Bookish Celebrities Share Their Top Reading Recommendations

Posted by Sharon on May 26, 2020

Famous people! Are they really just like us? In the case of these individuals, the answer is a resounding yes when it comes to loving books. To help you add even more titles to that Want to Read shelf, we asked these well-known bookworms to tell us the titles they find themselves recommending over and over again.

From the books that inspire Alicia Keys in her songwriting to the stories that ignite Trevor Noah's imagination, here are their picks. And don't forget to click on the names of your favorite book lovers below to follow them on Goodreads for their latest recommendations (and to get a peek at what they're currently reading).


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Alicia Keys is a multiple Grammy Award–winning singer, songwriter, and composer. She is the author of Blue Moon, a children's book based on her childhood relationship with her grandmother. Keys most recently published her autobiography, More Myself: A Journey, in March 2020.

Here are her top four reading recommendations: 

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Trevor Noah is a comedian, television and radio host, and actor. He currently hosts The Daily Show, a late-night television talk show on Comedy Central. He is the author of the New York Times–bestselling memoir Born a Crime, which recounts his childhood and coming-of-age in apartheid South Africa.

Here are his top three reading recommendations:

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Ali Wong is an actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. She's known for her comedy specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, as well as co-writing and starring in the film Always Be My Maybe. Wong's memoir addressed to her daughters, Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life, won the 2019 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Humor.

Here are her top three reading recommendations: 

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Colin Jost is a head writer at Saturday Night Live and also serves as the show's "Weekend Update" co-anchor. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in the history and literature of Russia and Britain. Jost's memoir, A Very Punchable Face, will be published on July 14.

Here are his top three reading recommendations:

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Comedian Chelsea Handler hosted the late-night talk show Chelsea Lately for eight seasons. She's also written multiple bestselling books, including My Horizontal Life and Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. Her most recent book, Life Will Be the Death of Me: ...and You Too!, was a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award nominee in the Humor category.

Here are her top three reading recommendations:

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David Chang is the James Beard Award–winning founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, author of the Momofuku cookbook, and co-founder of the Lucky Peach journal of food writing. He has appeared on television in the HBO series Treme and on multiple cooking shows. Most recently, Chang created and stars in the Netflix original series Ugly Delicious. His newest book, Eat a Peach: A Memoir, will be published in September.

Here are his top three reading recommendations: 

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Actor Wil Wheaton is the creator and host of the YouTube web series TableTop and The Wil Wheaton Project on SyFy. He has published numerous books, including his memoir, Just a Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise. A highly sought-after audiobook narrator, Wheaton most recently voiced The Last Emperox by John Scalzi.
 
Here are his top three reading recommendations:

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Jenna Bush Hager is the author of several children's books and the memoir Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life, written with Barbara Pierce Bush. A co-host for the NBC TODAY Show, Hager also makes the monthly selections for TODAY's #ReadWithJenna book club.
 
Here are her top three reading recommendations:

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Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb writes the weekly "Dear Therapist" advice column for The Atlantic. Her most recent book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, was a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award nominee in the Nonfiction category and is currently being adapted for TV by Eva Longoria.

Here are her top three reading recommendations:

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Which of these picks most intrigues you, and why? Let us know in the comments!
 

Comments Showing 1-50 of 167 (167 new)


message 1: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Ali Wong book and sisters first are the only ones that aren’t trash in my opinion!


message 2: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Masters Wil Wheaton and David Chang are gold 100%.


message 3: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Herst What?!? I hope you’re jokingbecause I cant imagine that Jenna Bush could our write some of the powerhouses o here (& I think she would agree!).Alicia Keyes has Listed some of my favorite books of all time!


message 4: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Colleen wrote: "What?!? I hope you’re jokingbecause I cant imagine that Jenna Bush could our write some of the powerhouses o here (& I think she would agree!).Alicia Keyes has Listed some of my favorite books of a..."
No I’m not. But we have a right to disagree though! I DO love Jenna bush hager and Ali Wong just not the other authors of books!


message 5: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Jay wrote: "We'll never know if celebrities are "just like us." Their existence is scripted by a team of consultants/A&R gents, and a myriad of multi-million dollar contracts. If one of their groomers tells Go..."
I agree with you Jay


message 6: by Ronni (new)

Ronni No idea why anyone would think I would like any of these books.


message 7: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Wheeler I find it hard to call anything an author put in the time and effort to write and get published "trash". That being said, We all do have our own opinions and my personal favorite on the Lists of these celebrity authors is "The Stand" by Steven King. I think it is very appropriate reading in a pandemic, and a great read as well. The book that I find most intriguing is "The Tennis Partner". I think it just sounds like an interesting read.


message 8: by Cami (new)

Cami I would like to read Lori Gottlieb's picks and "All About Love: New Visions" by Bell Hooks which is recommended by Trevor Noah. Also "Dirt" by Bill Bufford is very interesting to me from a foodie perspective.


message 9: by Kenny (new)

Kenny ClaraBelle wrote: "Ali Wong book and sisters first are the only ones that aren’t trash in my opinion!"

