The singer and songwriter, whose new memoir is '' Talking To My Angels,'' loves poetry. '' I have music and rhythm to help me get my point across, but real poets do it all just with the language and the lines.''

.-  What books are on your night stand?

'' How to Change Your Mind,'' by Michael Pollan,'' by Don Miguel Ruiz; and a couple of cannabis books,  '' Cannabis and Spirituality '' and  ''A Woman's Guide to Cannabis.''

.-  Are there any classic books that you've read only recently?

'' I finished ''Orlando'' a few months ago. I had watch a movie about Virginia Woolf, and I thought Ooh, I need to read this one. I love the timelessness of it. It's a beautiful story, and forever-and-ever sentences go on and on. She's a master of putting you somewhere.

.-  What's your favorite book that not enough people know about?

I hope people have heard of Jeanette Winterson. Her writing is so descriptive. Throughout her entire novel '' Written on the Body,'' you never know if the main protagonist is a woman or a man.

The protagonist of that book has many different kind of lovers, and it's just a mind-opening piece of literature. Her characters are bold and not in a box. It's really beautiful.

.-  You mention in your memoir that you gave up reading as a child for a time. Tell us about that.

When I was very young, my mother - who was a very intelligent woman but underutilized, as many women were in the 1950s and '60s and 70s' - would read a lot.

Sometimes she would come home from work and make dinner and then just read. That's all I knew of her, was her sitting in the living room, reading.  So as a rebellious teenager, I said I am not going to read. No way.

She wanted me to read and I said no. Then of course I started reading again in my 20s and I was lit on fire by it.

.-  What brought you back?

Women. Girlfriends. I came down to Long Beach and met some women and they had a bunch of books in the bookcase. Salinger, Kafka and Vonnegut. And once I read '' Slaughter-house Five''  I was like, Oh, Yes. This is amazing.

.-  You say in your books that you're a poetry fan. What poets do you read?

Poetry is probably my first love in literature. People try to tell me I'm a poet and I say, No, I have music and rhythm to help me get my point across but real poets do it all just with the language and the lines. That's a gift.

Pablo Neruda might be my favorite, the one who started me out. But also May Sarton, Adrienne Rich, Rilke, Rumi.

I can't ever read enough of them. I love the classic poets. I have a first edition of 

Lord Byron's '' Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice.''

And Yeats and Keats and - for heaven's sake, Robert Frost, I think he's one of the most beautiful poets. And Maya Angelou and Carolyn Forche and Mary Oliver, all of those.

.-  What's the most interesting thing you've learned from a book lately?

Since a lot of my recent reading has been metaphysical and spiritual, about ways to understand life and creation, I've learned how to meditate and how to worry less. When you get to be a parent - I have a 25-year-old and 16-year-old twins. - that's important. 

.-  Did you  read to your children when they were little?

Oh, Yes! I think reading to children is extremely important. We read everything from the Harry Potter series to the LittleHouse books to Junie B.Jones. I think they got their sense of humor from all that. I really enjoyed reading those books to them.

.-  You're organising a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

RUMI, because I think his spirituality and emotionality meet in a beautiful place. And also Toni Morrison and Graham Hancock. The three would have nothing to say to one another, but I would enjoy all of them.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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