be anything written by my late friend Louis L'Amour. I have read his books and enjoyed them all as Mr. L'Amour wrote in a simple, straightforward style about black hats and white hats, and that's a world I can identify with."
Henny Youngman 
Comedian

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Take My Life, Please 
by Henny Youngman
"Buy my book-- please!"

 

 

Ex Libris

 

This sixth compilation of our annual Who Reads What list offers a fine mix of reading suggestions: spiritual, psychological, historical, biographical, classical and just good storytelling. Andre Maurois said, "In literature, as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others." Some of these choices may surprise you, but I hope they all will inspire you to read, and to discuss these books with friends.

 

Libraries promote reading every day, often with few new books to share. Please help libraries remain a free and vital part of your community. Support your local library with gifts, memorial donations, and endowment monies. Book fund donations are tax deductible and 100% will be spent on books.

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