Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
This book seduced me, made my vague curiosity about literature into true love. Woolf takes the reader right inside the mind of Clarissa Dalloway, transforms a morning’s-worth of her thoughts into art. Pure genius.
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Morrison was a magician, the way she wrought such intense beauty out the such intense suffering and pain. This is a novel in which every paragraph is a devastating poem.
Space in Chains – Laura Kasischke
A masterwork in imagery, sound, insight, and metaphor. On every page, the poet conveys sharp intelligence, grace, and not a small amount of humor.
Complete Tales & Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
I return to Poe frequently because his narration of the machinations of a deranged mind is unparalleled. His psychologies are deeply strange, and he writes the extremes: terror, obsession, love, death, all of them exquisitely. He is morbid, yes, but in such a pretty way. I love this tension.
Carlo Rovelli – Reality is Not What it Seems
Rovelli has a unusual take on quantum physics. He writes beautifully about science but he also weaves in philosophy and poetry. The result is hugely rewarding both intellectually and aesthetically.
Mary Peelen is the author of QUANTUM HERESIES, winner of the Kithara Book Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, New American Writing, and elsewhere. She lives in San Francisco and Paris.