- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 29, 2002

GARDINER, Maine California Gov. Gray Davis' favorite book is "A Man for All Seasons," actress-comedian Lily Tomlin likes "The Shipping News," and film star Mira Sorvino was fascinated by "A Brief History of Time."
Haley Joel Osment, featured in "The Sixth Sense," recommends "Sphere" by Michael Crichton and "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara.
They are among the famous names on the 2002 "Who Reads What?" list compiled by Glenna Nowell, a retired small-town librarian who started polling politicians, athletes, authors and actors in 1988 for an annual list of celebrities' favorite reading materials.
In the past, Ms. Nowell used her librarian's expertise to locate the mailing addresses of her VIPs so she could write to them. Concerned that the anthrax scare in the fall would discourage celebrities from opening their mail, the ever-resourceful and Internet-savvy Ms. Nowell turned to e-mail and discovered the stars were only a mouse click away.
"Some responses came back the same day," Ms. Nowell says with a smile.
Ms. Nowell was especially delighted to hear from Haley Joel, hoping the young actor would inspire other youths to read. The actor,14, said "The Killer Angels" is written "like you are inside the minds of the heroes of Gettysburg."
Ms. Nowell says the choices this year include a rich mix of award winners, classics and perennial favorites. "There's something on this list for everybody, believe me," she says, adding that she has read most of this year's top picks.
Anne Perry, author of crime novels set in Victorian London, said the book that most influenced her thinking is Dante's "Inferno." She also noted that "The Ballad of the White Horse" displays G.K. Chesterton's "love of life and humanity."
Another mystery writer, Mike Stewart, who penned "Sins of the Brother," recalled hitchhiking all over Maine when he was a teen-ager and listed "Huckleberry Finn" and "The Catcher in the Rye" among his favorites.
Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" has been listed in past years by Charlton Heston and Bob Hope, among others, while J.D. Salinger's "Catcher" has been listed five times over the years.
"It was Salinger's writing that made me first start dreaming of writing fiction myself," Mr. Stewart wrote to Ms. Nowell. "At 18, I first read 'The Old Man and the Sea' [by Ernest Hemingway]. That's when I knew I'd become a writer."
For author Clive Barker, a favorite was the collected works of T.S. Eliot, and another was Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News," which has been adapted into a movie starring Kevin Spacey and also turned up as Miss Tomlin's top novel.
An e-mail from Mr. Davis, besides citing Robert Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons," indicated that the California governor was reading "John Adams" by David McCullough.
Former Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul chose the story of another athlete: "Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton" by the Chicago Bears football legend and Don Yeager. Fellow figure-skating Olympian Tara Lipinski listed "All Creatures Great and Small" by James Herriot.
Actor Mira Sorvino called "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking, "utterly fascinating, if extremely challenging reading." Miss Sorvino also listed Dorothy Allison's "Bastard Out of Carolina," which she described as "a brilliant American coming-of-age novel."
Actor Matthew Modine described his choice of Jean Giono's "The Man Who Planted Trees" with an upbeat message, saying it "reminds us that each of us can make a difference. That we can leave the world a better place for future generations of life on this big blue ball."

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