Books: Diane Ackerman

My Five Most Important Books
1. "Benedictus" by John O'Donohue, a lark-tongued Celtic poet who understood the power of poetry in a mutilated world.

2. "My First Summer in the Sierra" by John Muir, a wandering mystic who wrote with luscious detail.

3. "The Four Quartets" by T. S. Eliot. Poems about time, impermanence and the glory of everyday life.

4. "The Phantastes" by George MacDonald. A magically strange and sapient book, with a sense of the wondrous present.

5. "Life With Swan" by Paul West. A novel full of all those exotic games couples play and don't want people to know about.

A book that you always return to: "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" by Pablo Neruda. Romantic sambas, magical imagery, it's perfect to share with a sweetheart.

A book you hope parents read to their children: Randall Jarrell's "The Bat-Poet." It will flutter into a child's heart.