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Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn't foster a love of reading, novelist Ann Hood discovered nonetheless the transformative power of literature. She learned to channel her imagination, ambitions, and curiosity by devouring ever-growing stacks of books. In Morningstar, Hood recollects with warmth and honesty how The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment, and The Outsiders influenced her teen psyche and introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home: desire, fear, sexuality, and madness. Later, Johnny Got His Gun and Grapes of Wrath dramatically influenced her political thinking while the Vietnam War and Kent State shootings became headline news, and classics such as Dr. Zhivago and Les Mis rables stoked her ambitions to travel the world. With characteristic insight and charm, Hood showcases the ways in which books gave her life and can transform--even save--our own lives.