Looking for books backed by the IT crowd? You have reached your destination.
Be it a summer beach read, a gothic classic or an intimate memoir, the literary tastes of famous folk are far-reaching, meaning there’s something to suit every type of reader in this round up.
From Mr ‘As It Was’ demigod Styles to Kendall Jenner and Adele, no one can influence our book-buying habits quite like a well-read superstar. Here’s a look at what the rich and famous have been reading and recommending in their spare time.
Cue the book haul…
1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle – Loved by Adele
When Adele says a book transformed her life, you read it, for her word is gospel.
In an Instagram post, Adele said, “If you’re ready – this book will shake your brain and make your soul scream. I am so ready for myself after reading this book! It’s as if I just flew into my body for the very first time. Whew! Anyone who has any kind of capacity to truly let go and give into yourself with any kind of desire to hold on for dear life – Do it. Read it. Live it. Practice it. We are a lot! But we are meant to be a lot! .. “A good life is a hard life!” Read this book and have a highlighter on hand to make notes because you’ll want to refer back to it trust me! I never knew that I am solely responsible for my own joy, happiness and freedom!! Who knew our own liberation liberates those around us? Cause I didn’t!! I thought we were meant to be stressed and dishevelled, confused and selfless like a Disney character! ProBloodyFound!! You’re an absolute don Glennon.”
Tabs at the ready, BookTokers. And Adele, if you’re reading this, we’re fully *ready*… for your book club.
2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck – Loved by Emma Chamberlain
In a bid to curb her social media intake before bed and look after her mental health, Emma Chamberlain took up reading again last year and she’s been giving us hot book summer ever since.
In a video she uploaded to her YouTube channel she said, “Becoming a book reader has made me less depressed. Reading is harmless. Going on social media is not harmless. It makes you sad, it makes you compare yourself to other people, it makes you depressed, it’s no bueno.”
Now, most of us wouldn’t be so ambitious to kick off our reintroduction to reading with Steinbeck’s chunky 600 page classic novel. It’s thick and scary and will likely break ya brain but in the name of expanding literary horizons and making alpha energy moves a la Miss Chamberlain, we’ll include it in this round up to give us all something to aim for in 2022.
Set in the rich farmland of the Salinas Valley, California, this powerful, often brutal novel, follows the intertwined destinies of two families – the Trasks and the Hamiltons – whose generations hopelessly re-enact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity; the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.
3. The Marvels by Brian Selznick – Loved by Olivia Rodrigo
Sour reads? Olivia doesn’t know them.
Two seemingly unrelated stories – one in words, the other in pictures – come together with spellbinding synergy. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marvelling over Selznick’s storytelling prowess.
Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heart-rending beauty, and featuring Selznick’s most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story. Be warned, it will swallow you whole.
4. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Loved by Emma Watson
Self-professed book lover Emma Watson’s got a few recommendations up her sleeve. In a 2010 interview with TIME she said Le Petit Prince and Roald Dahl’s BFG were two of her favourite books of all time. ““I like books that aren’t just lovely but that have memories in themselves. Just like playing a song, picking up a book again that has memories can take you back to another place or another time.”
The story follows an air pilot who is forced to make an emergency landing in the Sahara Desert. There, he befriends a mysterious young prince from out of space who tells him a series of wise and enchanting stories. This simple, beautiful fable has captured the imaginations of both adults and children ever since it was first published in the 1940s. Now considered a contemporary classic, it is a book to share and to treasure.
5. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – Loved by Daisy Edgar-Jones
In 2020, Normal People actress Daisy Edgar-Jones took to Instagram to share her love for Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, joint-winner of the Booker Prize in 2019.
Her caption read, “Having watched the video by the wonderful @missdumezweni I wanted to share this book with you. Girl, Women, Other by Bernardine Evaristo is one of the most powerful, honest, funny and moving pieces of writing I’ve ever read. The story takes us into multiple different perspectives, it explores race, sexuality, modern femaleness, Britishness and so much more. I can’t wait to read the rest of her work and to continue deepening my understanding. We must continue to educate ourselves and do all we can to support, “in a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist” Angela Yvonne Davis #blacklivesmatter”
Vibrant and poetic, Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives of twelve very different people in Britain, predominantly female and black. Aged 19 to 93, they span a variety of cultural backgrounds, sexualities, classes and occupations as they tell the stories of themselves, their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.
6. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame by Charles Bukowski – Loved by Harry Styles
There have been multiple sightings of Mr Styles with a book in hand and on more than one occasion, it’s been a work of Bukowski. It’s no secret that he’s a fan of the poet, so much so that a fan once threw a copy of one of his books onstage during a 1D concert. It’s also been said his song-writing has been inspired by him, particularly his song “Woman”.
Known for his witty, simplistic style and mind-blowing way with words, you can see how these two lyrical geniuses would vibe. With lines like, ‘Nothing matters but flopping on a mattress with cheap dreams and a beer,” his stanzas are gritty, raw and romantic which is exactly the kind of poetry we’d have Hazza down for.
7. Love Is A Mixtape by Rob Sheffield – Also Loved by Harry Styles
Harry gets two mentions, just so we all get to relive this photo.
When Rolling Stone staffer Rob Sheffield’s wife Renee died suddenly, he trawled back through the mix tapes they used to make each other throughout the course of their tragically short relationship. At times almost unbearably poignant, Sheffield’s music memoir is, ultimately, an uplifting hymn to the redemptive power of song and the connections that music makes throughout life.
