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A Life in Books

WE SAGEHENS ARE a proudly bookish bunch, so what better way to get to know our next president than through the authors and books that have influenced her most? Here are a few of the key authors—from Jean Toomer to J.R.R. Tolkien—who have helped shape Gabi Starr’s life story.

Gabi Starr

We’ll start with the oldest, a poetic voice from ancient Rome—Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Starr writes: “Ovid makes the beautiful, the just, the joyous, the unexpected and even the mistaken, painful or frightening open to human creativity. It’s not that we understand everything, but that we see the possibility for something new. For more than 2,000 years, his work has inspired artists to believe in the power of the human mind to transform the world.”


Murder at the Vicarage (and other Miss Marple mysteries) by Agatha ChristieMurder at the Vicarage (and other Miss Marple mysteries) by Agatha Christie—“A childhood collection of Miss Marple novels was my first glimpse into reading as searching for signs—those hidden traces of human feeling, motive and mind.”

 


Pride and Prejudice, by Jane AustenPride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen—“Jane Austen was a friend who got me through the awkwardness of being a smart child.”

 

 


Clarissa, by Samuel RichardsonClarissa, by Samuel Richardson—“Clarissa is not just about obsession, but it produces obsessive reading. It drew me into the 18th century with its psychological complexity and depth.”

 

 


The English Poems of George HerbertThe English Poems of George Herbert—“Herbert’s poetry has been part of my life—I fell in love with it in my second year of grad school, and I read his poems to my father as I sat beside him in his last hours.”

 

 


Cane, by Jean ToomerCane, by Jean Toomer—“Cane is sheer beauty to me. The pages are heavy with it.”

 

 

 


The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien—“I took The Lord of the Rings when I was having both children. It’s on every device I own, even though I don’t know by heart half of it half as well as I would like.”