John Steinbeck received this book when he was just nine years old. “When I first read it, I must have been already enamored of words because the old and obsolete words delighted me.”
Some twenty years later, Steinbeck would adopt Arthurian tropes and chapter headings in his novel Tortilla Flat, and in the late 1950s travel to England and Wales to research Arthurian legends in preparation for a modernized text of the Arthurian tales.
Maya Angelou, author, poet and civil rights activist mentions Little Women as one of her favourite books. "When I read Alcott, I knew that these girls she was talking about were all white," Angelou said. "But they were nice girls and I understood them. I felt like I was almost there with them in their living room and their kitchen."
One of J.K. Rowling's favorite books as a child was The Story of the Treasure Seekers and E. Nesbit is probably "the children's writer with whom I most identify. ... [It] was a breakthrough children's book. Oswald is such a very real narrator, at a time when most people were writing morality plays for children."
Author of the Fear Street and Goosebumps series R.L. Stine said that Dandelion Wine was "one of the most underrated books ever. Bradbury’s lyrical depiction of growing up in the Midwest in a long-ago time, a time that probably never even existed, is the kind of beautiful nostalgia few authors have achieved."
In a Reddit AMA, Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects wrote, "I have several of what I call "comfort food" books. Those books you grab when you're feeling cranky and nothing sounds good to read....Agatha Christie's And Then there Were None I've read since I was a kid.
Ray Bradbury had many favourite books, but Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter: Warlord of Mars series was the one that made him an author.
"[They] entered my life when I was 10 and caused me to go out on the lawns of summer, put up my hands, and ask for Mars to take me home," Bradbury said. "Within a short time I began to write and have continued that process ever since, all because of Mr. Burroughs."
Neil deGrasse Tyson, master of the universe and well-loved astrophysicist, said that The Age of Reason is a must-read, so as "to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world".
Joan Didion has said in an interview that Joseph Conrad's Victory is perhaps her favourite book in the world, and she often rereads it.
"It’s not a story the narrator even heard from someone who experienced it. The narrator seems to have heard it from people he runs into around the Malacca Strait. So there’s this fantastic distancing of the narrative, except that when you’re in the middle of it, it remains very immediate. It’s incredibly skillful... I’ve never written one without rereading Victory. It opens up the possibilities of a novel. It makes it seem worth doing. In the same way, John and I always prepared for writing a movie by watching The Third Man. It’s perfectly told."
Oliver Sacks may have had a number of non-fiction books about the brain and cognitive functions in his to-read list, but this one stood out. He said that this book was "... [a] gentle founding myth that pleased my romantic side."
Susan Sontag was always a big fan of Andre Gide, choosing to re-read his works many times over.
"I should have read it much more slowly and I must re-read it many times — Gide and I have attained such perfect intellectual communion that I experience the appropriate labor pains for every thought he gives birth to! Thus I do not think: “How marvelously lucid this is!” — but: “Stop! I cannot think this fast! Or rather I cannot grow this fast!”
For, I am not only reading this book, but creating it myself, and this unique and enormous experience has purged my mind of much of the confusion and sterility that has clogged it all these horrible months."