8. The Stranger by Albert Camus – Loved by Gigi Hadid
When you’re a Hadid sister, handheld literature is just as hot as carrying the latest It bag and supermodel Gigi is certainly no stranger to cult reads, often photographed with a book in tow.
The Stranger tells the baffling story of a young shipping clerk, Meursault, and the surprising ways he reacts to the world around him. The novel begins with one of the most famous openings in modern literature, “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.” Meursault’s indifference towards his mother’s death sets the tone for the rest of the novel and acts as a plot device for Albert Camus to explore a bunch of philosophical questions around emotion, existentialism, societal standards and what truly defines humanity.
9. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller – Loved by Reese Witherspoon
Always one step ahead when it comes to finding the best new books, Reese Witherspoon could recommend The Hungry Caterpillar and we’d read it (for pleasure).
She never fails to choose the ultimate page-turners and The Paper Palace is no exception.
In an Instagram post announcing her Reese’s Book Club pick she said, “I was totally immersed in the fast-paced narrative that seamlessly wove together past & present. And ALL the beautiful details in this book are enough to pull at your heartstrings…every sentence is SO vivid and luxurious you feel like you’re transported to a lakeside retreat in Cape Cod with a family you have known forever. I think you will love this one!“
The Paper Palace is a deeply emotional love story that follows one day in the life of Elle Bishop as she navigates the unravelling of secrets, lies and a very complex love triangle between her childhood best friend and her husband… *adds to cart*
10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – Loved by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s last two albums Folklore and Evermore are teeming with literary easter eggs from Wordsworth to Peter Pan and multiple nods to Bronte’s Jane Eyre, so it’s obvious Tay Tay often turns to books for inspiration for her genius Nobel Prize worthy lyrics.
Speaking at the Apple Music Awards, the American singer-songwriter shared her love of the Daphne du Maurier gothic classic, Rebecca, and the influence it had on her haunting ballad “Tolerate It”. She said, “When I was reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and I was thinking, ‘Wow, her husband just tolerates her. She’s doing all these things and she’s trying so hard and she’s trying to impress him, and he’s just tolerating her the whole time. There was a part of me that was relating to that, because at some point in my life, I felt that way.”
Note to self: Read. More. Classics.
11. Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas – Loved by Timothée Chalamet
We’re going to go right ahead and assume Dune and Little Women are both already hot favourites in the Chala-yay canon so in order to bring you something fresh from the internet’s boyfriend, we’re going for a non-fiction entry he mentioned in an interview once.
In this international bestseller, Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, showing how the elite follow a ‘win-win’ logic, fighting for equality and justice any way they can – except ways that threaten their position at the top.
But why should our gravest problems be solved by consultancies, technology companies and corporate-sponsored charities instead of public institutions and elected officials? Why should we rely on scraps from the winners? Trenchant and gripping, this is an indispensable guide and call to action for elites and citizens alike.
As suspected, his taste in books is as razor-sharp as that jawline.
12. Breasts & Eggs by Mieko Kawakami – Loved by Natalie Portman
Now there’s a title you won’t forget in a hurry. In Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami paints a radical and intimate portrait of contemporary working-class womanhood in Japan, recounting the heartbreaking journeys of three women in a society where the odds are stacked against them.
A powerful and important piece of feminist literature that explores the oppressive mores of womanhood and the role and function of the female body.
13. Silence by Erling Kagge – Loved by Fearne Cotton
As a bestselling author herself, Fearne knows a thing or two about books. In an interview with Stylist Magazine she named Silence as one of her favourite reads of all time, saying it had a profound effect on her from the very first sentence. Fearne said, “After reading the first sentence of this book, I felt my shoulders lowering and my breath slowing down.
Erling is an explorer, so he has experienced long periods of silence and the benefits and wonders that arise from its magic. This has been a recent game changing read for me. I find myself properly listening to the sounds around me and growing in confidence when there is silence mid-conversation. Silence is where the magic lies.”
This is your sign to switch off your phone and soak up the quietude!
14. Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow – Loved by Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts is a self-confessed bookworm, having channelled her love of reading into the online book club community, Bellatrist. She frequently shares her favourite reads over on her Instagram, with her most recent rec being Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow.
Perfect for fans of My Sister, the Serial Killer, the adult social horror novel follows 17-year-old Farrah, a young, calculating black girl who manipulates her way into the lives of her Black best friend’s white, wealthy, adoptive family but soon suspects she may not be the only one with ulterior motives. Told in Farrah’s chilling, unforgettable voice and weaving in searing commentary on race and class, this slow-burn social horror will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.
15. How to Cure a Ghost by Fariha Róisín – Loved by Kendall Jenner
Reading whatever Kendall Jenner’s poring over is a *need* not a must, we don’t make the rules, and as long standing members of her non-official book club, How to Cure a Ghost is top of our list (as is that thirst trap bikini).
A poetry compilation recounting a woman’s journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance, confusion to clarity, and bitterness to forgiveness. Following in the footsteps of such category killers as Milk and Honey and Whiskey Words & a Shovel I, Fariha Roisin’s poetry book is a collection of her thoughts as a young, queer, Muslim femme navigating the difficulties of her intersectionality. Simultaneously, this compilation unpacks the contentious relationship that exists between Roisin and her mother, her platonic and romantic heartbreaks, and the cognitive dissonance felt as a result of being so divided among her broad spectrum of identities.