The “Harry Potter” series are the favourite books of millions of readers.
J.K. Rowling herself has some books she’d like you to read.
Since she became famous with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Rowling’s talked a lot about books. And over the years, she’s mentioned dozens of books that she’s cherished over the years. Here they are in one place.
I’ve included only books that Rowling counted among her favourite, or that she said had a deep impact on her and she still cherishes. I’ve excluded books that she considered influences for “Harry Potter,” but doesn’t necessarily love.
As you can imagine, a lot of these books are about magic and childhood. Others are much darker. They give a sense of the tragedy that came to penetrate the later “Harry Potter” novels, as well as the violence and sex that show up in “The Casual Vacancy” and Rowling’s “Cormoran Strike” novels.
Here are J.K. Rowling’s favourite books.
Jane Austen is J.K. Rowling's favourite author of all time, and 'Emma' is her favourite of her books. 'I've read all her books so many times I've lost count,' she told Amazon. Of those many book-reading sessions, she said she read 'Emma' at least 20 times.
On Oprah's website, Rowling cited Virginia Woolf to describe Austen's mastery of the novel: 'For a great writer, she was the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness.'
'My favourite living writer is Roddy Doyle,' Rowling told Amazon. This novel in particular -- about a woman's relationship with a violent man -- was one of the most important books in her life. 'I don't think I've ever encountered such a believable, fully rounded female character from any other heterosexual male writer in any age,' she told O, The Oprah Magazine.
Goodwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning book about Abraham Lincoln's political skill isn't one you'd necessarily expect as a favourite of an author of British fantasy novels. Rowling was attracted to how skillfully Goodwin conjured Lincoln's America.
'I lived in it the way that you do with truly great books; putting it down with glazed eyes and feeling disconcerted to find yourself in the 21st century,' Rowling told The New York Times. 'I met the author at a reception in the American Embassy in London last year, and I was so excited that I was bobbing up and down on the spot like a 5-year-old.'
'Brideshead Revisited' is one of the quintessential British novels, but Rowling cites a book by his eldest son. Auberon Waugh kept a diary between the 1972 and 1985, which mocked the trends of his day. Rowling keeps a copy in her bathroom. 'It's always good for a giggle,' she told the Times.
She also included Gouge's childhood classic, which inspired the vivid way Rowling describes the food at Hogwarts feasts.
'Goudge was the only one whose influence I was conscious of,' Rowing wrote. 'She always described exactly what the children were eating, and I really liked knowing what they had in their sandwiches.'
On a deeper level, Rowling was attracted to how cleverly the book was constructed, even though it seemed simple on the surface. 'Perhaps more than any other book, it has a direct influence on the Harry Potter books,' she told The Scotsman.
Rowling loves Mitford so much, she named her daughter after her. Rowling's great aunt gave her the journalistic memoir when she was 14, and she instantly became her heroine.
'I love the way she never outgrew some of her adolescent traits, remaining true to her politics -- she was a self-taught socialist -- throughout her life,' Rowling told The Scotsman. 'I think I've read everything she wrote.'
This book about a mouse who went off on epic adventures was one of Rowling's favourites when she was a child. 'Gallico manages the fine line between magic and reality so skilfully, to the point where the most fantastic events feel plausible,' she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Rowling told the Times that she loves everything by Streatfeild, but she didn't mention a particular book. Streatfeild's website, though, cites 'Ballet Shoes' as a book she still revisits.
Rowling ranks E. Nesbit as one of her favourite authors, and 'The Story of the Treasure Seekers' as her favourite of Nesbit's books. It's no wonder. With children who keep getting into magical adventures without parental supervision, Nesbit's novels are the most clearly influential on Rowling's characters.
'She's the children's writer with whom I most identify,' Rowling said. 'She said, 'By some lucky chance, I remember exactly how I felt and thought at 11.' That struck a chord with me.'
Rowling read Dickens' masterpiece in her third year of college. She shared a flat with'with an Italian, a Russian and a Spaniard,' according to The Scotsman. 'She found the Italian disagreeable and would avoid him by spending whole days in her room reading.'
She also considers Dickens as the ideal dinner guest.
'Dickens also had an amazing life,' she told The Wall Street Journal. 'I've just got a feeling that I would have a very good time with Charles Dickens. And he was a performer, wasn't he? I think he could be phenomenal company.'
As a close second for an ideal dinner guest, there's Colette, the famously prickly French author. Thurman's biography of is among Rowling's all-time favourite books.
'Colette is terrifying,' she told the Journal. 'But if she were in a mellow mood, and prepared to tell the truth about her life, you would have the most fascinating dinner in the history of the world.'
Of all of Colette's books, Rowling loves 'Chéri' the most. It's about a romance between a young man and her mistress. 'I absolutely bow to Colette,' Rowling said. 'But I think if she could hear me, she would probably tell me where to get lost, because she was that kind of woman.'
Rowling calls 'I Capture the Castle' one of her 'favourite books for younger people.' It's about a 17-year-old girl who lives in a castle with her family. In a recent edition of the novel, Rowling blurbed it, saying its narrator, Cassandra, is 'one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met.'
Rowling referenced the Greek epic at the end of 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,' when Harry saved Cedric's body. 'That's where it came from,' Rowling told Entertainment Weekly. 'That really, really, REALLY moved me when I read that when I was 19. The idea of the desecration of a body, a very ancient idea… I was thinking of that when Harry saved Cedric's body.'
'Grimble is one of funniest books I've ever read,' Rowling told Amazon. 'Grimble himself, who is a small boy, is a fabulous character. I'd love to see a Grimble film. As far as I know, these last two fine pieces of literature are out of print, so if any publishers ever read this, could you please dust them off and put them back in print so other people can read them?'
'There are two books whose final lines make me cry without fail, irrespective of how many times I read them,' Rowling told BBC Radio 4. 'One is 'Lolita.''
(The other one, based on the context of the interview, seems to be 'Emma.')
Like many other admirer's of Nabokov's novel of a pedophile who pursues a 12-year-old girl, Rowling loves it for the writing style.
'There just isn't enough time to discuss how a plot that could have been the most worthless pornography becomes, in Nabakov's hands, a great and tragic love story, and I could exhaust my reservoir of superlatives trying to describe the quality of the writing,' she said.
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