How well do you know your favorite author, J.K. Rowling? You probably have the basic Rowling facts down pat — she's from Gloucestershire, England, she came up with the idea for the Harry Potter books while riding a train from Manchester to London, and the "K" in her name comes from her grandmother, Kathleen, but it isn't part of Rowling's legal name. If you really know Rowling, then you might also know that she killed Hedwig to signify the end of Harry's innocence, and that we're all just lucky that she decided not to kill Ron, even though she thought about it.
But if you really want to get to know someone, you need to find out what she reads. Nothing is more telling than a person's bookshelf, and J.K. Rowling's reading preferences say a lot about her. Her interests include classics, fairytales, biographies, and modern fiction. She's a reader who seems to appreciate a good story a lot, and good writing even more. You can even see where she found inspiration for characters, story, and settings in the pages of her reading list.
If you thought her writing was good, wait until you see her taste in books. Here are 9 reads that J.K. Rowling loves that you will adore, too:
Emma by Jane Austen
Like Virginia Woolf did, J.K. Rowling appreciates Jane Austen's books for her superior writing skills. On Oprah.com, she named Emma as one of her favorite books. A funny, charming story of a romance and manners, Emma has characters to fall in love with and a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading. If you like great writing without too much distracting flair, then you'll love Emma, too. That is, of course, if you don't already.
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
A children's book as magical as the Harry Potter series itself, Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse is one of Rowling's favorite childhood novels. The story of an orphaned little girl who finds wonder and mystery at her uncle's manor is sweet, sentimental, and inspiring. You'll love this heartwarming book, even if you're "too old" for it.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Another book for young readers, I Capture the Castle is the story of the Mortmain children and their parents who live in a rented castle on the English countryside. Narrated by a young and aspiring writer, Cassandra, it's a heartfelt and relatable tale of love, family, and growing up. Rowling revealed on her website's FAQs page that it was one of her favorite books growing up.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearn Goodwin
She may be famous for her fantasy writing, but J.K. Rowling loves facts and history. One of her favorite and somewhat recently published books, according to her interview with The New York Times' "By the Book," is Team of Rivals by celebrated historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is a captivating biography of Abraham Lincoln and his political triumph over three talented rivals. When Rowling met Goodwin at an author reception, she was as excited as we would be to meet Rowling. Even famous authors have fangirl moments.
The Collected Stories of Colette by Colette
Colette, a controversial French author well known for her open sexuality, was a bold and brilliant, not to mention sensual, novelist of late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Her novels and stories, most about the relationships between women and men, are intimate and entirely original. J.K. Rowling revealed that if she could meet any writer, dead or alive, she'd chose Colette — that is, if it weren't for Charles Dickens. Not only that, but Rowling also said she'd chose her collection as one of three books she would bring to a desert island. If that's not a big enough endorsement, I don't know what is.
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle
Despite its darker subject matter — love and violence — The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is an uplifting story of strength and courage of one woman's struggle to escape an abusive husband and secure a happy future. Rowling told O, The Oprah Magazine that Irish author Roddy Doyle is her favorite living author, and The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is one of her most-loved books. Told in a touching and honest voice, there's no doubt you won't fall in love with Doyle's novel, too.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Rowling is an avid Shakespeare-lover, and she's revealed her favorite: Macbeth. Fans of HP will see a few similarities between Rowling's favorite work and her own — magic, witches, and prophecies, to name a few. Macbeth is already a beloved classic, so if this one isn't on your list of favorites, maybe it's time you added it.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
If Hermione Granger is your personal hero, than you can relate to J.K. Rowling's love for Jo March and Little Women . The author not only relates to Louisa May Alcott's heroine, both for her passion for writing and general disposition, but found inspiration in the book as well. Perhaps it's time to revisit this classic to find out if you love it as much as Rowling, because you should.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
That's right, even J.K. Rowling loves J.K. Rowling, or at least she makes herself cry, too. She admitted to bawling her eyes out while writing, editing, and rereading The Casual Vacancy . That's some kind of endorsement, right?