Sofia Coppola is acting royalty, cut from cinematic cloth being the child of Francis Ford Coppola and Eleanor Neal, it led to her own impressive career immersed in the highs and lows of film — both in front of the lens and behind it. However, the big screen isn’t the only art form that plays a pivotal role in her life. As a prolific screenwriter who has an innate storytelling ability, it should come as no surprise that she is an avid reader. Her literary recommendations should be taken on board by everybody.
Coppola has spent most of her life dedicated to filmmaking. As a child, she made an appearance in her father’s masterpiece The Godfather as Michael Francis Rizzi, in the baptism scene. She then appeared in each of the editions of the epic under a different guise. With this kind of upbringing, Coppola’s destiny to follow in her father’s footsteps and eventually direct herself were set in stone.
Coppola’s first short film, Lick the Star, received popular reviews upon its release in 1998 and was preceded by The Virgin Suicides, Coppola’s first feature film which proved that she was much more than just Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter and talent to be reckoned with her own right. Since then, she made her entry into mainstream consciousness with Lost In Translation and is now revered as one of Hollywood’s finest minds.
Literature has even found its way into her on-screen work. Her debut feature-length was inspired by Jeffrey Eugenides’ 1993 novel, The Virgin Suicides, and Coppola’s 2017 film, The Beguiling, is also based off a book, a piece of the same name written by Thomas P. Cullinan which was released in 1966. These two examples show just how intrinsically linked cinema and literature are, especially in the universe that Coppola has created.
In 2007, she provided a handful of her favourite books to The Week, and her choices give a glowing glimpse inside her bookcase. Eugenides’ book which became a pivotal, life-affirming moment in Coppola’s career by providing the source for her directorial debut. The book unsurprisingly makes it onto her list, with the filmmaker noting: “Touching and romantic and funny; full of the sentimental details of being a teenager.”
Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow is another book that Coppola can’t speak highly enough about, stating: “This novel, the first of Mishima’s four-part Sea of Fertility series, takes place in turn-of-the-century Japan, and explores the clash between the old Japanese aristocracy and a new, rising class of elites. The son and daughter of two prominent families won’t admit they love each other until it’s too late, and she’s engaged to the emperor. It’s super-romantic, especially when the doomed lovers kiss in the snow.”
Coppola also mentioned W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage as a personal highlight, noting: “His masterpiece, set in pre-World War I Europe. A young man’s heartbreaking and epic obsession with an average-seeming woman. Her character was supposedly based on a man Maugham loved but couldn’t be with.”
Check out the acclaimed director’s full-list, below.
Sofia Coppola’s favourite books
- Music for Torching by A.M. Homes
- The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
- The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan
- Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
- They Called Her Styrene by Ed Ruscha