Category Archives: What They’re Reading

What They’re Reading

We read today that one of the actors from the Harry Potter film series has passed away. Richard Griffiths–who played Uncle Vernon Dursley, died of complications after heart surgery. This got us thinking fondly about the Harry Potter book series and all of the wonderful characters J.K. Rowling created, even smaller ones like Vernon Dursley were still great ones. We have yet to do a What They’re Reading segment about J.K. Rowling, so now seems like a fitting time, so here we go…

J.K. (Joanne) Rowling, being a the great writer that she is, is also an avid reader–so she has more than just one favorite. I guess when you’ve sold as many books as she has, you’re entitled. Some of her absolute favorites that you can find on her bookshelf are Emma by Jane Austen, anything written by her favorite author Roddy Doyle, Cheri by Colette, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit, and Skellig by David Almond. It’s no surprise to us that most of her favorites are children’s books!

Emma

CheriThe Little White HorseThe Story of The Treasure Seekers

 

 

 

 

J.K. Rowling is a British novelist, best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. They have become the best-selling book series in history, and been the basis for a series of films which have also become the highest-grossing film series in history.

JK Rowling

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What They’re Reading

This week’s “What They’re Reading” is about one of our favorite actors Tom Hanks. It’s awards season, and although he’s not nominated for anything, he is just one of those iconic actors whose movies we love. His favorite book is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. In Cold Blood has been a newsworthy item as of late, as it was recently discovered that the story that Truman painted as absolutely factual was, according to newly discovered FBI records, more embellished than originally believed. Evidence is still coming to light, on what was true in the case and what was not, but the book still tells the chilling tale of a very true murder in a small Kansas town.

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged thirty-three, and Perry Edward Smith, aged thirty-six, were hanged from the crime on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansa.In Cold Blood is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people. The detached yet penetrating account of the savage and senseless murder of a family has been hailed as a masterpiece.

Tom Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks is known for his roles in Apollo 13BigThat Thing You Do!The Green MileYou’ve Got MailSleepless in Seattle, Catch Me If You Can, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, A League of Their Own, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, as well as animated films like the Toy Story film series and The Polar Express.

He has earned and been nominated for numerous awards during his career, including winning a Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia and a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a People’s Choice Award for Best Actor for his role in Forrest Gump, and earning the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the BAFTAs. Hanks is also known for his collaboration with film director Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan and the mini-series Band of Brothers, which launched Hanks also as a successful director, producer and writer.

As of 2012, Hanks’ films have grossed over $4.2 billion at the United States box office alone, and over $8.5 billion worldwide making him the highest all-time box office star.

Tom HanksIn Cold Blood

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What They’re Reading

Since this week we had Valentine’s Day, we thought a romance writer would be a natural choice, so we chose the queen of romance writers Danielle Steel. Although, she has two favorite books, so we had to feature them both. One she said was a favorite from growing up and the other she read when she was 18 and inspired her to write her first book at 19.

Her favorite childhood book was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is an extraordinary coming-of-age story featuring one of the most independent and strong-willed female protagonists in all of literature. Poor and plain, Jane Eyre begins life as a lonely orphan in the household of her hateful aunt. Despite the oppression she endures at home, and the later torture of boarding school, Jane manages to emerge with her spirit and integrity unbroken. She becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she finds herself falling in love with her employer—the dark, impassioned Mr. Rochester. But an explosive secret tears apart their relationship, forcing Jane to face poverty and isolation once again.

The novel that inspired Steel to begin her writing career is Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan. Bonjour Tristesse is a bittersweet tale narrated by Cécile, a seventeen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, whose meddling in her father’s love life leads to tragic consequences. Freed from boarding school, Cécile lives in unchecked enjoyment with her youngish, widowed father — an affectionate rogue, dissolute and promiscuous. Having accepted the constantly changing women in his life, Cécile pursues a sexual conquest of her own with a “tall and almost beautiful” law student. Then, a new woman appears in her father’s life. Feeling threatened but empowered, Cécile sets in motion a devastating plan that claims a surprising victim.

