25 Celebrities Who Are Serious Bookworms

25 Celebrities Who Are Serious Bookworms
25 Celebrities Who Are Serious Bookworms
We often don’t think of celebrities as being brainy or even a little geeky, but there are many out there who’d just as soon spend time curled up with a good book as hitting the red carpet. Here are some celebrities who love to read, study and learn and are seriously into books.
Natalie Portman: Natalie Portman isn’t just talented when it comes to acting. The brainy star also went to Harvard, majoring in psychology, while shooting movies and working as an actress at the same time. She’s also, as you would expect, a pretty serious bookworm, naming Jonathan Safran Foer and Nabokov as two of her favorite reads.
Kate Beckinsale: You might know Kate Beckinsale best from her work as a vampire in the Underworld series or her role in the blockbuster film Pearl Harbor. Yet Beckinsale is much more than a pretty face. She won the W.H. Smith Young Writer’s competition twice in her teenage years and went on to study Russian and French literature at Oxford, a major that requires a serious amount of bookworm stamina. Kate admitted to Oprah that reading was a major escape for her as a child and since the birth of her daughter has taken up reading again in earnest.
James Woods: Woods’ brother described him once as the "ultimate high school nerd" perhaps because Woods was so dedicated to his studies. His love of reading and education led him to MIT where he pursued a degree in political science before dropping out to become an actor. These days Woods may be one of the Hollywood elite but he’s still reading more than just scripts.
Barack Obama: This world leader didn’t get to the top without some serious reading, earning his BA at Columbia and law degree at Harvard. President Obama has been a lifelong lover of literature, naming writers like Toni Morrison and Ernest Hemingway as his favorites, and is regularly seen with books, heard talking about books and helping to promote literature in schools in libraries across the nation.
Oprah Winfrey: Oprah has said of books, "Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi." Since her beginnings in a small town, this bookworm has gone on to become one of the wealthiest women in the world, bringing her love of books with her. Her book club has inspired millions of people around the world to read everything from new fiction to literary classics.
Jon Stewart: As the host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is responsible for interviewing all kinds of authors from political pundits to brilliant scientists. While he might make jokes or poke fun, it’s easy to see that Stewart has a real love of reading and actually reads part or all of the books he’s discussing. Stewart is also an author himself and his work on the show has earned him a number of journalism awards.
Madonna: This material girl is about more than just catchy tunes and shocking attire. Besides her musical and acting career, Madonna as published several children’s books, perhaps stemming from her own love of the written word. An avid reader, the pop diva names The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger as some of her favorites.
Gwenyth Paltrow: This Oscar winner has been in love with books since her mother would read them to her as a child, and credits books with getting her through some of the toughest times in her life. While on the set of Great Expectations, fellow actor Ethan Hawke gave her a box full of books he thought would help her find some peace. Among her favorites: Jane Eyre, Crime and Punishment and Franny and Zooey.
Ethan Hawke: Hawke isn’t just an actor but an author himself, winning praise for his authorial debut. A bit of a bookworm himself, Hawke has a great respect for writing and enjoys reading a wide variety of books. In a 2010 edition of O Magazine, he named works like James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain and Sam Shepard’s Cruising Paradise as his favorites.
Bill Clinton: Former president Clinton is perhaps better known for his charm and the scandals that ensued while he was in the White House, but he is an avid reader and proponent of literature, stating once that he, "can’t imagine life without books." Clinton has named everything from standard classics like To Kill a Mockingbird to poli sci tomes like Politics as a Vocation as his favorites.
Adonal Foyle: NBA stars are very infrequently associated with being bookworms but this Orlando Magic center is proving that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Raised on an island in the Grenadines with no electricity, Foyle learned to read for entertainment from an early age. Today, he states that he is the only player he knows who brings a stack of books with him on road trips and has even started his own book club with his non-basketball friends.
Jay Leno: Recently, Jay Leno expressed frustration in finding a new home in LA where the library hadn’t been converted into a media room, stating that the value of books isn’t always appreciated by everyone in Hollywood. This talk show host knows the value of the written word as he struggled to read at an early age due to his dyslexia. Today, however, Leno and his wife have a large collection of books and are both avid readers.
