elebrities, believe it or not, don’t exist in a magical world where all they do is host elaborate parties, sit through repetitious interviews, and take pictures in front of glamorous backdrops. In between these publicized moments there’s plenty of down time where celebrities turn to art and literature for inspiration, comfort, enlightenment, and excitement.
People turn to celebrities for inspiration on what to wear, what to eat, and even what to read. While their recommendations are of course influenced by individual taste, a recommendation is a recommendation. If you’re at a loss for what to read next, why not give one of these (not officially endorsed) celebrity reads a try?
Digging through a celebrity’s bookshelves is a great way to unearth hidden gems and bring to light old classics. And, who knows, perhaps you’ll even come to understand a bit more about the person underneath all the glitz and glam by reading the books that celebrities see as having influenced their own way of thinking.
Read on for a collection of characters, from actors to singers to activists, who have revealed to the world a title or two to add to your cart. We’ll even make it easy for you and include links to independent bookshops where you can purchase them!
The 10 Fiction Books Bringing Celebrities to New Worlds
Classics, Satires, Thrillers--Everything You Need to Add to Your Reading List
Celebrities are supplying us with some of the most interesting book choices, from classic novels to debut bestsellers. With a wide range of subject manner, there’s something for everyone on this list of celebrity book recommendations.
Nicole Richie--Fashion designer, author, actress, American socialite
Reading: Diary of a Murderer: And Other Stories, Young-ha Kim
Comprised of a novella and several short stories, Young-ha Kim’s book takes readers on a journey that walks the edge between good and evil, light and dark, life and death. Exploring these borderlands, readers are invited into the lives of serial killers, kidnap victims, and more.
Short story collections are great for those on the go. If you want the satisfaction of finishing a good book without having to spend the time doing so, short stories are a great compromise. Kim’s work is sure to challenge your perception of what it means to be human.
Stacey Abrams--Lawyer, politician, voting rights activist
Reading: The Night Tiger, Yangsze Choo
This sumptuous novel takes readers back to 1930s colonial Malaya where the coming-of-age stories of a houseboy and a young dressmaker intertwine in front of a backdrop of murder and mystery.
Filled with rivalry, forbidden love, ghostly dreamscapes, a severed finger, and potential man-eating tigers, this book is sure to capture your attention. Abrams, a politician, lawyer, and voting rights activist, has chosen a great novel.
Andy Cohen--Television talk show host
Reading: A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
Yanagihara’s award winning novel is a moving picture of brotherly love and quarter-life crises. Four men, once college classmates, find themselves caught up in New York City life, tormented by unhappiness, hope, addiction, and pride.
This is a classic tale of men searching for fame and fortune, each of their personalities exquisitely rendered. Yanagihara captures the essence of each character and brilliantly conveys the larger than life trials and tribulations they face, inviting readers to consider how the bonds of affection keep people bound together.
Amy Poehler--Actress, comedian, writer, director, producer
Reading: Time Zero, Carolyn Cohagan
The first book in The Time Zero trilogy, this dystopian novel centers around a futuristic Manhattan where misogyny runs rampant. Girls are banned from school, forced into lives chosen for them with no ability to control their own futures.
Cohagan’s young adult novel weaves social commentary expertly with plot and characters--most notably the protagonist, 15-year old Mina. Mina has illegally been taught to read and is determined to embark on a quest that could lead to liberation--or death and dishonor. This book is perfect for those looking for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games trilogy.
Anna Wintour--Journalist and editor-in-chief of Vogue
Reading: The Nix, Nathan Hill
Hill’s debut novel chronicles the discovery of the protagonist Samuel that his mother, who disappeared from his life when he was a child, is either a militant radical or a small town girl, depending on who you ask. In his attempts to discover more about his mother he ends up learning a lot about himself.
The novel is deeply satirical, dipping into radical politics, Occupy Wall Street, and 80s Chicago to embellish the events of the story. Samuel works diligently to discover the truth about his mother over several decades, discovering in the process a deeply interesting woman with many hidden truths.
Paul Rudd--Actor, filmmaker, comedian
Reading: Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
This classic, published in 1895, tells the tale of a young, working-class man’s attempts to become an academic. Society and love--particularly that of his cousin and love interest Sue Bridehead and his first wife Arabella--constantly put obstacles in his path.
Concerned with issues of class, society, morality, marriage, religion, and education, Hardy’s novel is packed with drama and intrigue. Some aspects of the book are borderline disturbing, dealing with the ramifications of social ostracization and the concept of divine retribution in the form of great loss.
This novel is perfect for those looking to sink their teeth into a real classic, with plenty of time to absorb the events of the novel and mull over its message.
Issa Rae--Actress, writer, producer
Reading: The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
This bestseller is a tale of self discovery and a modern classic, captivating audiences with the journey of Santiago, a shepherd boy who embarks on a journey for treasure but finds much more than he bargained for.
Beginning with a recurring dream whose interpretation by a fortune teller compels Santiago to travel to Egypt, the novel deals with themes of personal destiny and love. The overarching message of Coelho’s work emphasizes the need for connection between the Universe and oneself.