Danielle Steel is an American novelist, currently the bestselling author alive and the fourth bestselling author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold. Based in California for most of her career, Steel has produced several books a year, often juggling up to five projects at once. All her novels have been bestsellers, including those issued in hardback. Her formula is fairly consistent, often involving rich families facing a crisis, threatened by dark elements such as jail, fraud, blackmail and suicide.

Steel has also published children’s fiction and poetry, as well as raising funds for the treatment of mental illness. Her books have been translated into 28 languages, with 22 adapted for television, including two that have received Golden Globe nominations.

danielle steel

Jane Eyrebonjour tristesse

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What They’re Reading

If you were anywhere near a television or the internet in the past week, you will have no problem understanding our pick for ‘What They’re Reading’ this round, it’s Superbowl performing artist Beyonce Knowles! She sang so well at the superbowl halftime show the lights went out! (We kid clearly, but she did a stellar job!) So this week, we will tell you her favorite book is J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America’s literary treasures. Jerome David Salinger was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature.

Beyonce Knowles is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. Beyonce’s work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including 16 Grammy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Knowles has sold over 13 million albums in the United States and over 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

BeyonceCatcher in the Rye

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What They’re Reading

Our “What They’re Reading” choice this week goes hand in hand with his second inauguration this upcoming week. Yep, you guessed it Barack Obama. His favorite book is Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

This new version of Morrison’s 1977 novel Song of Solomon is a fitting reminder of her early creative mastery. Song of Solomon is a powerful, sensual, and poetic exploration of four generations of a family mistakenly named Dead. Told through the eyes of “Milkman,” a rare male protagonist in Morrison’s wonderful catalog of unforgettable characters, we discover a century’s worth of secrets, ghosts, and troubles. Milkman is faced with resolving the differing memories of his parents and his mysterious aunt Pilate, while questioning the historically charged realities thrown at him by the death of real-life victims of racism like Emmett Till as viewed by his lifelong friend Guitar. Lynne Thigpen was born to tell the author’s stories, catching every lyrical note and each painful cry. A perfect marriage of author and reader, this will win new audiences and reassure audio veterans that by listening to books one truly can appreciate the magic of storytelling.

Barack Obama is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold office.

Young Obama in Library

SongOfSolomon

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What They’re Reading

Since Anne Hathaway won a Critic’s Choice award last night and has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in Les Miserables this week, we decided to add the honor of being our second “What They’re Reading ” celebrity to her growing list of accolades. Anne’s favorite book is  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsen Burnett.

Though Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote more than forty books, none remains so popular as her miraculous and magical masterpiece,The Secret Garden. In the book, Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor, on the Yorkshire moors, to live with her uncle after her parents die of cholera. There she discovers her sickly cousin Colin, both love no one because they have never been loved. They are the book’s spiritual secret gardens, needing only the right kind of care to bloom into lovely children. Mary also discovers a literal secret garden, hidden behind a locked gate on her uncle’s estate, neglected for the ten years since Colin’s birth and his mother’s death. Together with a local child named Dickon, Mary and Colin transform the garden into a paradise bursting with life and color. Through their newfound mutual love of nature, they nurture each other, until they are brought back to health and happiness.

Anne Hathaway is an American actress and musician. She came to prominence after playing Mia Thermopolis in the Disney film The Princess Diaries. Since then, Hathaway has starred in dramatic films such as Brokeback MountainThe Devil Wears Prada, Becoming JaneAlice in WonderlandLove and Other Drugs, The Dark Knight Rises, and Les Misérables, for which she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

The Secret GardenAnne Hathaway

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What They’re Reading

As 2013 begins, we say in with the new! We’ve got all kinds of new things in store for you this year starting with a new segment for our blog called “What They’re Reading.” Each week we’ll highlight a notable person, politician, celebrity, athlete or author and tell you their favorite book! It’s a fun insight into what other people are reading or have read since we can’t spy on their personal bookshelves. So we thought we’d start off with one of the better known authors of our generation, Stephen King. His favorite book is Lord of the Flies by William Goulding.

If you’re not already familiar with it, the classic tale tells the story of a group of English school boys who are left stranded on an unpopulated island, and who must confront not only the defects of their society but the defects of their own natures. The book first appeared in 1954 it received unprecedented reviews for a first novel by a newcomer.

Stephen King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books.

Stephen KingLord of the Flies

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