Five Books Featured in Your Favorite Shows That You Need to Read ASAP

As a self-proclaimed book lover and someone who loves a good recommendation, I can’t help but notice every book when it’s mentioned in a movie or television show. During a movie when a character talks about a book with another character, I always find myself writing it down somewhere and add it to my mental to-read list. This is something that I created as an adult but stemmed from things I enjoyed as a kid. For example, when I had to go buy the books for my required reading, I had this giddy excitement to see what my teachers recommended. A recommendation, in a sense, is a little glimpse into that person’s brain; what they love, what they want, what moves them. It’s super nerdy, I know. 

After adding to this ever-growing list over the years and making a small dent in it, there are a few gems that are featured in movies and television shows you’ve probably seen before. Despite there being so many books and so little time, here are some of my personal favorite books that were referenced or became the focal point of iconic scenes within pop culture.

Love Poems of Great Men Vol. 1 from Sex and the City

The affair between Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big is the perfect example of how tumultuous and rewarding love can be. In the 2008 movie, Bradshaw and Big are reading Love Poems of Great Men Vol. 1 as they’re laying in bed one night. As she halfheartedly complains about how Big never writes her love letters, the quote “ever thine, ever mine, ever ours” becomes a focal point of the entire movie. As Big finally comes around to the idea of marriage and understands why love letters are so important to Bradshaw, he writes a few love letters of his own.

Wuthering Heights in After

Whether you eagerly read After on Wattpad in grade school or watched the movie when it was released in 2019, true fans know how vital Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was to the plot. Their love for literature and this novel, in particular, united the unlikely couple, Tessa and Hardin, during their college class. The rollercoaster relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy in the novel, in some ways, parallels their relationship.

Don Quixote from You

Joe Goldberg is the central character in Netflix’s You, and despite his extreme creepiness, he has excellent book recommendations. In the first season when he is trying to win over Guenevere Beck, he becomes an unlikely friend and older mentor to his kid neighbor next door, Paco. At one point, Joe lends him the Spanish classic Don Quixote which takes the reader on a humorous journey of a wannabe knight in shining armor to get him through his family problems.

The Bell Jar from 10 Things I Hate About You

In one of the earliest scenes of 10 Things I Hate About You, Kat Stratford is seen sitting cross-legged on the sofa reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It doesn’t play a major role in the movie, but it is strategically used to display Kat’s maturity and literary expertise. The book is semi-autobiographical, and details a young woman’s desire to lead a fulfilling life in New York while also coping with mental illness: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”

Edgar Allen Poe’s Complete Stories and Poems in To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

In the movie, heartthrob Peter Kavinsky rewrites Poe’s famous poem Annabel Lee to surprise Laura Jean on Valentine’s Day. She initially swoons at the gesture only to be disappointed later when she discovers that Kavinsky didn’t write it himself. The entire collection is worth a read, but the original line from the poem Kavinsky used goes like this: “For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams / of the beautiful Annabel Lee; / And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes / of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

These are only a handful of some of the amazing recommendations I’ve found within movies and television shows. Make a list all of your own and get to reading!

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