A Life in Books: Louise Erdrich

A Native American novelist and poet, Erdrich is known for haunting stories of racism and reservation life, such as "Love Medicine." Her 13th novel, "The Plague of Doves," recounts the slaughter of a farm family in a North Dakota town. Her list:

1"The Portable Chekhov" edited by Avrahm Yarmolinsky. I can easily carry it anywhere for literary solace.

2"Austerlitz" by W. G. Sebald. The final novel of a fractured and supernal mind in search of its own history.

3"Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor. This line electrified me: "Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog." It made me want to write.

4"The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman. The most shattering and consoling book I read this year.

5"Winter in the Blood" by James Welch. A book of terse and desperate grace, perhaps the best novel about reservation life.

A BOOK TO WHICH YOU ALWAYS RETURN: "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys. Savage, strange and perfect.

A BOOK YOU HOPE PARENTS WILL READ TO THEIR CHILDREN: William Steig's books, including the original "Shrek!" Simple, beautiful, funny, and an adult can read them without suffering brain damage.