Conan O’Brien: This TV funnyman has always been a lover of books, with his geeky nature being the butt of many of his self-depreciating jokes. His love of literature took him to Harvard where he majored in History and Literature, writing his thesis on literary greats William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.
Brooke Shields: Shields has been acting since she was very young, but she didn’t let her career stop her from attending college, spending four years at the prestigious Princeton University before graduating with a degree in French Literature. Like any literature degree, that meant some serious reading, something Shields still enjoys to this day, promoting reading for kids and adults alike and even writing her own book about her battles with postpartum depression.
Elisabeth Shue: This star not only has brains but some serious determination as well. After dropping out of Harvard to focus on her career, this actress finally went back years later to complete her degree in government in 2000. While she admits she didn’t get into reading until she entered college, Shue names Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls as her favorites.
Mira Sorvino: Her role in a movie like Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion wouldn’t give you a clue to how smart and bookwormy this star really is. Attending and graduating from Harvard, Sorvino studied and read in English and Chinese, writing a prize-winning thesis on conflict in China. She has said of books, "I love books. I get on a kick and gobble up whatever I can on a subject."
Robert Pattinson: Twilight fangirls go crazy for this handsome on-screen vampire. Yet, interviewers have described him as "bookish" and even a bit strange off screen. Whether he’s strange or not, he is a big fan of reading and makes it a point to read the books many of his movies are based on to help better understand the characters.
Jodie Foster: It’s likely that you know Ms. Foster from her movie roles, but she isn’t a slouch when it comes to academics either, graduating magna cum laude from Yale with a degree in Literature. She has stated that books have often been her escape and where she has found expressive inspiration for her career.
Matt Damon: Many may not know that Matt Damon was a Harvard literature student before he made his mark on the acting world. In fact, his Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting was actually written for a class at Harvard. While Damon never graduated from Harvard, leaving to instead pursue acting, he is still a lover of all things literature, even helping to produce and star in a special celebrating Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.
Edward Norton: Edward Norton is known for the often intelligent or complex characters he plays in movies, but what moviegoers don’t often know is the actor’s education and experience before he was in films. Norton is a Yale grad, fluent in Spanish and spent several years working in international business before ever appearing on stage. Among Norton’s favorite reads is To Change China: Western Advisers In China by Jonathan Spence, a book used in the making of Norton’s film The Painted Veil and likely a favorite because of Norton’s own degree in Chinese History.
Steve Martin: Martin may be best known for his work as a funnyman, but he was a serious student as a philosophy major at Cal State, hoping one day to become a philosophy professor. Alas, that was not in the cards for Steve Martin, but a successful career in TV and movies was. It didn’t dampen his love of books, however, as the actor still reads and even writes books to this day.
Geena Davis: If you had any doubts about the bookishness of Geena Davis, they’ll be erased by learning that this tall beauty is a member of MENSA and speaks Swedish fluently. Just last year, Davis received her honorary doctorate from Bates College for her work in gender studies in media, and keeps busy reading, writing and acting.
David Duchovny: After playing the seriously geeky Agent Mulder on The X-Files, it shouldn’t be hard to picture actor David Duchovny as a bookworm. This star has his bachelor’s from Princeton and went on to Yale to get his Master’s in English Literature. This well-read leading actor names Norman Mailer, Elmore Leonard and Thomas Pynchon as some of his favorite authors.
Mayim Bialik: You’ll say "whoa" when you learn just what a smarty and a bookworm this former Blossom star is. Attending UCLA, she has her PhD in neuroscience, writing her thesis on Prader-Willi Syndrome. While Bialik reads a wide variety of books, she is attempting to embracing her Jewish faith by reading books by Jewish authors, starting her own book club with friends.
Martin Scorsese: This highly acclaimed and Oscar winning director is more than just a Hollywood powerhouse. Scorsese has his MFA from New York University, and while he spends a good deal of time reading scripts he still loves to read books as well. He has stated that history books, especially those on the ancient world, are some of his favorites.

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