April 08, 2002 01:04 PM

All right, forget Oprah’s Book Club. In 1988, retired Maine librarian Glenna Nowell began polling politicians, athletes, authors and actors for an annual list of celebrities’ favorite reading materials. This year’s list has now been released in anticipation of National Library Week, April 14-20, reports the Associated Press. And the winners include: Annie Proulx’s “The Shipping News,” thanks to Lily Tomlin; Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time,” thanks to Mira Sorvino; and “Sphere” by Michael Crichton and “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara, thanks to Haley Joel Osment. In the past, says the AP, Nowell leaned on her librarians’ expertise to track down the stars’ addresses. (During that period, both Bob Hope and Charlton Heston responded that their favorite book was Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn.”) This year, however, Nowell feared that the anthrax scare might keep VIPs from opening their mail, so she turned to e-mail and found that the stars were only a click away. “Some responses came back the same day,” the grateful librarian said. Even some politicians got in the act. California Gov. Gray Davis’s favorite book is “A Man for All Seasons,” actually the script to the play by the late Robert Bolt. Former Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul chose the tale of another sports star: “Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton,” by the Chicago Bears football legend and veteran journalist Don Yeager. Fellow figure-skating Olympian Tara Lipinski named James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small.”

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