17 Celebrity-Loved Books to Read Right Now

Get recommendations from Yara Shahidi, Reese Witherspoon, Jameela Jamil, Tom Hanks, Chris Pratt and more!

By Carly Milne, Carolin Lehmann Aug 16, 2020 10:00 AMTags
EComm: Books Celebs Love, Yara Shahidi, Chris Pratt, Jameela JamilE! illustration

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Need a new book recommendation? Well grab some tea and a blanket because your favorite celebs want you to hear about their own most-loved reads. Hey, if you're a fan of their work, you'll surely love their taste in books too, right?

So below, shop the titles you need to add to your bookshelf according to Yara Shahidi, Reese Witherspoon, Jameela JamilTom Hanks, Ellen Pompeo, Queen Latifah, Chris Pratt and more, all available on your Kindle and Audible too!

August 2020 Celeb Book Club Picks from Jenna Bush Hager, Reese Witherspoon & More

Hunger by Roxane Gay

"I think the reason this book is so important is because nobody writes like this," The Good Place star Jameela Jamil said of this groundbreaking memoir on Book Shook, a Hello Sunshine x Mailchimp short-form series where women discuss the books that truly moved them. "What she's writing about is so sensitive, reading it hurt. But it also helped heal me because it was the first time I've ever felt less alone in my experience."

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

"Baldwin, for me, is not only a reminder for the progress that's been made prior to me being on this planet, he's also a reminder whenever I read him of the importance to committing to making progress," Yara Shahidi told Book Shook of this resonant Civil Rights classic.

The Measure of Our Success by Marian Wright Edelman

"One of the lessons I really learned from her book is that she talks a lot about her mothering and that being a mother doesn't mean just taking care of your own children, it means taking care of the community's children," Reese Witherspoon says on Book Shook about this powerful book she read on her way to college.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

You can't go wrong with this No. 1 New York Times bestselling novel detailing the experience of women during World War II. It has also been turned into a movie, set to be released later this year. Tim McGraw is a big fan, telling fellow bookworm Jenna Bush Hager: "It's one of my favorite books ever. I cried like a baby for about two hours at the end of it. All of my kids have read it, my wife...everybody loves that book."

More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth

This New York Times bestseller by the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and current Project Runway judge Elaine Welteroth is beloved by Reese Witherspoon, Karlie Kloss, Malala Yousafza and more. Its her own story of climbing the ranks of the fashion and journalism industries as a black woman. "Elaine Welteroth has written the ultimate guide for how to come into your own, on your own terms," Kloss endorsed. "Packed with honesty and warmth, More Than Enough is a must read for women of all ages and walks of life."

The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder

This is the true story of sorority girl Tracy Walder graduating from college and joining the CIA (and then later the FBI). Ellen Pompeo is a fan—so much so that she's developing the book into a series for ABC. "Tracy Walder has a unique combination of immense courage along with compassion and humanity...This book will be an inspiration to anyone who picks it up," Pompeo said.

Jay-Z Made In America by Michael Eric Dyson

Celebs including Queen LatifahTyler PerryCommon, Spike Lee, Al Sharpton and Tamron Hall love this book about Jay-Z's career written by sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson. "Jay-Z is one of the most remarkable figures of our time," Perry shared. "I identify with him as a person who started poor but who rose high to conquer our realms on our own terms. This brilliant work probes every dimension of this iconic American original." 

The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch

Ban.do founder and chief creative officer Jen Gotch shares how struggling with mental health issues has not stopped her from becoming a boss business woman in The Upside of Being Down. "[Gotch] shares her wisdom and unique perspective on life and offers advice she has learned through founding the joyful and optimistic lifestyle brand, Ban.do, and being a BOSS (who cries at work), but ALSO through her own struggles with mental illness, personal setbacks, and managing to come out on the other side with optimism firmly intact," fan Busy Phillips said on Instagram. "She wrote a memoir disguised as a self-help book—or maybe she wrote a self-help book disguised as a memoir? Either way, as far as I'm concerned it's required reading for 2020."

That Was Awkward by Emily Flake

Looking for a laugh? Pick up That Was Awkward, a book of illustrations, observations, and advice by New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake. Flake chronicles the hilarious awkwardness of two humans trying to connect, and Molly Ringwald can't get enough. "It isn't hard to recognize yourself—and everyone you know—in these hilarious portraits of awkward huggers," Ringwald said. "Sincerely funny, sly and subversive, Emily Flake perfectly captures the plight of our perpetually embarrassing rituals of connection."

Laugh Lines by Alan Zweibel

You're going to have to practice some patience with this one: Laugh Lines doesn't come out until April 14, 2020, but if its celeb endorsements from Larry DavidSarah Silverman, Judd Apatow, Steve Martin and more are any indication, you're going to want to pre-order it ASAP. This memoir is about Alan Zweibel's comedy career, from writing for Saturday Night Live to working on Curb Your Enthusiasm and more. He also interviews some of his famous friends in the book, like Sarah Silverman to Judd Apatow. "Alan Zweibel is the original man behind the man!" Silverman said. "I don't have enough fingers to count how many people would not be where they are without Alan Zweibel. (I only have four fingers, but still...)"

The Terminal List by Jack Carr

Chris Pratt is going to be starring in a TV show inspired by The Terminal List, a political thriller written by former Navy SEAL Jack Carr about a Navy SEAL who learns that the American government is actually behind the deaths of his entire team. If you love this read and can't get enough, don't worry: There are two more books that follow—True Believer and Savage Son, which comes out this month. 

Mercy House by Alena Dillon

Amy Schumer loves this novel about a group of nuns wanting to protect the safe haven they've built for the abused and abandoned, even though many of their methods are forbidden by the Catholic Church. She describes the book as "a life-altering debut featuring fierce, funny, and irreverent women who battle the most powerful institution in the world." "This is the book we've all been waiting for," she endorsed.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Seth Meyers is a huge fan of this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about World War II. It follows two children as they try to survive the devastation of the war. "If you've never read this book now is a great time not just because it's wonderful but because there are a lot of short chapters so if you're a parent thinking, 'how the hell am I supposed to read a book with everything else going on,' just know if you can find ten minutes you're banging out a chapter maybe two, depending on how fast a reader you are," Meyers said on Instagram.

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Known as one of sci-fi's most powerful voices, New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson's book about our first voyage beyond the solar system caught the attention of the one and only Tom Hanks. "What a saga!" he enthused on Twitter. "SciFi with honest, complex humanity, physics, biology, sociology. Never had the feeling I experienced on page 321. K. S. Robinson, you rocked our 'world.'" Robinson has also won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards.

My Dark Vanessa: A Novel by Kate Elizabeth Russell

An intense tale of the juxtaposition of memory and trauma that examines issues of agency, consent, complicity and victimhood, My Dark Vanessa has won accolades from The Washington Post, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Elle and more, including an Editor's Choice pick from The New York Times Book Review. Kate Elizabeth Russell's debut novel also won raves from Sarah Jessica Parker, who shared on Instagram that she was reading the book with "pages turning at mach speed."

Hex: A Novel by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

If you're looking for a new tome to sink into, Jenny Slate has an enthusiastic suggestion in this novel by author Rebecca Dinerstein Knight. "Peeking out to recommend that you spend time with this wonderful book by my friend @rebeccadinerstein," she shared on Instagram. "I have my hardcover here and I can't wait for you to have it too! It's smart and very fun and a wonderful thing to read while you are at home and want to fill your mind with beautiful and perfect language, written by a brilliant sweetheart!" A powerful exploration of desire, ambition, and a tangled web of relationships that leads to a domino effect of affairs and heartbreak, Knight's book was also a Vulture, LitHub, and PureWow Most Anticipated Book of 2020.

What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All of Us? Illustrated by Alison Hawkins

What if a book could change the way we look at the world, and help those in need at the same time? That's the goal with inclusive fashion retailer Universal Standard's ‘What Would Fashion Look Like if it Included All of Us?', which aims to dismantle stereotypes of beauty and let future generations redefine how they see the world. Not only does it share a great message, but 100% of the proceeds of the book will be donated to No Kid HungryZac Posen shouted the book out on his Instagram, saying, "I have always been an advocate for diversity and inclusivity so it is my pleasure to share with you @universalstandard book 'What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us?' 100% of profits donated to #SAVEWITHSTORIES in partnership with @savethechildren and @nokidhungry." You can pre-order it now, or download a digital copy.

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—Originally published April 6, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. PT