The best authors capture our attention with their prose, compelling us to turn the pages in anticipation of what happens next. But even these literary greats take time to read, finding inspiration or an escape in the words of other writers. It stands to reason that if you like reading a certain author’s books, you might appreciate what they read, too.
Below are dozens of recommended works from 10 renowned authors, as shared in interviews, essays, and told to friends. The books range from must-read classics to sci-fi and young adult novels, so there’s something here for everyone.
The tough-guy writer who worked as a journalist and served in World War I before becoming one of America’s highest regarded novelists somehow found lots of time to read. In a 1935 Esquire profile, he listed a few of his favorite books.
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The prolific, bestselling author of more than 60 books is known for horror and suspense, but his reading list is eclectic. He shared some favorites with Goodreads.
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
Joyce Carol Oates
Oates has been pumping out award-winning novels, poetry, and essays for five decades. She shared a couple of her favorite reads in a 2013 Boston Globe interview.
- Sir Charles Grandison by Samuel Richardson
- The Corsair by Lord Byron
- The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
The author of Fahrenheit 451 and other classic sci-fi tomes counts these books as some of his favorites:
- The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
The Handmaid’s Tale author is known for dystopian fiction, but her reading list isn’t all about oppressive futures. She shared some of her favorite books in a 2015 Telegraph interview.
- The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
- The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
- Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak
The Great Gatsby author shared some of his favorite books with a nurse who was taking care of him in 1936.
- Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
- A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
- Victory by Joseph Conrad
- The Plays of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde
Collins lit up the YA world with her Hunger Games trilogy; now, you can read some of her favorite books.
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The late chef, author, and television personality was also a voracious reader. Here are some of his favorites, as shared in various interviews and essays over the years.
- The Quiet American by Graham Greene
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
- Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A.J. Liebling
- True Grit by Charles Portis