Bookish Celebrities Recommend Great Summer Reads

Posted by Cybil on May 6, 2019
We love bookish celebrities, entrepreneurs, and others who consistently bring us fantastic book recommendations. So to help you with your summer reading plans, we asked the well-known and well-read to define their idea of a perfect summer read and pick three books that fit their description.

Be sure to click on the profiles of your favorite book lovers below and follow them on Goodreads to be among the first to discover their latest book recommendations and get a peek at what they're currently reading.

Don't forget to tell us which titles you'll be adding to your Want to Read shelf!

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Trevor Noah
Host of The Daily Show and author of Born a Crime
.

"To me, a great summer read is a way for my brain to keep working while my body lies by the pool."

Here are his summer reading picks:

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Melinda Gates
Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, philanthropist, and author of The Moment of Lift
.

"To me, a great summer read is its own kind of vacation: It takes you somewhere new, encourages you to be curious, and changes the way you see the world."

Here are her summer reading picks:

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Sarah Jessica Parker
Actress and editorial director of SJP for Hogarth.

"To me, a great summer read transports you to cultures and lands previously unfamiliar, provides a respite from the perfunctory tasks of your day, often introduces you to new authors and new voices, and connects you with other readers through a shared enthusiasm for stories you are reading as well as experiences with new books. And it is the best companion for travel!"

Here are her summer reading picks:

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Kobe Bryant
NBA champion, Academy Award–winning storyteller, and coauthor of The Wizenard Series: Training Camp.

"To me, a great summer read captures your attention and transports you to a new world while teaching you life lessons about your own. It should have compassion, imagination, and vibrant storytelling."

Here are his summer reading picks:

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Jenna Bush Hager
Cohost of NBC's TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, Southern Living's editor-at-large, #ReadWithJenna, and author.

"To me, a great summer read is a book you can’t put down and find yourself staying up all night to finish."

Here are her summer reading picks:

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Bill Gates
Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, co-founder of Microsoft, philanthropist, and author.

"To me, a great summer read—whether it’s nonfiction or a novel—is fun to read while giving you new insights into the world around you."

Here are his summer reading picks:

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Rachel Hollis
Motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and author of Girl, Stop Apologizing.

"To me, a great summer read is something that helps me rise to the next level!"

Here are her summer reading picks:

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Wil Wheaton
Actor, narrator, author, and blogger at wilwheaton.net.

"To me, a great summer read is easy to pick up and put down, so you don't have to choose between reading your book and jumping into the pool."

Here are his summer reading picks:

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Check out the complete guide to Summer Reading, including:
Summer Reading Recommendations from Favorite Authors
Goodreads Staffers Share Their Summer Reading Picks


Comments Showing 1-50 of 64 (64 new)

dateDown arrow    newest ?

message 1: by C I N D L E (new)

C I N D L E I can 100% vouch for Amor Towles' 'A Gentleman in Moscow', which both Bill and Melinda Gates have on their lists above.

It was my #1 favorite and best read in all of 2018. It is in my opinion, a modern masterpiece and has earned a spot in my all time top favorites list.

Towles' writing is scholarly, the plot is thoroughly engaging, and the characters will charm and delight you. All this presented with themes that are emotionally resonant, profound, and humanly. 10 months after turning the last page, I still think about some aspect of the novel almost every day.

A superb read on all fronts! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


message 2: by Tina (new)

Tina Could not have said it better myself! It is on my top ten books of all time!


message 3: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl C I N D L E wrote: "I can 100% vouch for Amor Towles' 'A Gentleman in Moscow', which both Bill and Melinda Gates have on their lists above.

It was my #1 favorite and best read in all of 2018. It is in my opinion, a m..."


I agree. It is one of my all time favorites. I had the audio version and it was great. Will definitely read it again. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak recently and he is wonderfully engaging.


message 4: by Ana (new)

Ana Azofeifa I have this book on my list and after reading your comments it’s a prority.


message 5: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Roldán Thanks!


message 6: by Lauren (new)

Lauren YES!!! This book is AMAZING. It is the book that first comes to my mind when anyone asks for a recommendation. It was outstanding. The kind of book that makes it difficult to pick up your next book.

C I N D L E wrote: "I can 100% vouch for Amor Towles' 'A Gentleman in Moscow', which both Bill and Melinda Gates have on their lists above.

