Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
Half a Life by Darin Strauss
The Rilke books are all like spiritual texts to me, which is why they always remain on my bedside table. I try to read a poem from Collected Poems every night before bed. I look to Letters To A Young Poet when I am going through a hard time/need inspiration/guidance/ or something to mediate on. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is for artistic inspiration. The book is like an inverted autobiography (meaning it is a notebook of how Rilke's life could have turned out had he fallen into all the wrong traps as an a writer), so I use it to remind myself about falling into certain kinds of traps. Also, it's the closest you can get to knowing about Rilke's life. Through reading it, I became fairly obsessed with finding out more about him. Was particularly taken with his relationship with the woman who I think may be the most underrated feminist of all time, Lou Andreas-Salome. Lou inspires me equally as much as Rilke. I want to read some of her work next.
Slouching Toward Bethlehem is a collection of journalism and essays from Joan Didion, one of my favorite writers of all time. My favorite piece in the book is "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream," which originally appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. It's about Lucille MIller's murder trial in California in the 1960's. I was so riveted by it, that I did some more research and found an article written by her daughter, Debra Miller, in 2006. It was like a companion piece 40 years later.
Half a Life is the last memoir I read. I haven't gotten myself together to put it away yet. I really loved it and it feels comforting to have it by me when I sleep.