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Not many people have the power to spread the word like celebrities. Even more so when they use social media. We know celebrities tend to have a big amount of followers. So when those followers share that content with others, even more people are exposed to it. For instance, when books are recommended by celebrities, they can be quite the boost for an author and their sales. They definitely inspire people to read those books, which is amazing. For example, when a writer from Bustle read all of Harry Styles’s recommendations!
There are also a ton of book clubs to draw inspiration from! Like Oprah’s Book Club and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. Or fun communities like Literati, a subscription box for one of five celebrity’s book clubs (like Stephen Curry or Malala Yousafzai). With so many bookish celebrities out there, there is a well of inspiration to find our next read! So today I present to you, a list of 15 books recommended by celebrities in the past year or so. And if you want to look at even more books just look at our article written back in February 2020.
Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami
Recommended by: Natalie Portman
This wonderful book follows three women—a mother, a daughter, and an unnamed narrator—as they struggle with their identity and bodily autonomy in modern-day(ish) Japan. Actress Natalie Portman endorsed it on her Instagram, saying that she loved “Kawakami’s depiction of what it is to be female today in Japan.”
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Recommended by: Mariah Carey
A compelling book that weaves the stories of twin sisters who, even though they seem identical, choose to live very different lives in very different worlds, one black and one white. Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey shared a picture of her 2020 essential books on Twitter, and The Vanishing Half deservedly takes one of the spots.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Recommended by: Megan Rapinoe
This beautiful YA book follows Felix Love, a transgender teen who struggles with identity and harassment, looking for his happy ever after as he experiences love for the first time. Olympic gold medalist, two-time Women’s World Cup champion, and captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team Megan Rapinoe chose this as one of her favorite reads in 2020. She said it was a “beautiful portrayal of growing up and loving yourself.”
Stray: A Memoir by Stephanie Danler
Recommended by: Troian Bellisario
This shocking memoir tells the story of Danler as she goes back home to Southern California to a difficult family. Her parents deal with the consequences of their substance abuse and she finds out some hard truths about her family and herself. Actress Bellisario shared this book on her Instagram, sharing that “the vulnerability and heart that it took to write this book is off the charts.”
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Recommended by: Kristen Bell
This half memoir, half self-help book tells the story of how Doyle changed her life and listened to her own voice. How she stopped living by other people’s expectations and began living for herself. It’s an empowering story of finding joy and peace within ourselves. Actress Kristen Bell even called it an “anthem for women today.”
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Recommended by: Ali Wong
This stunning coming-of-age story follows the story of Little Dog’s life in his 20s. It is written as a letter from a son to his mother as a way for her to know him better. Actress and comedian Ali Wong loved this book so much she wrote it was “one of the more compelling things I’ve prioritized over washing my hair and wiping the rice/glitter/goldfish off the bottom of my feet.”
Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford
Recommended by: Sarah Jessica Parker
This is the story of mixed-blood Cherokee woman Justine and her daughter Reney. They both try to survive in the world as they leave their home looking for a more stable life. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker loved it, sharing that it was “a book that you want to share with everyone you know and a book that you are desperate to keep in your own possession.”
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Recommended by: Yara Shahidi
This is probably the oldest book in this list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still relevant today. It’s like an essay, told through two letters, that asks people to attack the legacy that racism has left in the country. Model and actress Yara Shahidi says it’s one of her favorite books of all time and that “it’s really powerful because it’s hard to read something that can be so devastating and so sad and feel motivated by it.”
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Recommended by: Jameela Jamil
Trigger warning for rape and eating disorders.
This memoir is about trauma. It follows the life of Roxane Gay after she was raped as a 12-year-old. This traumatic event shapes her future, her relationship with her body and with food, among other things. It is actress, model and activist Jameela Jamil’s favorite book and she said that “reading it hurt, but it also helped heal me because it was the first time I ever felt less alone in my experience.”
This is Not My Memoir by André Gregory and Todd London
Recommended by: John Mulaney
This memoir follows the very creative life of theatre director, writer, and actor André Gregory from his time in Paris during the war to golden age Hollywood. John Mulaney shared his love for this book on Instagram, writing: “I can’t overstate how much his creative passion for creative passion has inspired me. The book is just really good too.”
Mercy House by Alena Dillon
Recommended by: Amy Schumer
Mercy House tells the story of Sister Evelyn and her fellow group of nuns. They all run Mercy House, a safe haven for the abused and the abandoned. When Bishop Hawkins arrives, a man with whom she shares a dark past, she must fight to defend what she loves while he investigates the house. Actress and comedian Amy Schumer loved it on her Instagram, saying it “grabbed me from the start and still hasn’t let go.”
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Recommended by: Halle Berry
This Pulitzer Prize winner follows the story of five trees and how they change the lives of nine Americans, bringing them together to address deforestation. It’s a very unique book, and some chapters are told in the trees’ perspectives. Actress Halle Berry was entranced by the book, sharing that it was “an epic—rooted in the addictive beauty of nature and the powers that bring us together in advocacy.”
Sex and World Peace by Mary Caprioli, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Chad F. Emmett and Valerie M. Hudson
Recommended by: Emma Watson
This book analyzes the relationship between micro-level aggressions towards women and macro-level global peace. Basically, what the authors speak about is the relation between how society treats women and how they interact in all levels of society. Known actress and feminist Emma Watson shared on her Instagram that “this book illuminates how we got where we are today, and along with it, a way forward” in terms of gender violence.
Rest and Be Thankful by Emma Glass
Recommended by: Florence Welch
Laura is a nurse on the verge of burnout. During her shifts, she cares for sick babies. After, when she finally falls asleep, she dreams of water. When she wakes up she is next to a man who doesn’t love her anymore, and an untouchable figure that shimmers at the edge of her vision. Singer Florence Welch praised it, saying that “as creepy as it is compassionate, it is a tale of selflessness and the spectre of sleep deprivation that haunts overworked healthcare workers.”
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Recommended by: Jonathan Van Ness
Emira Tucker is the Chamberlains’ babysitter. One night, while caring for the toddler, she is cornered in a supermarket and accused of kidnapping the child. People gather and film the ensuing argument. When Alix Chamberlain is trying to set things right, the video of Emira is unearthed and it brings someone from Alix’s past back, changing everything. TV personality and grooming guru Jonathan Van Ness chose this as one of his favorite reads of 2020. For him it is “a super engaging page-turner, but it also has some really powerful things to say about race, privilege, and being an adult.”
The Proudest Blue: A Story Of Hijab And Family by Ibtihaj Muhammed and Hatem Aly
Recommended by: Misty Copeland
This children’s book is the story of two sisters on their first day of school, and the first day one of them wears her hijab. They both find ways to be strong, despite facing other kids and their hurtful words. Ballet dancer Misty Copeland chose this as one of her favorite books. “What I love about Olympic gold medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad’s debut children’s book is how it deftly shows—not tells—that difference doesn’t have to be scary,” she shared about the sweet children’s book.
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