From John Steinbeck to Patti Smith: A selection of Kristen Stewart’s 7 favourite books
Kristen Stewart, an actress who was propelled into international fame following the release of the first Twilight film in 2008, has been looking for private solitude ever since.
Despite having enjoyed major success as a child actor, it was the success of Twilight coupled with the high-profile personal relationships which resulted in repeated headlines and intrusion into her private life. When asked about how she is portrayed in the media, Stewart once answered: “You can Google my name, and one of the first things that comes up is images of me sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe with my ex-boyfriend and my dog,” she once said in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2012 about some of the negative press that has surrounded her at times. “It was taken the day the movie came out. I was no one. I was a kid. I had just turned 18.”
The quote goes a long way to detail the pressures and battles for privacy that the now 30-year-old has been up against for the past decade. Despite those pressures, Stewart has delivered numerous impressive performances in films such as Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria as she moved closer to independent cinema while stepping away ever so slightly from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood blockbusters.
When discussing how she finds time to relax, Stewart revealed her passion is to find solitude in her reading material and, when was once asked in an interview about her most prized possession, she answered: “Definitely my books. If my house were burning down, I’d definitely be running out with all of my books.”
Scouring the internet and past interviews with Stewart, the Hollywood Book Club have been able to detail a selection of books the actress has cited as some of her favourites.
Enjoy the list, below.
Kristen Stewart’s favourite books:
1 – Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Detailing the first selection on the list, Stewart said: “Going way back, I did a movie of it too — a book called Speak. As a young girl, it was fairly emotional for me for fundamentally obvious girlie reasons.”
Novel Synopsis: “Speak, published in 1999, is a young adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson that tells the story of high school freshman Melinda Sordino. After accidentally busting an end of summer party due to an unnamed incident, Melinda is ostracised by her peers because she will not say why she called the police.”
2 – On The Road by Jack Kerouac
“On the Road got me started reading a lot,” Stewart once said. “It led me to The Stranger. It reminds you that you are, very much, alone”
Novel Synopsis: “On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations, with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use.”
3 – East of Eden by John Steinbeck
“East of Eden because it blew my mind that someone could be so many people,” the actress once explained. “It’s so universal and all-encompassing. It’s a whole world. It blew my head off.”
She added: “It covers fundamental ideas of good and evil.”
Novel Synopsis: “East of Eden is an intricate story that parallels the biblical tale of Cain and Abel. Steinbeck uses the allegory of one son being favoured by the father, inciting murderous jealousy, as well as the ideas of human nature and destiny.”
4 – The Stranger by Albert Camus
Stewart said of the book and author: “I love Camus. The Stranger is one of my favourite books.”
Novel Synopsis: “Meursault, the narrator, is a young man living in Algiers. After receiving a telegram informing him of his mother’s death, he takes a bus to Marengo, where his mother had been living in an old persons’ home. He sleeps for almost the entire trip.”
“The novel is famous for its first lines: ‘Mother died today. Or maybe it was yesterday, I don’t know’. After this introduction, the reader follows Meursault through the novel’s first-person narration to Marengo, where he sits vigil at the place of his mother’s death.”
5 – Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
“I just finished Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, which was really intense,” Stewart said.
Novel Synopsis: “Set during the Great Depression in Monterey, California, on a street lined with sardine canneries that is known as Cannery Row. The story revolves around the people living there: Lee Chong, the local grocer; Doc, a marine biologist; and Mack, the leader of a group of derelicts.”
6 – Hot Water Music – Charles Bukowski
“I just read Hot Water Music, which is a collection of short stories by Charles Bukowski,” Stewart once said in an interview. “I don’t normally like his work because it’s usually rambling and drunk, but these stories were so good.”
Synopsis: “Hot Water Music is a collection of short stories by Charles Bukowski, published in 1983. The collection deals largely with: drinking, women, gambling, and writing. It is an important collection that establishes Bukowski’s minimalist style and his thematic oeuvre.”
7 – Just Kids – Patti Smith
“I read Just Kids and I still have not harnessed something that you wrestled down with serious vengeance,” Stewart once said when she was interviewed by Smith as part of a feature for Interview Magazine. “It was just so natural to you, the willingness to allow yourself to explore and create and be free, and not know where you were going.
“You asked if any of that bullshit affects my work, and it doesn’t, but there are other things that affect my quote-unquote ‘work’. Just Kids made me want—you know, it’s super-romantic and cheesy—but I genuinely started making paintings because of you. I started to believe in other aspects of myself because of that book.”
Synopsis: “Just Kids by Patti Smith is a story of two friends and how they helped one another achieve their dreams of success. Patti Smith is a musician, poet, and artist who comes of age in the 1960’s. She befriends Robert Mapplethorpe who becomes her friend, partner, muse, protector, and supporter.”