Rita Wilson--Actress, singer, songwriter, producer
Reading: Beloved, Toni Morrison
Morrison, a Nobel Prize winning author and inspiration to many, wrote this novel about a woman who escapes slavery but is haunted by ghost from the past, including that of her infant daughter, Beloved. The novel is tense and poetic, exploring themes of psychology, pain, and family relationships.
While the novel at times digs into moments of darkness, it’s an essential read for those looking to immerse themselves in literature. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel was ranked the best work of American fiction between 1981 and 2006 by the New York Times, and remains one of the most important works of contemporary literature.
Kelly Rowland--Singer, songwriter, dancer, television presenter, actress
Reading: Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan
A novel grounded in sisterhood and friendship, Waiting to Exhale explores the relationship between four friends, each waiting for the perfect man to take their breath away. Self-love is important to the novel, as is friendship, and will make you laugh and gasp with excitement.
With their outlooks on men, life, and love, the four main characters chronicle their attempts to deal with the men in their lives, whether that’s by pretending to be perfect or searching for more. Readers will find their experiences with identity and personhood incredibly relatable, especially anyone who’s ever dealt with a less than perfect relationship.
Reading: The Pisces, Melissa Broder
When the main character Lucy’s boyfriend breaks up with her in a dramatic, door slamming scene, her sister insists that she become a dog sit for the summer in her Venice Beach home. The novel moves from realism into the realm of fantasy once Lucy arrives at the beach and finds her attention captured by a mysterious swimmer.
Lucy falls in love with a merman, pushing her to question everything she knows about lust, love, and the boundaries of relationships. Her relationship with the merman is explored through the novel, which is at times erotic and always addictive. You won’t be able to put this one down!
5 Nonfiction Titles Celebrity’s Keep On Their Shelves
These Books Make An Appearance on the Bookshelves of Some of Our Favorite Celebs
For those who think nonfiction is a genre filled with boring texts and pompous academics, think again. Nonfiction, and especially creative nonfiction, is a genre rich in storytelling and beautiful prose in addition to facts and reality. Pick up one of these books and regale your friends and family with your newfound knowledge.
Emma Roberts--Actress and singer
Reading: South and West: From a Notebook, Joan Didion
Robert’s claims she “started reading it and couldn’t stop.” And no wonder--Didion is an influential American writer renowned for her work in both fiction and nonfiction. This non-fiction book is a recollection of a trip through the Southeastern United States Didion took with her husband.
A lifelong keeper of journals, this book represents one of Didion’s well-kept notebooks. In it she interviews local figures in the towns and cities she passes through, weaving a rich tapestry of American lives.
The book is an observation, having neither plot nor conflict. It is a depiction of and reflection on American life and primarily small town life. Perfect for those looking for a book which embodies the ordinary and everyday figures of small town life with life and vibrancy that lifts them from the page.
Reading: Postcapitalism, Paul Mason
Mason captures a picture of a country poised on the brink of some profound change. Driven by rapidly developing information technology, Mason argues that capitalism is being forced to change how it operates.
Mason sees technology as capable of reshaping our interpretation of productivity and value. Consequently, he argues, this will undercut the strength of an economy based on market and private ownership, pushing capitalism to adapt or change entirely.
The book is simple enough for lay audiences but still contains some profound insights. Perfect for anyone interested in how the economy structures our society and vice versa.
Jane Goodall--Primatologist, anthropologist, chimpanzee expert
Reading: The End of Food, Thomas F. Pawlick
Pawlick, who holds a masters degree in farm journalism, writes in this bestseller about the food industry--specifically the growing problems with our food and its production. Based on hard scientific research, this is a must read for anyone interested in health and nutrition in the 21st century.
Exposing the troubling trends in available food, Pawlick details the toxic contaminants and corrupt companies geared towards maximizing profit. Maximizing profit, as Pawlick shows, unfortunately leads to minimizing nutritional value.
Reading this will make you want to take a second look at the labels on grocery shelves. Read for yourself to find out how nutrition is being manufactured out of “healthy” foods and what you can do about it.
Chrissy Teigan--Model, cookbook author, television personality
Reading: Ladies Who Punch, Ramin Setoodeh
Written by entertainment journalist Ramin Setoodeh, Ladies Who Punch is nonfiction for people who’d rather be watching reality tv. Serving as an exposé of the daytime talk-show, The View, this book elaborates on the known and reveals the unknown drama boiling behind the scenes.
Interviews with hosts, co-hosts, visitors, and more enable Setoodeh to capture the tensions, rivalries, and friendships of the faces in front of the cameras. From weight loss to wedding scandals, betrayals to commercials, this book will captivate readers with its soap opera qualities.
Phylicia Rashad--Actress, singer, director
Reading: Play of Consciousness, Swami Muktananda
Swami Muktananda’s autobiography brings readers along on his journey to self-realization and enlightenment. Integral to the Siddha Yoga movement, Muktananda emphasizes the necessity for a deep relationship between yogi and teacher.
The book is written simply and openly, with Muktananda writing candidly about his experiences, many of which involve incredible phenomenological happenings. This is a great book for those interested in a book about spirituality and yoga as a cultural and spiritual practice.
Pick up one of these titles found on celebrity bookshelves and take some time to read! Whether you’re reading fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or thrillers, reading a book is a great way to unwind.