“I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve,” promised 18th-century French philosopher Charles de Montesquieu. Whether you’re on vacation or just checking out for a midday break, summer can be the best time to learn from a great book or to lose yourself in one.
We’ve compiled an assortment, from page-turners to classic novels, from autobiographies to business basics, to help you chill out or get charged up. Either way, reading is rewarding.
Canoodling With Their Kindles
For lovers of e-reading devices, books are a constant companion. Here are a few recent downloads.
Kim Kardashian, reality TV star
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom (1997)
Are you there, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (2008)
The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren (2002)
Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You by Deepak Chopra (2009)
Jessica Simpson, pop star and actress
The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome by Shonda Schilling (2010)
Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference by Desmond Tutu (2010)
The Power of Now!: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhardt Tolle (1997)
Kristin Chenoweth, Glee star and singer
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
The Godfather, the classic mafia novel written by Mario Puzo (1969)
Zooey Deschanel, actress and singer/songwriter
Columbine by Dave Cullen (2009)
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan (2009)
Wayne Rogers, M*A*S*H TV star turned investment advisor
On his bedside table:
Rogers consistently keeps two books by his bed, usually dealing with scientific breakthroughs. Early this summer, those books were The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (2011) by Brian Greene and Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes (1982) by Franz de Waal.
Jaclyn Smith, Entrepreneur and one of the original Charlie’s Angels. (Read how Smith defied the naysayers to become a pioneer in celebrity brand development.)
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy. “He reawakens my desire to read poetry, the classics. And his love of language and how he uses it is unmatched! And he writes about his native South, which is my favorite place.”
On her bedside table:
Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller (2000) and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (1943). A recent read she recommends is New and Selected Poems Volume 1 by Mary Oliver (1992). “Poetry takes you to a place of thought, sometimes peace and melts away the day,” Smith says.
“I love to read and am rather obsessive about it,” Hall says. “As an English lit grad from UCLA, I used to read ‘weightier’ tomes, but now I’m probably more a creature of fiction, crime dramas and biography. I recently finished the Stieg Larsson crime trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo , et al. I read a lot on planes and also finished the latest Lee Child, George Pellicanos and Michael Connelly books; I’ve read everything they’ve written.”
On his bedside table:
“Almost finished is Keith Richard’s biography Life, which is incredible. On deck is Leavitt and Dubner’s book Super Freakonomics [by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, 2009].
“I don’t have a Kindle; I’ve got an iPad. But I still prefer the tactile feeling of a real book.”
Actress Kate Hudson: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marques (1967)
Author of mega-selling crime thrillers Michael Connelly: The Long Goodbye
by Raymond Chandler (1953). “I read it in college and immediately subscribed to the idea of the crime novel as art. The book’s evocation of Los Angeles and the social commentary on the city inspired me to become a writer.”
Comedienne and actress Lily Tomlin: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (1993)
Actress Mira Sorvino: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)
Actress Nicole Kidman: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1869). “It’s why I wanted to become an actor, but it’s not light reading.”
Actress Winona Ryder: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
National Public Radio arts correspondent Lynn Neary: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960). She says the tale of Southern racism and injustice “changed the way I looked at the world.”
Ethan Zohn, Survivor winner and author of Soccer World: Spain: Explore the World Through Soccer. (Read how Zohn's remission from cancer set him on a mission of hope.)
“I’m reading Hunger Games on my Kindle,” Zohn said recently. “It’s a perfect combination of the TV show Survivor, [the book] Lord of the Flies and some cheesy love story. It’s fun and exciting. I’m almost finished with the second book in the series. Can’t wait for the movie.”