Known not only for her acting skills, but for her intellect, actress Emma Watson is a known bookworm just like her Harry Potter character, Hermione Granger. As a classy, Ivy League-educated woman, some may presume that Watson only sticks with purely sophisticated reads. But her favorites cover a wide range of genres — from young adult to classic literary treasures and contemporary fiction.
Take a look at some of the actress’s favorite books and add them to your reading list!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
When cancer patient Hazel Grace meets Augustus, a boy in her support group, the two fall in love and overcome obstacles together surrounding illness, literature, and the bond they share. If the novel’s title sounds familiar, it’s because the bestselling novel was adapted into a blockbuster film in 2014.
Emma’s review: The story gripped Emma Watson so much that she tweeted to the author about reading it until four in the morning. If that doesn’t convince you to read the book, nothing will!
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Sophie, a young orphan girl, encounters the Big Friendly Giant, or BFG, who brings her back to Giant Country. Soon, she finds herself in danger from the other giants, who like to eat people and steal from humans. It’s up to BFG and Sophie to save the humans in her world from the evil giants.
Emma’s review: “My dad read me The BFG by Roald Dahl when I was younger. I’m really fond of that book.” (Source)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A beloved classic, The Little Prince follows the titular character as he navigates Earth after falling from a tiny asteroid.
Emma’s review: Emma Watson’s love for The Little Prince, as with The BFG, comes back to her time reading it as a child. Of both books, she said, “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.”
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
As both her final autobiography and her first book to address her relationship with her mother, author Maya Angelou keeps the traditional form she was known for introducing in her literature. The autobiography also revisits her other anecdotes from such bestsellers as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Emma’s review: When Angelou died, Emma paid tribute to her on Twitter, writing, “We will savour your life and words forever. We love you deeply” and sharing an image of the cover of Mom & Me & Mom.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Before she began her job at The New Yorker and on the cusp of the production of her play at the New York International Fringe Festival, Marina Keegan’s life was cut short, and her essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness” went viral upon its publication in the Yale Daily News. This posthumously published collection of short stories and essays highlights Keegan’s hopes and dreams, as well as the struggles she encountered in her life.
Emma’s review: After reading the book, Emma began a dialogue about Keegan’s work on Twitter and connected with other readers that felt deeply touched by the writing.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
With a focus on the individual man rather than collective action, Rand’s novel follows architect Howard Roark who chooses to struggle in his successes rather than compromise his vision. With a strong philosophical message, Rand addresses topics like integrity and being true to oneself.
Emma’s review: “I know, it’s a cult. I’m not going to take it too far, but I did enjoy it.” (source)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, the story centers on the relationship between Stevens, a butler, and his relationship with a former colleague, the housekeeper Miss Kenton. This novel was adapted for film in 1993.
Emma’s review: Emma enjoys the book for “for its expression of the consequences of discretion.” She goes on to say, “Part of me is very resentful of this British mentality that it’s not good to express feelings of any kind — that it’s not proper or brave. But I also appreciate it.”
Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
The first in a series of young adult novels, Naughts and Crosses focuses on a dystopian society where Pangea never separated and human history is unlike anything familiar to our own. Themes in the novel include racism, kinship that defies stereotypes, and unexpected political alliances that change the characters’ fates.
Emma’s review: In 2004, Emma called the book “the best book in the world” in an interview with Girls’ Life magazine.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Laurel’s school assignment — to write a letter to a dead person — evolves into a journey into her own development as she experiences triumph, heartache, and self-discovery. The assignment not only connects Laurel to her sister who passed away, but it connects her to the truth she encounters in her tumultuous past.
Emma’s Review: When she finished the book, Emma tweeted to the author that she loved her book. You can’t get a better endorsement than that!
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
This book compiles advice from the author’s Dear Sugar column, including many responses never before published.
Emma’s Review: Emma devoured three of Strayed’s works — Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch, and Wild — in a three week time span. After she read them, she tweeted a thank you to the author and to Reese Witherspoon, who is also an avid reader and starred in the 2014 movie adaptation of Wild.
Quiet by Susan Cain
Author Susan Cain argues that society greatly undervalues introverts and puts more importance on extroverts, despite at least one-third of people having introverted qualities. This bestselling book makes the case for introverts and is meant both for those who identify as introverts and those that feel like they want to learn more about their introverted friends.
Emma’s review: “[Quiet] discusses how extroverts in our society are bigged up so much, and if you’re anything other than an extrovert you’re made to think there’s something wrong with you. That’s like the story of my life. Coming to realize that about myself was very empowering, because I had felt like, ‘Oh my god, there must be something wrong with me, because I don’t want to go out and do what all my friends want to do.’” (source)
Just Kids by Patti Smith
This memoir from American artist Patti Smith provides a glimpse into her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the late sixties and seventies. Unlike many other memoirs, readers can enjoy Smith’s deep dive into prose and constructing her reality of life before fame in moving ways.
Emma’s review: “The book was so honest and brave. I loved the way she sees the world. I really felt that life was more beautiful after I read it, and I felt more hopeful.” (source)
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Set in Barcelona following the Spanish Civil War, a book dealer who comes across a book called The Shadow of the Wind discovers someone is destroying all of the books the author has written. Daniel’s quest uncovers murder, madness, and doomed love he could not have seen coming.
Emma’s Review: Zafón is one of Emma’s favorite authors, and she told Scholastic in 2007 The Shadow of the Wind was one of her favorite books. (source)
Which books have you read? Let us know in the comments!