Today, Meghan Markle celebrates her 40th birthday. The Duchess of Sussex has many different interests and passions, including reading. Over the years, she has shared her favorite books and personal recommendations for readers.
Markle has recently written her own children’s book, The Bench, which tells the story of the relationship between a father and his son, told through a mother’s eyes. The book is also a reminder that this father-son love and bond can take on many different shapes and be expressed in many different ways. She dedicated this book to her husband Prince Harry, who now has two children of his own with Markle.
In honor of her birthday, here’s a list of fifteen of Meghan Markle’s favorite books!
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
After a pilot is forced to land his plane in the Sahara desert, he meets a strange young boy: the little prince. The prince tells the pilot about his travels from planet to planet across outer space. At the heart of his journey, the prince is searching for what is important in life.
Although originally written for children, The Little Prince contains lessons that everyone can benefit and learn from, regardless of their background or age. It is a classic tale that any reader will surely fall in love with.
In this powerful guide, Ruiz explores and highlights the self-limiting beliefs that rob humans of joy and create “needless” suffering. Based on Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements presents a code of conduct that could significantly transform readers’ lives, leading to new experiences of love, freedom, and “true” happiness.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
Mom, Dad, Lowell, Fern, and Rosemary are the Cooke family. Rosemary begins narrating from the middle of her story. She explains that she was raised with a chimpanzee. She says, “I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion…she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister.”
Rosemary never ceased talking when she was a child. Then one day, something happened which led Rosemary to “wrap herself in silence.”
How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits – Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas
Four Parisian women—friends—with years of experience in various careers “debunk” the myths about what it means to be a modern French woman. Using candor and humor, they reveal their secrets and flaws about their own behavior and opinions. While they can be snobs at times, they are also just as “tender and romantic.” Readers will travel throughout France and experience a variety of events as these authors provide them with insight and advice on how to be more mysterious, confident, bold, and more Parisian.
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
Author Paul Kalanithi was thirty-six and at the culmination of his decade-long training to become a neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His memoir chronicles his transformation from medical student questioning what constitutes a “meaningful and virtuous life,” to neurosurgeon working on the human brain at Stanford, to a patient and new father grappling with his own mortality.
Kalanithi explores the answers to some of life’s most difficult questions in his memoir: “What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away?”
Kalanithi passed away in 2015 before he finished writing this memoir. Yet, his journey and perspectives remain as “a guide and gift to us all.”
The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff
In this unique and effective guide to ancient Chinese principles, Hoff uses the beloved character Winnie-the-Pooh to explore the tenets of Taoism. Hoff believes that Pooh’s nature is very similar to the basic principles of Taoism. Through Winnie-the-Pooh, Hoff demonstrates that everyone can apply the principles of Taoism in their lives now, in the modern day, and that these ancient beliefs are not just irrelevant philosophies.
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
Thirteen-year-old Theo Walker survives a horrific accident that kills his mother. A wealthy family friend takes Theo into their home. Theo is “bewildered” by his new home, bothered by his classmates, and, most seriously, “tormented” by his longing for his mother. All he has left of her is a mysterious painting that leads Theo to a rich, but narrow-minded art community.
When Theo is an adult, he is alone and in love. He drifts between the dusty, labyrinthine rooms of the antique shop he works at. However, he is also in the midst of a dangerous, narrowing circle.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives near Paris’s Museum of Natural History, the place her father works. When she’s twelve, the Nazis invade, causing her and her father to flee the city to the citadel Saint-Malo, where her great-uncle resides. Marie-Laure and her father carry with them what just might be the museum’s most precious and valuable jewel.
In a German mining town, Werner Pfennig is an orphan growing up with his little sister, fascinated by a radio that plays stories from all over the world. Werner is highly skilled at building and repairing these devices, leading him to become employed with the task of hunting down the resistance.
