15 Famous Readers Who Share Your Passion For Literature
Do you carry a book with you wherever you go? Are you constantly tired in the morning because you stayed up too late reading the night before? Would you rather sit at home with a new novel than go out with old friends? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then chances are you're a true bookworm, and you are not alone in your passion. In fact, some of the biggest readers in history are actually famous political, historical, and pop culture figures you might all ready know.
When your teachers and parents were telling you that reading was good for you all those years ago, they weren't lying. As it turns out, some of the most accomplished famous people are huge book-lovers, and many of them credit reading as a key to their success. Whether a story from their childhood inspired them to chose their career, a poetry collection from their youth shaped their world view, or the books of their adulthood help keep them informed and educated, everyone from Hollywood's biggest actresses to history's most successful entrepreneurs have a lot to thank books for. (See, stars are just like us, right down to our nerdy hobbies.)
From presidents and politicians to actors and musicians, here are 15 of the biggest famous readers of all time.
It's no secret that presidents love to read, but few had a passion for books as great as Abraham Lincoln. Despite having limited educational opportunities, he taught himself how to read, and was known to walk long distances just to borrow a book. His favorites included Robinson Crusoe, Pilgrim's Progress, and Aesop's Fable.
According to many historians, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most well-read men in history. He was a huge advocate for reading and he even wrote a 1916 memoir titled a Book-Lover's Holidays in the Open, in which he described his love of reading and all of the ways reading benefits him. He had a habit of reading a wide range of books, from Macbeth and Twelfth Night to Tom Sawyer and The Pickwick Papers.
Politicians certainly love their books, but few loved them as much as the United Kingdom's famed Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. He was a voracious reader who said literature greatly influenced his political and world views, and he loved any opportunity to interact with authors and writers. His reading list was long and diverse, and it included The Time Machine, Exodus, Gone with the Wind, and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Queen Elizabeth I
According to historians, when Queen Elizabeth I wasn't busy slaying the matriarchy, she happily spent her free time with her nose in a book. A truly skilled scholar, she read works in Latin and French, and later in her life, translated Classic works into English for others to enjoy. Apparently, the Queen was a book nerd before the term even existed.
There is a reason book-lovers are often called Einsteins: because the famed scientist loved to read, too. When he wasn't occupied solving the universe's greatest mysteries, he let himself unwind with books like Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He might not have been a beach reader, but he certainly loved books.
Like her bookish heroine, Jane Austen loved books and reading. Jane's father was an Oxford educated clergyman with access to a wide variety of reading material, and according to some accounts, he boasted about their family's 64 square feet of books. Though she seemed to prefer the classics, like Shakespeare and Milton, Austen also enjoyed her contemporaries, including Ann Radcliffe and Sir Walter Scott.
If you want to be one of the wealthiest people in the world, you're going to have to step up your reading game, because according to Warren Buffet, his voracious book consumption has helped him make his greatest financial decisions. He famously said that the key to success was reading "500 pages" of material every day. "That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest," he said. "All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
You may not remember when Amazon launched as an online book company, but the online giant's founder did build his empire on his passion: reading. He might use an eReader now, but Jeff Bezos still enjoys reading for pleasure and for business. He credits titles like The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. with helping him form his business style.
If you think athletes don't like books too, you're wrong: according to basketball star LeBron James, reading actually benefits athletes tremendously. He was famously photographed reading the Hunger Games series, and since has spoken out about how books have become an essential part of the player's own pregame ritual, and one he encourages other teammates to try.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg reads a lot more than angry political posts on her company's social platform. The author and tech executive also enjoys reading actual books, and encourages other women to do the same. Among the seven powerful books Sandberg wants all women to read are Tina Fey's Bossypants and Michael Lewis's Home Game.
Possibly the most bookish woman in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon is a champion of books and reading. Not only is she dedicated to bringing books to the big and small screen, including Big Little Lies, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Ashley's War, but she also has her own book club on Instagram, RW Book Club. Recent recommendations include The Last Mrs. Parrish, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and The Alice Network.
Like many other great business people, Bill Gates is an avid reader and passionate book-lover. On his blog earlier this month, the second wealthiest person alive shared his belief that "books are the best way to explore new topics that interest you,” along with his top 2017 reads: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Energy and Civilization, A History by Vaclav Smil.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker's love for books runs so deep, she even launched her own line of fiction books, SJP for Hogarth. Her first acquisition, Fatima Farheen Mirza's debut A Place for Us, is due out in June 2018. But Parker doesn't just like to help authors publish books, she loves to simply read them too. She often shares what she is reading on Instagram, and recent recommendations include Stay with Me, Exit West, and The Mothers.
If ever you need a book recommendation, look no further than Oprah's extensive library. For years, she has been sharing her love of reading with her fans, and encouraging droves of Americans to put their library cards to good use. While she probably has hundreds of favorite reads, Oprah's top choices from the last two decades include The Poisonwood Bible, Night, and The Bluest Eye.
Activist and feminist icon Malala Yousafzai's passion for reading became known around the world when she risked her life to promote girls' ability to do just that. An author in her own right, Malala is a voracious reader when she isn't busy writing or working on behalf of women's rights. According to her New York Times "By the Book" interview, she enjoys contemporary authors like Khaled Hosseini and Deborah Ellis, as well as classics like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Little Prince.