Celebrating her 50th birthday today, U.S actress Amy Poehler has frequently addressed her connection to books and reading. Let’s take a further look into into her favorite reads and how they have affected both her career and personal life.
In an article by O Magazine, she says, “The ability to feel as if you’ve met someone, as if that person exists in flesh and blood and that you relate to them somehow, makes you feel a lot less lonely”. Each of her top picks follow the author or character’s life at a very personal and intimate level building a strong connection between the novel’s message and the reader’s life.
Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies details how she has used faith to bring hope and meaning in the toughest parts of her life. In a series of autobiographical essays, Lamott brings to light her own experience with faith, motherhood, family, and self growth. In Poehler’s article with O Magazine she says, “Lamott is so open and funny and honest about her own shortcomings and insecurities that you feel connected”. Amy Poehler’s favorite quote from the book, “All you can do is show up for someone in crisis. Your there-ness…can be life giving, because often everyone else is in hiding,” exposes Lamott’s intimate and personal writing style, taking readers through moments of sadness and moments of laughter.
Elizabeth Gilberts biographical novel takes readers through her travels around the world after her divorce. Recounting her experiences in Italy, India, and Bali, Gilbert exposes her journey to find herself among three very different cultures of the world. It has empowered many to discover their own selves and search for their own happiness and fulfillment. Released in 2010, Eat Pray Love is now also a movie starring Julia Roberts.
This novel by Amy Bloom is following the life of Lillian Leyb, a Russian Immigrant, finding her way through 1920s America. After losing her family in a Russian pogrom, readers instantly develop a sympathetic and supportive stance for Lillian as she takes on challenges both physically and mentally. Amy Poehler recounts in her interview with O Magazine, “I felt as if I were on the journey with her, so there were a couple of moments when I would just want to throw the book across the room and yell, ‘Amy Bloom, if you make Lillian suffer anymore, I am going to kill you!'” Bloom’s book seeks to encapsulate the true American experience, the good and the bad.
A memoir by Patti Smith, Just Kids, documents her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Based in 60s New York City, Smith recounts their romance and life long friendship which led to both her and Mapplethorpe’s international success. With a backdrop of bustling NYC in its age of art and music, the novel follows both their commitment to art and each other.
By American author, John Irving, this novel tells the story of main character, John Wheelwright and best friend, Owen Meany during the 1950s and 1960s. Growing up together in a small New Hampshire town, Owen Meany hits a foul ball in Little League Baseball killing John’s mother. Although dismissed as simply an accident, Owen strives to prove that he is “God’s Instrument” and has been set on Earth for a higher purpose. Taking readers through their lives from age 11 to adulthood with the looming Vietnam War, Owen’s belief begins to not seem far from the truth. In Poehler’s O Magazine interview she says, “Irving captures the innocence of youth, of people growing up together and figuring out who they want to be, and discovering the pain of separation—that made the book great for me.” Strange and funny, yet touching and poignant, A Prayer for Owen Meany is not only one of Amy’s favorites but is considered an American classic.
All personal in nature, each of these books build upon aspects of the human experience and what connects us all. In honor of Amy Poehler’s 50th birthday sit down with one of her favorite reads!
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