During the time I worked on 500 Great Books by Women probably 3,000 books made their way through my life and house. For a while, walls of books were my form of decorating, but over time, I’ve learned to keep only those I know I will return to. Here are some that are on my shelves right now – some of them are there for the beauty of their words, others for the originality of their thoughts, and some of them, happily, for both.

The Art of Eating – MFK Fisher
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats – Jan-Philipp Sendker
The Awakening – Kate Chopin
Baby – Patricia McClachlan
Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Blackbird House – Alice Hoffman
The Blind Contessa’s New Machine – Carey Wallace
Broken For You – Stephanie Kallos
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler
The Dirty Life – Kristin Kimball
Emma – Jane Austen
Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Armin
Garlic and Sapphires – Ruth Reichl
The Giant’s House–- Elizabeth McCracken
The Girl in Hyacinth Blue – Susan Vreeland
Guernica – Dave Boling
Here at Eagle Pond – Donald Hall
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
The Language of Baklava – Diana Abu-Jaber
The Lottery and Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
The Madonnas of Leningrad – Debra Dean
My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
A Natural History of the Senses – Diane Ackerman
Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard
Population 485 – Michael Perry
A Room With A View – E.M. Forster
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating – Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Snow Child – Eown Ivey
West with the Night – Beryl Markham
The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman