Famous Fiction: 50 Celebrities and Their Favorite Books

Posted February 3, 2010

If you think movie and TV stars aren’t fans of literature, this list of their favorites might change your mind. Whether you’re looking for something to read between courses, working on a liberal arts program, or just a few good recommendations, you’ll find a range of books from the classics to fluff reading in this list.

Actresses

Check out these selections from some of your favorite leading ladies.

  1. Angelina Jolie, Vlad the Impaler, In Search of the Real Dracula by M.J. Trow: Before her humanitarian and baby-making days, Jolie was known as the dark and edgy rebel of Hollywood, and this book on the life of the man who just might have been the basis for Dracula is the perfect pick.
  2. Natalie Portman, The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank: This choice makes sense as Natalie starred in the play of the same name, detailing the life of the young girl living, loving and growing as she hid from the Nazis.
  3. Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Check out this Fitzgerald classic to get a take on the lives of the wealthy during the Jazz Age.
  4. Nicole Kidman, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis: While Kidman starred in the much more anti-religious series beginning with The Golden Compass, her favorites are these classic children’s books.
  5. Kate Winslet, Therese Raquin by Emile Zola: This more unusual pick from award-winning actress Winslet is about love and murder with a ghost story twist.
  6. Mira Sorvino, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking: Check out this book on the history of the formation of the universe with an endorsement from this actress.
  7. Courtney Cox-Arquette, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiller by E. L. Konigsburg: Who hasn’t wanted to spend the night in a museum before? In this children’s classic readers get to follow a couple of siblings as they unravel a museum mystery.
  8. Rue McClanahan, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Pick up this famous book about the South recommended by Golden Girls star McClanahan.
  9. Brooke Shields, The Hours by Michael Cunningham: Inspiring a movie of the same name, this book follows the lives of several very different women, each fighting their own battles.
  10. Kathy Bates, Beyond the Paw Paw Trees: The Story of Anna Lavinia by Palmer Brown: You might have a hard time finding this classic children’s book, but if you can, you’re sure to find inspiration in the adventures and imaginings of the young girl it centers around.

Actors

If you’re in search of a good read, take a look at these picks from well-known actors.

  1. Denzel Washington, Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse: This classic book will take you on a spiritual journey that mimics that of the Buddha himself.
  2. Alec Baldwin, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee: Check out this pick from TV and movie star Baldwin, about injustice, race relations and growing up in the South.
  3. Russell Crowe, Coming of Age: Growing Up in the Twentieth Century by Studs Terkel: Crowe has professed a love of any this prolific author has written, but this book is one of his most popular, addressing aging and life in the past century.
  4. Will Smith, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo: Buy or borrow this book for an inspirational read.
  5. Mel Gibson, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: In this recommendation you’ll find a futuristic society that bans reading.
  6. Kevin Spacey, Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke: The letters included in this short volume are deeply emotional and inspiring records from one of the most influential poets of the 20th century.
  7. Haley Joel Osment, Sphere by Michael Crichton: The star of sci-fi film The Sixth Sense recommends the sci-fi book about a mysterious spaceship at the bottom of the ocean.
  8. Kirk Douglas, You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe: Read this largely autobiographical novel by author Wolfe to learn more about issues in American life.
  9. Lavar Burton, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling: You’ve likely seen Burton on Star Trek or Reading Rainbow and you can read one of his favorites about a rich, spoiled young man who is thrown into the rough and tumble world of sailors in this book.
  10. Kelsey Grammar, A Passage to India by E. M. Forster: This book recommended by Frasier and Cheers star, Grammar, will take you back to imperial India.

Musicians

Rock and pop stars you love enjoy a good read as well, as you can see here.

  1. Miley Cyrus, Don’t Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel: In this book, readers will find a love story involving a young woman and the terminally ill man she pines for.
  2. Gloria Estefan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Estefan’s favorite caused a stir when it was released, with an honest portrayal of a life of poverty in Brooklyn.
  3. Billy Joel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain: This short story is a classic satire, transporting a young man from 19th century Connecticut back to Arthurian times.
  4. Whitney Houston, Yes, I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr. by Sammy Davis Jr.: Whitney Houston found inspiration in this autobiography about the life and times of another famous musical star.
  5. Mandy Moore, A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks: It’s no surprise that Moore would pick this romantic novel as a favorite as she went on to star in the movie by the same name.
  6. Gregg Allman, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: This novel chosen by musician Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers slowly exposes the life of a man through time and even after death.
  7. Beyonce Knowles, Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan: Singer and actress Beyonce chose this book about four friends who are losing hope of finding Mr. Right.
  8. Bette Midler, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Few would deny the appeal of this creative and classic children’s tale by Lewis Carroll, and Ms. Midler is no exception.

Comedians

Check out this list to see how some of the funniest people enjoy pretty serious reads.

  1. Lily Tomlin, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx: Made into a movie by the same name, this book about a fishing community in Newfoundland kept comedienne Tomlin turning the pages.
  2. Tim Allen, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirisig: It only makes sense that this former "tool man" would choose a favorite all about keeping machinery running smoothly–with a deeper meaning of course.
  3. Chevy Chase, Moby Dick Herman Melville: Actor and comedian Chase loves this book about an elusive white whale and one man’s battle to subdue it.
  4. Jeff Foxworthy, The Bible: Even if you’re not religious, you might enjoy the history and events depicted in this Jeff Foxworthy selection.
  5. Jerry Lewis, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: Lewis might be famous for his outrageous voices and mugging, but this philosophical work by Rand is all business.

TV Personalities

From news anchors to talk show hosts, these celeb picks will keep you reading for a while.

  1. Bill Nye, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein: It makes sense that Nye, a lover of all things science, would choose this science fiction classic as his favorite read.
  2. Tim Russert, Black Like Me by Howard Griffin: Learn how writer Griffin took a look at what it was like to live as a black man in this iconic novel recommended by political analyst and newsman Russert.
  3. Rosie O’Donnell, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: This classic coming of age novel is one of the most recommended books by celebs and regular people alike.
  4. Larry King, Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero by Frank Graham: This 1969 bio describes the life of one of the most respected men in baseball history.
  5. Chris Hansen, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller: It might be a little ironic that Hansen, now associated with catching child molesters, would choose a book with catch in the title, but this famous read has little to do with the subject, focusing instead on the horrors of war.
  6. Ann Curry, The Once and Future King by T.H.White: Newswoman Ann Curry chose this book, composed of four shorter stories about Arthurian legend.
  7. Brian Williams, No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin: Read this book suggested by Brian Williams to learn more about the Roosevelts and what it was like living in the US during WWII.
  8. Tyra Banks, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume: Talk show host and model Banks calls this novel about growing up as a girl one of her favorites.
  9. Ben Stein, Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov: Bookworm Stein likely has numerous favorites, but this particular selection is renowned for it’s writing and its salacious subject matter.

Miscellaneous

Here you can find reads recommended by presidents, authors, athletes and more.

  1. Laila Ali, The Color Purple by Alice Walker: Prize fighter Ali recommends this prize-winning novel about a black woman’s struggle for empowerment.
  2. Steven Spielberg, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper: This adventurous tale follows a man who has turned his back on civilization and works with native people to escort two sisters through the wilderness.
  3. Ann Landers, The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery: The famous advice columnist recommends this French children’s book as a great read.
  4. Ralph Nader, The History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida M. Tarbell: One of the earliest so-called muckrakers, Tarball’s book exposed the corrupt business practices of the Standard Oil Company.
  5. Bill Clinton, The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain and Peggy Noonan: The former president recommends this best-selling novel about a young man commissioned to make a silver cup for the Last Supper.
  6. Barack Obama, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison: Read like a president and check out this novel about several generations of an African-American family in the south.
  7. Stephen King, Lord of the Flies by William Golding: This iconic author holds this novel about survival, instinct and human nature as one of his favorites.
  8. Sen. John McCain, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway: The Arizona senator’s favorite is this well-known and loved novel by Hemingway about a young American man’s role in the Spanish Civil War.

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