Thankfully, the majority of people here will ignore your close minded opinion.


message 10: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Kalb Anyone who would call these trash obviously hasn’t read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous or Homegoing. Two absolutely beautiful pieces of writing.


message 11: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Kelly wrote: "Anyone who would call these trash obviously hasn’t read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous or Homegoing. Two absolutely beautiful pieces of writing."

Nicely put.


message 12: by Beth (new)

Beth Hommes Trevor Noah’s book is excellent (and I’m not a big fan of his) but it was very enlightening.


message 13: by Cher (new)

Cher Kelly wrote: "Anyone who would call these trash obviously hasn’t read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous or Homegoing. Two absolutely beautiful pieces of writing."

Agreed. Instead of needing to call authors' works 'trash', could she instead say, these other books are not to my taste?


message 14: by Cher (new)

Cher ClaraBelle wrote: "Ali Wong book and sisters first are the only ones that aren’t trash in my opinion!"

I've read nine of the recommended books and enjoyed or appreciated most of those. There are books on this list I still intend to read and others on the list I have no interest in reading. Instead of calling them trash, I would say some books are not for me. It doesn't make them trash.


message 15: by Jodi (new)

Jodi If Trevor Noah wants me to read something, I’m reading it. :)


message 16: by Samarth (new)

Samarth Sharma I loved “ We Learn Nothing”


message 17: by Jon (new)

Jon Seriously folks... it is just another list of books, maybe you have heard of all them maybe there are a couple new ones you could look into to see if they are up your alley. Stop pretending like these were personally curated for you and being offended that anyone might like a book or think that another human being might also like that book - whether it is the celebrity or their manager or whoever.


message 18: by Joanne (new)

Joanne F Funny how the knee-jerk negativity posts say far more about the person posting than they do about the featured authors or the listed books.


1953lincolngmail.Com I have read and really liked Pachinco and The Stand. I have made a note of the other recommendations and will check them out. Thank you for your suggestions and recommendations. The negative posts are totally unnecessary!


message 20: by Seawitch (new)

Seawitch Pachinko is perfection as family sagas go. And The Tennis Partner is an honest and compelling memoir.


message 21: by Shawna (new)

Shawna Donnelly I LOVED Trevor Noah's book. I didn't know much about him beforehand, but I like him a lot more after reading his book.


message 22: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I'm looking forward to reading On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous And if anyone hasn't read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I heartedly recommend her -Americanah is a good place to start.

Love Ali Wong, and like someone says about Trevor Noah (his book is wonderful, even better on Audio, b/c he reads it!) "If Ali says to read it, then I will!"


message 23: by Karen (new)

Karen I’m not sure it’s even legal to call Langston Hughes writing trash. 😀. And I loved Trevor Noah’s book and Pachinko. It’s fun to see what the authors and celebs are reading, writing, and recommending. I don’t understand all the anger. No one is forcing anyone to read these articles or the books. Be happy. Life is too short!


message 24: by Julia (new)

Julia Howells OMG I am even more in love with Colin Jost for his choices.


message 25: by Tracey (new)

Tracey We all have different opinions on books - of course we do - but to say they are trash seems a little harsh.


message 26: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle To say their trash isn’t harsh. It is just my strong opinion!


message 27: by Aimee (new)

Aimee Keithly Kelly wrote: "Anyone who would call these trash obviously hasn’t read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous or Homegoing. Two absolutely beautiful pieces of writing."

I agree!!


message 28: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Aimee wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Anyone who would call these trash obviously hasn’t read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous or Homegoing. Two absolutely beautiful pieces of writing."

I agree!!"

What are those books about? I’m willing to alter my opinion if I’m wrong……


message 29: by ReGina (new)

ReGina @CiaraBelle I think the purpose is to provide a broad spectrum of recommendations. But how you can classify them as trash if you haven’t read them? I’m not a big Jenna Bush fan, but I cannot speak to the quality of her book before I read it. You’re probably missing out on some real gems if you’re making assumptions based on the authors or the people who recommended the books.


message 30: by Dominique (new)

Dominique ClaraBelle wrote: "Ali Wong book and sisters first are the only ones that aren’t trash in my opinion!"

First off, Margaret Atwood is certainly not trash, and if you are referring to autobiography's, Trevor Noah's is one of the best I've ever read. I don't know how you could label a book about growing up in apartheid 'trash'.


message 31: by Emily (new)

Emily Decker I see several books on my Want to Read already and some more I had to add. I love the variety of authors and genres and am especially happy to see diversity in those making recommendations and what they are recommending.


message 32: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Yates Kelly wrote: "Anyone who would call these trash obviously hasn’t read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous or Homegoing. Two absolutely beautiful pieces of writing."

Totally. In my opinion Homegoing will be considered a classic for years to come.


message 33: by Mary (new)

Mary Cannon Beth wrote: "Trevor Noah’s book is excellent (and I’m not a big fan of his) but it was very enlightening."

I loved his book! I have never seen any of his comedy or listened to his podcast...I didn't really know who he was before I read his memoir. It was hilarious and heartbreaking and somehow relatable, while also being eye-opening and enlightening, as you said.

I marked two of his picks as to-read because magically they align with my own interests right now!


message 34: by Desperadox (new)

Desperadox Jay wrote: "We'll never know if celebrities are "just like us." Their existence is scripted by a team of consultants/A&R agents, and a myriad of multi-million dollar contracts. If one of their groomers tells G..."
What do you think they are? People are people, that doesn't change.
I've met some well known people in my life. Some were nice, some were assholes, most of them weren't very intelligent. Just like people are.


message 35: by Samiha (new)

Samiha Cher wrote: "ClaraBelle wrote: "Ali Wong book and sisters first are the only ones that aren’t trash in my opinion!"

I've read nine of the recommended books and enjoyed or appreciated most of those. There are b..."


exactly!!


message 36: by Brian (new)

Brian Noah, Chang, and Wheaton I thought were very good. I thought Keys and Chandler had politically motivated picks that would not appeal to a broad audience.


message 37: by Amy (new)

Amy Trevor Noah recommending The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six Others makes my heart sing. It was my favorite book for years from 6th grade on. I wonder what it means to him and why.


message 38: by Mimi, Goodreads employee (last edited May 30, 2020 09:14PM) (new)

Mimi Hi Amy here is what Trevor shared about the meaning to him of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl I’m a huge fan of all Dahls books but this book is such a wonderful collection of stories and ideas that never fail to ignite my imagination. Dahl reminds me that although I get older, I never have to “Grow Up”.


message 39: by Sharayah (new)

Sharayah Sherry This is awesome! Thank you for putting this together!


message 40: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Jon wrote: "Seriously folks... it is just another list of books, maybe you have heard of all them maybe there are a couple new ones you could look into to see if they are up your alley. Stop pretending like th..."

Well said. I don't know why people get so angry at these posts.


message 41: by Jill (new)

Jill Stevenson Amanda wrote: "I'm looking forward to reading On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous And if anyone hasn't read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I heartedly recommend her -Americanah is a good p..."

Amanda, when you get to the part with the monkey, SKIP SEVERAL PAGES. I'm still upset when I think about that part. Other than that, it's a Fantastic book!


message 42: by Helen (new)

Helen Wow. Why are the comments here so mean? Why not just let others have their opinions?


message 43: by Carol (new)

Carol Tennis Partner is such a moving, tender book...as is My Own Country by the same author... have Kleenex handy...


message 44: by Mary (new)

Mary Billinghurst ClaraBelle wrote: "Ali Wong book and sisters first are the only ones that aren’t trash in my opinion!"

Have you read them all? If not, how can you say that?


message 45: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Jay wrote: "We'll never know if celebrities are "just like us." Their existence is scripted by a team of consultants/A&R agents, and a myriad of multi-million dollar contracts. If one of their groomers tells G..."

Right on


message 46: by Birim (new)

Birim Pachinko is such a good book, no wonder it got recommended twice here.


message 47: by Janelle (new)

Janelle Walker I didn’t think it was possible for a Goodreads comment section to resemble a YouTube one, but here we are.


message 48: by RHudsonL (new)

RHudsonL I will take book recommendations from anyone, however I am nothing like these celebrities who live safely ensconced in luxury while telling the rest of us what to do and what to think. You have GOT to be kidding me. I would love to give them a few reading recommendations starting with the Bill of Rights for example. Or My Grandfather’s Son by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for starters.


message 49: by Mitch (new)

Mitch Blas I can't believe that Jost is reccommending a book titled called "This is How You Lose her" !!! His Girlfriend Scarjo is maybe the hottest woman on the planet!!!!! Is this some sort of weird masochistic self-fulfilling phophecy??? Or is he just taunting the rest of us with his incredible good luck ????? I really think he does have a punchable face BTW :)


message 50: by Nyrone (new)

Nyrone @WilWheaton, why "The Stand"? It is a classic, in my estimation, but you profess to be a "si-fyi" geek; your words, in your book as well. So why? Why?


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