By interweaving Marie-Laure and Werner’s stories, Doerr showcases the ways people will always try and be kind to each other, “against all the odds.”
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Undoubtedly one of the greatest novels in classic literature, The Color Purple tells the story of African-American women living in rural Georgia in the early twentieth century. Celie and Nettie are sisters who were separated when they were children. Yet, they have remained loyal to each other over time. Their story is told through letters spanning twenty years, covering their experiences and the people they’ve met.
The Color Purple tells the story of the lives of women, their love, bravery, survival, pain, resilience, companionship, and growth. This compassionate and beautiful novel takes its reader on a journey towards redemption and love.
The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power – Brendon Burchard
This intense and ferocious call to action asks readers to step up and claim their personal power. Author Brendon Burchard is an esteemed, high-performance trainer who believes humankind’s ultimate motive is the pursuit of “greater personal freedom.” Humans desire to have choices in their emotional freedom, financial freedom, social freedom, spiritual freedom, and time freedom. The two “enemies” standing in the way are “an external enemy, defined as the social oppression of who we are by the mediocre masses, and an internal enemy, a sort of self-oppression caused by our own doubt and fear.”
Only by asserting our individual intent and independence, claiming our personal power, and combating self-doubt and everyday distractions can we be successful in our march towards Personal Freedom. Revisiting the revolutionists of the past, and using both fierce and poetic tones, Burchard encourages readers to shake off fear and doubt and reclaim our lives “once and for all.”
Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life – Dr. Spencer Johnson
Many people fear personal and professional change in their lives since they have no control over what will happen to them next. As change happens to individuals, or by individuals, Dr. Spencer Johnson utilizes a “deceptively simple story” to demonstrate to his readers that one’s attitude is the most important factor while undergoing change.
In this guide, Dr. Johnson aims to help readers embrace change in their lives, showing them how to accept, deal with, and anticipate change. In addition, he shows how these ways of dealing with change can lead to individuals having more positive impacts on their personal life, relationships, and work.
Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
All stories have two sides, and all relationships have two perspectives. Every now and then, the key to an ideal marriage lies in its secrets, rather than its truths. The heart of this novel lies with Groff’s examination of a twenty-four-year marriage of this very kind.
When Lotto and Mathilde are twenty-two, they are “tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness.” Ten years later, their friends still envy their marriage. However, things are actually more “complicated and remarkable” than they seem. “Stunning revelations” and “multiple threads” are told in gripping, beautiful prose. In this unique novel, Groff crafts a story about “love, art, creativity, and power” sure to “stir” readers’ minds and hearts.
Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
Author Matt Haig was an adult when he developed anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. He set out to discover the things in the external world that positively and negatively affected his mental health. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a collection of Haig’s findings, showing how different commercial, technological, and social advancements shaped our modern world, and how those advancements impede our abilities to be happy.
Haig focuses on larger, broader areas like social media, inequality, and the news to smaller areas like our daily lives, the ways we sleep, exercise, and the connections between our minds and bodies.
The Four-Chambered Heart– Anaïs Nin
This 1950s novel tells the story of Nin’s real-life affair with the guitarist Gonzalo Moré in 1936. The two rented a boat-house and “under the pervading influence of the boat’s watchman and Moré’s wife Helba, developed a relationship.”
The characters and experiences in the novel are purposefully drawn from Nin’s own life. Djuna is the embodiment of Nin, a young dancer searching for fulfillment. Rango is Moré, while Zora is Helba.
Water, a prominent theme in the novel, is used to both demonstrate how Djuna and Rango struggle to stay afloat, while also serving as a stream of consciousness where Nin can express her thoughts on love, life, and music.
The Dud Avocado – Elaine Dundy
In this novel, a young American woman sets out to conquer Paris in the 1950s. This “charming, sexy, and hilarious” book shows what the “American girl abroad” from Henry James and Edith Wharton’s stories was actually thinking. From its initial publication in 2007, this fabulous novel “remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living.”