When my mother, an avid reader, wants to know if I have read a particular author, she will ask me if I know her.
"Do you know Annie Dillard?"
Annie Dillard is a prolific essayist and poet, she is often compared to Thoreau, though I believe that that is more due to their shared love of nature than anything else. Annie Dillard's voice is singular. She is an author recognizable from her cadence and clarity alone. Since the early 1970's she has quietly become one of the great American naturalist voices.
I remember where I was when I first read Teaching a Stone to Talk; sixteen, a dreary day of homework and rain; and then this:
“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.”
“I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.”
She is also beautiful and humble. Her website is unabashed in it's protest of self promotion, she does not tell us her life story or show us pictures of her family. She says, quite clearly that if you want to know about an author, read their work or works.
Yes, I know her.
Annie Dillards Website: