"In middle school and high school I reread The Virgin Suicides every summer. I can’t un-blur the lines between the moments and visuals from the book, and the memories of my own life at that time." - Tavi Gevinson
"I'm not typically interested in poetry, but I discovered The Flowers of Evil in high school as I was just becoming a goth and getting into Trent Reznor – and everyone else was getting into the Beat poets, who I find comparably boring if we're going to discuss druggy, surrealist poetry. This work is so visceral, filthy and gorgeously written. It feels like a distillation of the opium scenes from Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, but more abstract and extensively documented. This one poem is just a disgusting, sexual description of a corpse that is permanently burned into my mind." - Grimes
"I really relate to the particular type of mental instability that Dostoyevsky describes in pretty much all of his work. A character starts talking, and things start getting out of control and become increasingly animated, intense and disturbing. It reads like an extreme version of how I feel whenever I have to interact with humans. The Idiot is probably my favourite of his works, because I love Nastasya Filipovna, Aglaya Ivanovna Epanchin, Rogozhin... I think a lot of my friends think I'm a bit like Nastasya! Anyway, it's the most cartoonish and absurd of everything I've read by Dostoyevsky, and the best distillation of insanity as a virtue. A Baz Luhrmann-esque treatment of this book would make an incredible film." - Grimes
"This was the first novel I ever read. Actually, it was read to me by my mother. We started it when I was 10 years old. The novel starts out with a young Jane, about the age I was at the time, so I was drawn in, in such a visceral way.
It was the moment I really started to understand, from my little bed in a room with strawberry wallpaper, that there was a scope to the world, a past and future, that would be there for the learning and for the taking. It was a powerful and deep experience, being read those words, that story with all of its heavy imagery and emotion." - Gwyneth Paltrow
"One of my all-time favorite novels is Crime And Punishment. I read it in high school, and for some terrifying reason, I really identified with Raskolnikov. It's so funny, because he sort of behaves amorally, but he has an incredible sense of right and wrong. Obviously, I couldn't identify with him as a killer, but I could understand what it means to know that something's wrong but do it anyway. I was 17 when I read it, and the feeling of having betrayed one's sense of right and wrong — and then living with the consequences — was something that I could completely identify with." - Gwyneth Paltrow
[Donald Sutherland and I] were talking about Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass, and he mentioned this novel, which he gave me on his last day of shooting. I really wasn't expecting to like it. I thought I wouldn't want to finish an 800-page book, but then I started slowing down and reading the same chapters over and over. You fall in love with the characters; you grow up with them." - Jennifer Lawrence
"I could never write the way Colette did. I've never found anything to match her descriptive passages, ever. She was a very sensual writer, and way beyond her time. Chéri is a love story between a very spoiled young man and his mistress who has "been there, done that." He's self-centered and vicious, and she ultimately turns out to be very noble. The final scene is incredibly moving; it makes me cry. I absolutely bow to Colette, but I think if she could hear me, she would probably tell me where to get lost, because she was that kind of woman." - J.K. Rowling
"I didn't see myself in any of the characters in particular but I loved the setting and the way Henry James writes about people." - Katie Holmes
"I initially chafed at [William] Strunk and [E.B.] White’s ideas. Once I accepted that you had to learn the rules before you could break them, I set about understanding the true and ordered nature of the universe of writing. Perhaps the best thing in the book was what it tried to teach me not to do. Their caution against overwriting, overstating and injecting opinions was sorely needed.
This book is an essential tool. It has been of great use to me and is probably responsible for my best writing. I owe my successes to Strunk and White; only the mistakes are mine." - Ben Affleck
"The two very idealistic Schlegel sisters live together in London in the early 20th century. The novel is about the difference between ideas and real life and how both sisters learn to live—and learn to love. I first read it as a teenager, and then I reread it this past Christmas. Margaret and Helen are such unusual characters: two women struggling to put their morals and ideals into practice. And what's beautiful and interesting are their failures." - Rachel Weisz
"When I was about 13, I became very interested in classic Greek tragedies, and I think these represent the best of them. They combine what we'd identify as modern psychology with the concept of destiny. It's impossible to forget these characters—Medea, for instance, who kills her own beloved children when faced with her husband's betrayal. These are stories of such passion." - Jodie Foster
"I continue reading and I go on reading because it's fascinating. [The Origin of Species] is not an atheistic book. [It was] written by a brilliant scientist. - Anthony Hopkins
"When life goes bonkers, and I start to feel skittery-jittery, I find nature medicinal. I'm happiest when I stumble upon dense, cool patches of moist green moss. So this book—about Dillard's year observing the seasons—is almost scriptural. I feel drunk when I read it, spiritually tipsy.
In one sublime passage, she talks about how in order to see things in all their dazzle and beauty you've got to be still. I've always found that paragraph very poignant, because in the age of high-speed Internet, fast food, and express checkouts, we attack everything at breakneck speed—so many people cannot, will not, and do not know how to be still." - Vera Farmiga
“I often reread [Joseph Conrad’s] Victory, which is maybe my favorite book in the world… The story is told thirdhand. It’s not a story the narrator even heard from someone who experienced it. The narrator seems to have heard it from people he runs into around the Malacca Strait. So there’s this fantastic distancing of the narrative, except that when you’re in the middle of it, it remains very immediate. It’s incredibly skillful. I have never started a novel — I mean except the first, when I was starting a novel just to start a novel — I’ve never written one without rereading Victory. It opens up the possibilities of a novel. It makes it seem worth doing.” - Joan Didion
"I've rediscovered this book because I've been reading it to my daughter. It's fantastically unpleasant, involving, as it does, the kidnapping of baby rabbits with a view to eating them. The rabbits who go to rescue the bunnies at Mr. Tod's sit at the back of the house as the sun goes down with all these unpleasant things, like rabbit skulls, lying around. They're in a dreadful place, in the heart of enemy country. Reading it as an adult is a great treat, but looking back, I see that it started me on all my childhood reading—C.S. Lewis, Alan Garner, Joan Aiken, the people I read with such compulsion." - Emma Thompson
"This novel was handed to me on a silver platter by my husband, who said, "You cannot die without reading this." I keep coming back to it because it's so detailed in recording the inner life of Dick Diver, the central character. His yearning—to save his mentally unstable wife, Nicole—just keeps unfolding. That aching is quite destructive but also so understandable. The word I think of with this story is "fragile." I was utterly struck by the fineness of Fitzgerald's writing and the timelessness of Dick and Nicole's failures." - Cate Blanchett
"I absolutely fell in love with this book. I don't think I got out of bed for three days - I was just eating it up. My favorite story line was the one between Deanna and Eddie Bondo. I found that totally hot. It was one of the hottest love stories I've ever read." - Rachel McAdams
"I read the book a lot. I've been obsessed by the book since I was about 7. I had all the Austen series on book tape. I was obsessed with the BBC version when I was about 10 or 11. I read the book finally when I was about 14 and got obsessed again." - Keira Knightley