US Pop/Country Superstar Taylor Swift is a massive fan of reading and many fans are probably looking for some Taylor Swift book recommendations for their to read list, so here is a rundown of some of the books that the iconic singer has recommended or referenced in interviews.
1) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The first book I am going to discuss is a personal favourite of mine and has been reviewed on this blog before (which you can check out here, along with the review of Baz Lurhmann’s 2013 adaptation which I be honest I wasn’t a fan of).
Taylor has made references to this iconic novel throughout her music with various lyrics taking inspiration from the classic novel.
One of the most obvious references is in the song “Happier” from her Evermore album where she sings “I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool” which is of course, the iconic line Daisy gives when she is talking to Nick about her husband Tom’s affair and his lack of discretion about it. The song also contains references to the “green light” which is a symbol throughout Fitzgerald’s novel of Gatsby’s desire to be with Daisy.
There are also references on her Reputation album, such as in the Kanye West track “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” where she sings about “Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year” and on the song “Don’t Blame Me” where she sings “Once was poison Ivy, now I’m your Daisy”.
Videos for these tracks are below.
2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In 2012, Taylor Swift contributed the song “Safe and Sound” to the soundtrack album for the movie adaptation of the first The Hunger Games novel (which has also been reviewed on our blog here, along with the movie).
The album was entitled The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond and the track featured alternative country duo The Civil Wars.
In an interview with MTV news promoting the song, Taylor discussed being a hug fan of the book.
She said: “I immediately read the book in, like, two days and fell in love with it,” she said. “I fell in love with the characters, fell in love with the world that Suzanne Collins had created. I was just so immersed in it.” You can read the full interview here.
The music video for the track is below.
3) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Another book referenced by Taylor in one of her songs, Rebecca tells the story of a young second Mrs. Maxim de Winter, who recalls the terrifying events that occurred as she began a new life with a husband who she barely knew and how they are haunted by the ghost of his first wife.
This 1938 Gothic novel is referenced on Taylor Swift’s album Folklore on the song Tolerate It.
In a video interview she said about the song: “When I was reading ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier, I was thinking wow, her husband just tolerates her. She’s doing all these things and she’s trying so hard and she’s trying to impress him and he’s just tolerating her the whole time…there was a part of me that was relating to that because at some point in my life I felt that way so I ended up writing this song Tolerate It which is all about trying to love someone who is ambivalent”.
You can read the full details here.
4) The Fault In Our Stars By John Green
Taylor Swift has openly admitted that John Green is one of her favourite authors, who wrote the popular YA novel The Fault In Our Stars, which was turned into a movie in 2014.
The emotional novel tells the story of two cancer-stricken teenagers who meet at a cancer support group and decide to go on a quest to find a reclusive author in Amsterdam.
According to Indianapolis Monthly, Green posted in 2014 that he was listening to Taylor Swift’s then new album 1989. In response Taylor Swift said “My. Favorite. Author. Just. Said. WHAT?!?!” which shows how much of a fan she is of the author’s work.
5) Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Another classic book which is referenced by Taylor Swift in one of her songs, Peter Pan tells the famous story of the boy who never grows up.
As Wendy and her bothers join him in Neverland so begins an epic adventure involving mermaids and Indian Princess and pirates, including the iconic Captain Hook.
Taylor references this book as well on her album Folklore, in the song Cardigan. In particular with the lyric “I knew you tried to change the ending, Peter losing Wendy.”. The song forms part of a teenage “love triangle” trilogy on the album, with the reference signifying the character of Betty in the song, recognises her boyfriend James is lacking in maturity and will not grow up.
This is similar to the book when Peter wants to stay in Neverland but Wendy wants to go back home and grow up.
The music video is down below:
7) Normal People BY Sally Rooney
Our next entry is a far more recent romantic novel, Normal People by Sally Rooney which was published in 2018.
It tells of the growing friendship and love of Connell and Marianne, two youngsters who live in a town on the west coast of Ireland. Whilst Connell is popular however, Marianne is far more awkward and shy. But as the years go by their paths frequently intertwine with each other.
The book is probably most famous for its BBC3 adaptation starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones which was released during lockdown in 2020.
In terms of Taylor’s connection, at a 2019 secret session event in LA she revealed she was a massive fan of the book, which was tweeted by a fan.
You can also see the Normal People trailer down below:
8) Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
After Normal People, we have our second Sally Rooney novel which Taylor has said she is a fan of, this time it is Conversations With Friends.
The story focusses on Frances, a young 21 year old student in Dublin who dreams of becoming a writer and performs spoken word with her best friend and ex-girlfriend Bobbi. However when they are interviewed by a journalist named Melissa and meet her husband Nick a complex relationship develops, but as Frances and Nick get closer it forces her to confront her vulnerabilities.
Like Normal People, the book has been adapted into a TV drama for BBC Three and Hulu, and as a bonus connection to Taylor stars Swift’s partner Joe Alwyn as Nick. In an interview discussing the series’ raunchy scenes, Alwyn revealed Swift had “read the book and she loves the book so she knows it,” he said. “She just, like, couldn’t be a bigger fan of the project.”
Swift also mentioned the book in a magazine interview and on her Instagram Stories.
You can check out the trailer for the series below:
9) Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Our next entry is the classic children’s book by Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
The story tells of the friendship between a livestock pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte spins words into her web to try to get him to change his mind.
In 2010, as part of Scholastic’s You Are What You Read, a social media site the publisher launched which many celebrities joined to share their favourite books, Taylor chose this one. The site is now sadly defunct but it can still be viewed on the Wayback Machine (an archive of Internet pages here).
The book was adapted into a 2006 live-action movie though I haven’t watched it myself. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below though if you have!
10) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book was also recommended by Taylor on “You Are What You Read” with the book selling over 15 million copies and was adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts in 2010.
The memoir begin with Elizabeth in her thirties at 3am sobbing on a bathroom floor, she has a husband, a house and is trying for a baby – yet she doesn’t want any of it.
Following a bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair, Elizabeth decided to go and pursue her dreams and three things she feels is missing from her life. Pleasure, devotion and balance.
This pursuits include travelling to Rome to learn Italian from two handsome twins, an ashram in India where she finds enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the floors.
You can check out the trailer for the movie adaptation below: