Celebrity Obsessed 3: Celebrity Obsessed-er AKA My Month(s) Reading Celebrities' Favorites

By Richie Bowman

You didn’t think I was done, did you? A long while ago, I wrote an article where I discussed reading some celebrities’ favorite books, just to see what I thought of them. It went relatively well, as did the second time around. I’m back today with yet another five famous folks who have publicly said their favorite books.

The requirements for picking these books are as follows: I had to find an actual quote from a celebrity talking about the books in question. I can only talk about one book per celebrity, and only one celebrity per book (I’ve revealed the top two most popular books in previous articles, so I’ll tell you today that Toni Morrison is the most highly cited author that I found.) The celebrites, despite my personal taste, can’t all be actors (there’s still a lot of actors.) And, finally, I actually had to sit down and read (or reread) the books– no Cliff’s Notes, no vague memories from a high school English class. We’re working in cold hard fact here, folks. Sort of.

 

Without further ado, here’s what the past month of my life has looked like as I read the favorite books of five different celebrities.

BOOK 11: KAMALA HARRIS (THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, C.S. LEWIS)

 

WHY I PICKED THIS: It always intrigues me when an adult says their favorite book is a children’s book. And that’s not a judgment call– my own favorite is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. But someone like the vice president choosing kidlit? That’s a bit more unexpected, and it definitely made me want to reread this one.

 

WHAT IS THIS BOOK: Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter are four siblings attempting to escape war-torn England. Along the way, they find a passage through a wardrobe to a magical world called Narnia. Soon, they’re on an adventure to save Narnia from eternal winter.

 

MY REACTION: I have quite a lot of nostalgia for this series, but I do think that this is an excellent example of children’s fantasy. It’s a classic for a reason. This was another one where I could easily understand how someone likes the book– I just don’t know why it’s VP Harris’s favorite. Regardless, this was a nice break from the mental load of doing these articles (oh, wow, your life is so hard, reading for a living) and I had a decent enough time. The Magician’s Nephew is still my favorite of the series, but this one is probably top 3.

BOOK 12: ANNA KENDRICK (SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, KURT VONNEGUT)

 

WHY I PICKED THIS: To be frank, I picked this book because a guy I wanted (and failed) to impress in high school told me that Slaughterhouse Five was the best book ever written, so when I saw it on this list next to an actor I respected, I figured it was time to bite the bullet. I like a lot of Vonnegut’s work! Pity the Reader is a gift, and Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection I’ve had the privilege to teach to high schoolers. It was time. It’s been time.

 

WHAT IS THIS BOOK: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time and is warping through his memories, including the war, his time in an extraterrestrial zoo, and the death of his wife. So it goes.

 

MY REACTION: It is with gritted teeth and a heavy heart that I admit that High School Guy was correct and this book is fantastic. I’m happier to say I might have a similar taste to Anna Kendrick, who I think is fantastically talented. I loved this book. I’m going to keep searching out Vonnegut, but now I know to perk my ears up whenever Kendrick drops a book title she enjoys!

BOOK 13: HAYAO MIYAZAKI (THE HOBBIT, J.R.R. TOLKIEN)

 

WHY I PICKED THIS: I must confess– I’ve never finished the LOTR movies. I watched the first two. I’ve also never seen The Hobbit movies. Or read any of the LOTR books. It’s a huge blindspot, I’ll admit, and while I haven’t really felt a compulsion to change that, finding out Miyazaki quoted The Hobbit as his favorite book really spurred me on. I’ve spent the last four months watching every Ghibli movie (that wasn’t for an article; I just finally got HBO Max,) so I thought this would be a fun button for that project.

 

WHAT IS THIS BOOK: Bilbo Baggins, a peace-loving Hobbit, is interrupted during tea by the wizard Gandalf, who recruits Bilbo to save the home of the 13 dwarves they’re working alongside.

 

MY REACTION: I thought this book was absolutely delightful. Once again, I’m breaking no new ground by admitting that The Hobbit is a great fantasy. I was scared by the page count (especially since I only give myself a month to do these articles) but I ended up flying through it on a weekend because I was just enjoying myself so much. If that’s what deters you as well, I wouldn’t worry too badly; for such a long book, it’s a breeze.

BOOK 14: STEPHEN KING (LORD OF THE FLIES, WILLIAM GOLDING)

 

WHY I PICKED THIS: I love Stephen King. I have read It three times, I have horror merch covering the walls of my house, and I own half his backlog, so I wanted to see a book that he likes as much as I like him! Honestly, I was nervous for this one, because I didn’t like it much in high school. So I was hoping that knowing it’s King’s favorite would help me along on the reread!

 

WHAT IS THIS BOOK: A group of British schoolboys are stranded on a deserted island. While they try to play nice, factions quickly form and they are forced to accept their new reality with all the blood that comes along with running a society on your own.

