Books for every occasion. I’ve always written with books scattered around my desk as touchstones for inspiration. When I’m working and lose focus, I’ll pick one up and read a passage or two to get back on track. When I was writing “The Carrie Diaries,” it was “The Bell Jar.” Right now I see Iris Murdoch’s “An Accidental Man” and Virginia Woolf’s “Melymbrosia,” which is actually an early draft of what would become “The Voyage Out.” Also Philip Roth’s “Zuckerman Unbound,” along with a big, juicy edition of collected Jeeves and Wooster novels.
I also have “under the weather” books. For instance, if I’m sick for a few days, I will read “Blonde,” by Joyce Carol Oates. It never fails to mesmerize. I’ve read it at least 10 times.