“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” — Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars, created a list of books in which she considered essential reading material prior to her untimely death in 2016. It remains a must-read list for anyone looking to gain a modicum of the actor’s knowledge.
Fisher, whose creativity knew no bounds, enjoyed a successful stint in comedy alongside her critically acclaimed acting career. On top of all that, Fisher’s lifelong thirst for literature resulted in her authoring seven books which included four complete novels.
“She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colourful personality that everyone loved,” George Lucas once said of Fisher. “In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess—feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think.”
Fisher once revealed that while growing up as a young child she would bury herself in literature, further determining her love for language as she would hide away reading classic literature and writing poetry. Her desire to devour endless books resulted in her family giving her a nickname of ‘The Bookworm’ and, as she grew older, her desire to submerge herself grew stronger yet.
In an article written for This Week, Fisher detailed six books which she held dearest to her throughout he life.
See the full list, below.
6 – Middlemarch by George Eliot
“One of the greatest books ever written by a woman, especially in those early days,” Fisher wrote in her article. “Although Mary Anne Evans gave herself a male pen name, she showed incredible ambition and scope in her writing—the world she created, the characters she imagined. I love that line in the book that reads: ‘The really delightful marriage must be that where your husband was a sort of father, and could teach you Hebrew, if you wished it’.
“It was hard to be a woman in those days, but her storytelling was exceptional.”
5 – Naked by David Sedaris
Fisher said: “This collection of personal essays made me laugh as hard as any book I’ve ever read.
“I also discovered that I needed glasses when reading this, but still it’s one of the funniest books ever.”
4 – Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
“I love her use of spare narrative throughout this story about an unfulfilled actress looking for purpose in her life,” Fisher wrote. “I admired the style then and have tried to pattern some of my own writing in that fashion.”
3 – My Old Sweetheart by Susanna Moore
“She’s an extremely talented writer,” Fisher said. “Her first novel, set in the 1950s, is about a woman who grew up with a very eccentric mother, which, of course, is why I related to it.”
2 – Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Explaining her selection, Fisher wrote: “I love Salman. He’s a friend of mine, but I loved this book—which allegorically weaves a family’s story with the history of modern India—even before I knew him. I’m just showing off that I know him.”
1 – Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Rounding things off, Fisher said: “I’m also showing off that I’ve actually gotten through Swann’s Way, the first volume in Proust’s monumental work In Search of Lost Time.
“Just getting through those first 100 pages, where he could not fall asleep until his mother kissed him good night, was an achievement alone.”