 

MY REACTION: I wish I liked this book any better the second time around! I think the political commentary is interesting, I like the characters, and there are some genuinely frightening moments throughout. I don’t quite know what the disconnect is for me– I love King, King loves this book, and you can see on every page why it’s a favorite of his. But not of mine, apparently. It’s definitely worth a read for yourself, but I’m probably going to write this one off from here.

BOOK 15: DONALD GLOVER AKA CHILDISH GAMBINO (THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME, MARK HADDON)

 

WHY I PICKED THIS: In an interview, Donald Glover said he really liked books about autistic children, which was such a wildly niche genre to pick that I had to choose this one. He mentioned Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in the same interview, which I remembered enjoying. I also have a lovely friend who starred in a regional production of Curious Incident (the play was adapted by Simon Stephens) so it’s been on my TBR for a minute!

 

WHAT IS THIS BOOK: A murder mystery following Christopher, a fifteen year old boy who tries to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor’s dog.

 

MY REACTION: So, I feel like it’s important to note here that Mark Haddon has specifically stated that Christopher is not meant to be autistic. (On that note, Oskar from Extremely Loud is also not confirmed to be on the spectrum.) So I’m a bit hesitant to speak on anything from that angle, other than to mention that it might be in all of our best interest to abstain from armchair diagnosing fictional characters. That said, this book is deeply fun, and interesting, and a very removed take on a murder mystery that I found fascinating. The crux really is to solve the crime; we’re not examining the emotions behind the dog’s murder. It reminded me of the old Sherlock Holmes books, and I had a great time reading it.


Surprisingly, although King is probably my favorite author I’ve covered so far, Lord of the Flies was at the bottom of the list for me. My favorite was undeniably Slaughterhouse Five, which I have been recommending to all of my friends since the moment I finished it. I’ll be honest, these five didn’t end up telling me much about these celebrities that I didn’t already know. Of course Miyazaki likes expansive and kind fantasy. Of course King likes a bloody book about the horrors of humanity and how it affects kids. I definitely find myself having a better time with the newer reads than I do with my rereads, so I’ll probably try and include more of those if I do another one of these. As always, I think this is a great tool for anyone trying to expand their reading world! If none of these options seem right for you, take a moment and google your favorite celebrity “+ favorite book,” and see if y’all have something in common! At the very least it keeps you from the echo chamber of BookTok. And if you’re stuck there with me (I’ve been fighting for my life trying to find new recs,) try my article If You Liked _____, You’ll Love ______: BookTok Edition. We’ll see you again, providing I find the time to read five more celebrity favorites over the next month!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Classic Fantasy Adventure Series (Official Edition) (Chronicles of Narnia #2) By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator) Cover Image
By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780064404990
Availability: Depending on warehouse location, this book could arrive at the store within 3-4 days, or it might take around 10 business days.
Published: HarperCollins - January 2nd, 2008

Don’t miss one of America’s top 100 most-loved novels, selected by PBS’s The Great American Read.


Slaughterhouse-Five (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) By Kurt Vonnegut Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780440180296
Availability: Depending on warehouse location, this book could arrive at the store within 3-4 days, or it might take around 10 business days.
Published: Dell - November 3rd, 1991

Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five is “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time).
 
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time • One of The Atlantic’s Great American Novels of the Past 100 Years


The Hobbit: The Enchanting Prelude to The Lord of the Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780345339683
Availability: Depending on warehouse location, this book could arrive at the store within 3-4 days, or it might take around 10 business days.
Published: Del Rey - July 12th, 1986

The stirring adventure that begins The Lord of the Rings, the greatest fantasy epic of all time

When Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves embark upon a dangerous quest to reclaim the hoard of gold stolen from them by the evil dragon Smaug, Gandalf the wizard suggests an unlikely accomplice: Bilbo Baggins, an unassuming Hobbit dwelling in peaceful Hobbiton.


Lord of the Flies: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By William Golding, Lois Lowry (Foreword by), Stephen King (Introduction by), E. M. Forster (Contributions by), Jennifer Buehler (Contributions by) Cover Image
By William Golding, Lois Lowry (Foreword by), Stephen King (Introduction by), E. M. Forster (Contributions by), Jennifer Buehler (Contributions by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143129400
Availability: This book was in stock at the store 24 hours ago but could have sold since then. Please call to confirm if your order is urgent.
Published: Penguin Classics - November 15th, 2016

William Golding’s unforgettable classic of boyhood adventure and the savagery of humanity comes to Penguin Classics in a stunning Graphic Deluxe Edition with a new foreword by Lois Lowry
 


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage Contemporaries) By Mark Haddon Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400032716
Availability: Depending on warehouse location, this book could arrive at the store within 3-4 days, or it might take around 10 business days.
Published: Vintage - May 18th, 2004

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A modern classic—both poignant and funny—about a boy with autism who sets out to solve the murder of a neighbor's dog and discovers unexpected truths about himself and the world.

“Disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect.... Suspenseful and harrowing.” —The New York Times Book Review