It was my #1 favorite and best read in all of 2018. It is in my opinion, a m..."



message 7: by C I N D L E (new)

C I N D L E @Tina, @Cheryl, @Lauren:

Delighted to see we're all on the same page. Pure magic, right? It is now my gold standard to which I rate my books 5-Stars, as I don't give out 5-stars unless the writing is exceptional, out of this world. A level which I think Towles has mastered with AGIM.


@Ana,

You absolutely must move it up your to-read list; worth every minute of your reading time.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan Just read it for the 2nd time and I don’t usually read books more than once. Loved it just as much if not more this time. I feel like I want to read it every year or 2, that’s how much I love this book.


message 9: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Trust Wil Wheaton!!!


message 10: by Judy (new)

Judy I've been on the fence about reading A Gentleman in Moscow, but after reading these comments, I'm going to add it to my TBR.


message 11: by Elyse (new)

Elyse That photo of SJP is awkward AF!!!

And Wil Wheaton YAY!


message 12: by Renee (new)

Renee I am going to read a few of these recommendations! I hope to see more additions to that list =)


message 13: by Hazel (new)

Hazel Thomet Yas! Trevor Noah! He probably has some good books listed their but, I bet they are political.... Guess I'll read the summaries!


message 14: by Hari (new)

Hari Brandl The author of this... blog(?)... begins it by saying we all love bookish celebrities, but, guess what? We don't all love them. There is nothing inherent in being a celebrity that makes one able to recommend reading material I might like, and, in the case of some of the celebrities she mentions, like Kobe Bryant, knowing he recommends a book (assuming he actually read the book in question) would make me think twice about picking that one up.


message 15: by sarah (new)

sarah Hari wrote: "The author of this... blog(?)... begins it by saying we all love bookish celebrities, but, guess what? We don't all love them. There is nothing inherent in being a celebrity that makes one able to ..."

Thank you, I thought I was the only one questioning bookish celebrities.


message 16: by dianne (new)

dianne Jenna Bush? Bookish? pul-eeze! Don't we have a bench a tad deeper than that? You tease me with Trevor Noah, then....never mind. Life's too short.


message 17: by C I N D L E (new)

C I N D L E Hari wrote: "The author of this... blog(?)... begins it by saying we all love bookish celebrities, but, guess what? We don't all love them. There is nothing inherent in being a celebrity that makes one able to recommend reading material I might like, and, in the case of some of the celebrities she mentions, like Kobe Bryant, knowing he recommends a book (assuming he actually read the book in question) would make me think twice about picking that one up."

Everything you said is true. However, it is the likelihood that a person of prominence and influence has the ability to convince individuals to pick up a book to read, that creates room for blog posts like these.

It's an unfortunate fact but one that is true nonetheless: famous people sell products. If Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft can get someone to pick up and read a fantastic work of literature, that's well and good. At a minimum, let's be thankful that there is not a recommendation by a Kardashian-Jenner clan member. If they read at all.

Anyhow, you love to read, these celebrities love to read. They've offered their recommendations on what they will be reading. You don't have to take their advice. No harm done either way. If every single blog post was about celebrity book recommendations, then It'll be an issue for me. One post in a sea of many is fine in the grand scheme of things.


message 18: by Beth (new)

Beth Grant DeRoos Only read non fiction so have ordered Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland and Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis.

Highly recommend Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future by Mayor Pete Buttigieg who is also a Democrat running for President.

And Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie Metzl whom on May 3rd Hari Sreenivasan of the PBS News Hour had the author on his Facebook page chat.


message 19: by Vivi (last edited May 20, 2019 02:18PM) (new)

Vivi All the books sound great I must add them to my TBR!
I am so excited to read:
1. 100 Days of Sunlight
2. Worlds Beneath
3. Something Like Gravity

Abbie Emmons’ videos are super helpful and they get me motivated to write. Also her personality brightened my day like no one else. She is my inspiration and I love her so much and I am so excited to read her first book. Abbie Emmons

I love Katie Emmons’ personality and overall vibe. Her vlogs post and overall writing brightens my day. I’m so excited to read the second book of her awesome trilogy.

Amber Smith is one of my favorite writers I read “The Last to Let Go” by her and absolutely loved it. I ended up reading her book in one day, I just couldn’t stop reading it. Her writing and characters are beautiful and relatable. Also her books always spread awareness, even in her authors website she has a section for hotlines to call if you need help (suicide, abuse, sexuality, mental health, and addiction hotlines). Amber Smith

I’m so lucky to have found out about these three amazing and inspirational people :)


message 20: by Yaaresse (new)

Yaaresse I stumbled onto Bill Gates' Gates Notes Best Books blog a while back by accident. Never thought I'd be interested in his opinion on books, but have read some terrific books that I might have passed up except that he reviewed them in detail on his blog.

I'm willing to believe all of them read the books they list except Rachel Hollis. Maybe she did, but those picks seem calculated more to prop her image and "brand" than to be books she chose to read for enjoyment.


message 21: by Ana (new)

Ana Lopes Miura Will Wheaton is the only one who understands the concept of a summer read, lol.


message 22: by Hari (last edited May 09, 2019 06:59PM) (new)

Hari Brandl C I N D L E wrote: "Hari wrote: "The author of this... blog(?)... begins it by saying we all love bookish celebrities, but, guess what? We don't all love them. There is nothing inherent in being a celebrity that makes..."

I agree with you: Americans are celebrity worshipers. We see it all the time in the news, when, because someone is famous, they get away with egregious crimes.
And you are right about celebrities being allowed to make recommendations: I just usually ignore them and listen to recommendations of thinkers and authors I respect. And, of course, rant about the celebrity thing.
By the way, I love what you said about the Kardashian-Jenner crowd.


message 23: by Gustavo (new)

Gustavo Mahler Now I'm curious about this "A Gentleman in Moscow" ...


message 24: by Jason (new)

Jason Beau The Amazon-ification of Goodreads continues with ads like these disguised as recommendations. I don’t fault them for it, but I hope there aren’t too many more changes to Goodreads.


message 25: by David (new)

David Rose Hari wrote: "The author of this... blog(?)... begins it by saying we all love bookish celebrities, but, guess what? We don't all love them. There is nothing inherent in being a celebrity that makes one able to ..."

Well said. blog(?) - yes, well, what used to be a blog before Amazon took over Goodreads is now a marketing channel, so the 'recommendations' have no more substance than to indicate what Amazon would like to sell more of.


message 26: by Carrie (new)

Carrie sarah wrote: "Hari wrote: "The author of this... blog(?)... begins it by saying we all love bookish celebrities, but, guess what? We don't all love them. There is nothing inherent in being a celebrity that makes..."

I don't mind reading about what these famous folks have on their bookshelves, but when it gets political and preachy I pay no mind. As for the list, the only one I've read is A Gentleman in Moscow and it was delightfully entertaining. Happy summer reading! ??


message 27: by Krissy (new)

Krissy Carter Beats the Devil is a really good book. Would be interested in seeing more of Wil Wheaton’s picks and/or recommendations.


message 28: by Bert (new)

Bert Krissy wrote: "Carter Beats the Devil is a really good book. Would be interested in seeing more of Wil Wheaton’s picks and/or recommendations."

Oh I agree totally! His picks actually looked like fun summer reading.

Although I also enjoyed Melinda Gates and Kobe Bryant's choices, most of the rest, not so much.


message 29: by Aamina (new)

Aamina Hazel wrote: "Yas! Trevor Noah! He probably has some good books listed their but, I bet they are political.... Guess I'll read the summaries!"

Same! I was hoping they would not be but I guess I'll still check them out. Love his book though.


message 30: by CARISSA (new)

CARISSA E Why anyone cares what Trevor Noah reads or recommends is beyond me. I don't believe anything he says and isn't he supposed to be a comedian. Can you call yourself a comedian if nothing you say is funny. Late night "comedy" has just become a laughing stock and not in a good way. None of it is funny anymore and it's all lies and activism.


message 31: by Aamina (new)

Aamina What’s wrong with activism? Humour is subjective.


message 32: by sharon walker (new)

sharon walker Looks like I'll be reading A Man in Moscow this summer. Let's see what's so extra ordinary about it.


message 33: by Yara (new)

Yara Ana wrote: "Will Wheaton is the only one who understands the concept of a summer read, lol." God, yes...Imagine being at the beach and reading The Ultimate Sales Machine...


message 34: by William (new)

William B I also loved "A Gentleman ",I would also highly recommend "Say Nothing",an engrossing account of the troubles.


message 35: by Carrie (new)

Carrie CARISSA wrote: "Why anyone cares what Trevor Noah reads or recommends is beyond me. I don't believe anything he says and isn't he supposed to be a comedian. Can you call yourself a comedian if nothing you say is f..."

Completely agree with you! ????


message 36: by Yaz (new)

Yaz Je It would be nice if someone would consider reading "The Long Road Here" by Patricia Jé, a self published true story of triumph over extreme child abuse, published by Authorhouse. It is easy to give attention and accolades to books penned by people already famous, but what about the supposedly "unknowns" whose stories are just as much, if not more, captivating and inspiring? Try stepping outside the box for once and give attention to someone's life account that you've never met.


message 37: by Shruti (new)

Shruti Chhabra I am reading Everything is Fuck#d by Mark Manson. Any idea how it is???


message 38: by Hazel (new)

Hazel Thomet Aamina wrote: "Hazel wrote: "Yas! Trevor Noah! He probably has some good books listed their but, I bet they are political.... Guess I'll read the summaries!"

Same! I was hoping they would not be but I guess I'll..."
Have you watched any of his shows? They are AMAZING!


message 39: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Elyse wrote: "That photo of SJP is awkward AF!!!

And Wil Wheaton YAY!"


LOVE Wil Wheaton!


message 40: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Markkanen Gentleman in Moscow my fav book that I read in 2018.


message 41: by Sole (new)

Sole Ohh! I’ve just purchased A Gentleman in Moscow due to a SJP recommendation, but reading all your comments has put it on top of the pile in my night table. No wonder why I indulged myself buying it Hardback... pure magic, you said?


message 42: by Bert (last edited May 26, 2019 01:06AM) (new)

Bert [Quoted comment removed.]

Would love to see the source for this.


message 43: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Marianne wrote: "Gentleman in Moscow my fav book that I read in 2018."

Me too.


message 44: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl CARISSA wrote: "Why anyone cares what Trevor Noah reads or recommends is beyond me. I don't believe anything he says and isn't he supposed to be a comedian. Can you call yourself a comedian if nothing you say is f..."

Your political views are loud and clear. But I will say you don’t have to agree with someone to discount everything they say. It is a big problem for us right now as a society. I’m hoping not to offend, but make a point that all sides have points of views on all kinds of subjects to be heard.


message 45: by Aamina (new)

Aamina ^ amen


message 46: by Loel (new)

Loel I could care less what any "celebrity" has read just because they are a "celebrity". I care more what a person has to say once they have read a book/novel and then writes a thoughtful, poignant, provoking, in depth, meaningful review and then I can decide from their giving of time, if I want to read the book or not. I have found many a new author that I would not have found just because I found a random review from some unknown that took the time to put down in words his/her thoughtful review of a book. Just because Sarah J. Parker is reading "What's Up Doc" or "The Shining", does not make me want to read them. Or Trevor Noah, stating he is reading those political novels, I call BS, because he is just listing them to make it look like he knows what he's doing on Comedy Central, but he doesn't. That is all on que cards. Look, I can act, my youngest is quite the talented young actress, but since we've never been on the big (or little) screen, we can't just recommend a book and thousands will read it and that is ok. I would rather write reviews, that will hopefully catch someones eye, like others have mine, and that pulls some into a few great books. People need to hold more credit to the "common person" and not just people that society hold up on a pedestal.


message 47: by Denise (new)

Denise This book is so well-crafted and the story just pulls you in. One of my favorites!


message 48: by Robin (last edited Jun 04, 2019 06:52AM) (new)

Robin The thing about Trevor Noah, as was true about John Stewart before him, is that in addition to his satire, which you may or may not care for, he regularly interviews serious authors and he actually reads their books before the interviews. He makes an effort to include authors of diverse backgrounds as well. This is a great service to an audience that generally doesn't read book reviews or even belong to Goodreads. You may not agree with the slant some books take, but I think anything that gets young people reading is a plus.


message 49: by JH (new)

JH Small C I N D L E wrote: "I can 100% vouch for Amor Towles' 'A Gentleman in Moscow', which both Bill and Melinda Gates have on their lists above.

It was my #1 favorite and best read in all of 2018. It is in my opinion, a m..."


A beautiful, lyrical composition by Towles. I wished it would have gone on for another decade or more.


message 50: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer It almost pains me that Kobe recommended Black Leopard Red Wolf. It is supposed to be very good. I would hate someone to discount it because of Bryant's opinion. I am partially through it but I had to give it back to the library. But I'm on the request list again!


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