Of course I wanted to try on every single pair of pumps in her closet, smear on her shimmery lipsticks and ensconce myself in her exotic jewels—but more than that, I wanted to read all the books that she read, know all the things that she knew, and radiate the sophistication that she naturally seemed to wake up with every single day. It wasn’t just the subtle perfection of her eau de toilette and seemingly effortless feminine flair that astounded me; it was really the gusto of her intellect, the razor sharpness of her savvy and the ardor in her expression that made her my very first icon. My mother also gave me the gift of literature, and it was with her that I first discussed the concepts of magical surrealism and the impossible handsomeness of Howard Roark and the mystery of Milan Kundera and the perverse brilliance of little Owen Meany. She is consistently the first person I go to when I finish a great book, and the first person I go to when I need a good book to start. She taught me how to dive into a story as if it were mine alone to enjoy, and in doing so, also nourished my desire to write.