The gift of books: 21 voices speak

November 26, 1995

What books are you giving this season to people who are very special to you, with the firm hope that their lives will be enriched by reading them? Or, WHAT BOOKS WOULD YOU GIVE THIS SEASON TO THREE PEOPLE, publically well known, who you have never met but very much would like to know? Identify these strangers. In two sentences each, why each book?

Rebecca Alban Hoffberger

President and Founder, the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore

To Steven Spielberg: I'd send Madelein L'Engle's classic modern fairy tale, "A Wrinkle in Time," with the hopes that he'd make it into one of his most beautiful movies.

To Oprah Winfrey: I'd send Joan Grant's classic "far memory" book, "Winged Pharaoh" a story about the journey and strengths of a woman in ancient Egypt.

To the widow, Mrs. Rabin, of Israel: I'd send the very moving autobiography written by Madame Anwar Sadat, "A Woman of Egypt," in hopes that Mrs. Rabin would fine some solace in Mrs. Sadat's story and feel a kinship with the loss of another woman's great love of one of humanity's greatest and bravest


Willis G. Regier

Director, the Johns Hopkins University Press

For my father, a veteran of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, a copy of Gerhard L. Weinberg's " A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II," the best one-volume history of the war I know.

For my brother, a computer programmer devoted to the languages of antiquity, a copy of Timothy Gantz's "Early Greek Myth."

For my wife, who teaches French at Johns Hopkins, a volume in the renowned Pleiade editions, probably of "Victor Hugo" or "Voltaire." These editions were the inspiration for the Library of America, and are considered ideal for the library of any scholar of French literature.

Lloyd Bowser

Commissioner, Baltimore City School Board

"Conversations With God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African-Americans," by Melvin Washington, Ph.D. This book is indicative of the prayer life of African-Americans, which I believe has been the redemptive power as well as staying power of African-Americans. Individuals will gain a better understanding.

"Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America," by Herb Boyd and Robert Allen. A very inspiring anthology - especially for the young black male who is in dire need of affirmation. This book will provide that ingredient needed to carry forth the "torch."

"The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," Deepak Chopra. This book, hopefully, will provide the individual striving for success with a better understanding of the basic ingredients necessary to reach one's full potential which will lead to a fulfilling, more productive life.

'Turkey Joe' Trabert

Former saloon keeper, oral historian and collector of Baltimore memorabilia To my wife Anne Sherry Mullen Trabert, who became a Master Gardener through the University of Maryland Extension at Cylburn: "2850 House and Garden Plants," by Rob Herwig, an encyclopedia of plants with a picture and description of each of the 2850 plants.

To my sister-in-law Mary Eileen Linton, who lives on her estate "Two Stag Horn Sumacs" in Union Mills: "Scarlett," by Alexandra Ripley. This is the sequel to "Gone With The Wind," by Margaret Mitchell, which I gave her last year.

To Dan Rodricks, TV host and writer, "The Care and Repair of Fishing Tackle," by Mel Marshall. Dan loves fishing and the discipline of care for equipment in the few minutes of spare time he has.

I bought all of the books at the Good Will Book Nook, which is downtown on Charles St. and they cost me a total of $10.50.

Lisa LoVullo

L Director of electonic news and information services, The Sun

"Old Turtle," by Douglas Wood to my 19-month-old son. This beautifully illustrated and superbly written children's book teaches that God lives in all things and cannot be defined by any one person or group.

"Honor Thy Father," by Gay Talese, to my parents and in-laws to celebrate the memories of growing up in Italian immigrant


"Chesapeake," by James Michener, to my friend who has much to learn about her adopted home that Michener called "a sequestered paradise."

"Tidewater Tales," by John Barth, to my husband, sometimes captain, sometimes mate, always my best sailing companion. For adventures remembered, journeys to come and sharing our two passions, our son and sailing.

David Simon

Director, Baltimore School for the Arts

"The Diary of A Nobody," by George and Weedon Grossmith. Originally appeared in Punch and published in London, June 1892 by Messrs. Bradbury and Agnew. Republished by the Folio Society in 1969. This is a good-natured treasure of platitudes and trivialities with subtle and not-so-subtle humor, but not without warmth and sympathy. I have read it many, many times to relive the experience.

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