Books I’d Recommend to Celebs Based on THEIR Taste!

Blog banner for Life and Other Disasters' Celeb Book Club

As we’re nearing the end of the month, but there won’t be another reading experiment up in time, I thought I’d spice things up a little bit. The idea for this post was born when I talked to my good friend Lois about how to change and develop some of my original features. I love doing the reader compatibility series, but a lot of the reading for it was dominated by white male authors. I’m in no way trying to generalize here and know that I played a heavy hand in picking the final books for the posts, but I still would have liked to see some more variety. Mostly, this is because I’m trying to better myself with my own reading! So, Lois suggested I recommend some books to these celebs/actors based on what I’ve learned about their taste!

Chris Evans

Read the full reading experiment with Chris Evans here!

a black and white image of Chris EvansWhere to start!? Out of all the reading experiments, I think I “vibed” with Chris Evans the most. I was surprised by the amount of non-fiction on his list, and even more so by the fact that I enjoyed those same books as well. While there were some obvious thematic similarities in the sense that all his books brushed on the topic of spirituality, I did not get the feeling that he was only interested in those themes alone. Instead, I got the impression that he is a generally curious guy.

So, having said the above and knowing that he considers himself an introvert, I figured the perfect book for him would be Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain!
I’ve read the book when I was back at uni, which means quite a few years ago (I’m getting old …), but I remember finding it so incredibly helpful to understand more about myself and other people around me. While it does include some studies on introverts and extroverts, I found its content (especially the little anecdotes and stories) enganging and relatable. It didn’t just approach the topic from a sociological and cultural point of view, but rather a biological one as well. I’d really recommend this to anyone who prefers some quiet over the bustle in the world sometimes, but I can definitely see Chris Evans appreciate the insights the book provides as he constantly seems to want to better understand himself and the world around him.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Goodreads | Storygraph

Tom Hiddleston

Read the full reading experiment with Tom Hiddleston here!

a black and white image of Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston is a guy who loves the classics, Shakespeare in particular. He dissects and analyzes the texts he is given in detail and I admire him for his love of words. If I had to attribute a genre to him, I’d just plain plop him in the general adult literary isle and watch him sort through all the books. Throughout the entire experiment, I felt like his taste was a bit more sophisticated than mine, although he seems to love stories that are about human nature, just like me.

In my humble opinion, you don’t always have to go too far back into the past to find some literary gems though. For Mr Hiddleston, I thought the Costa First Novel Award winning Open Water by British-Ghanaian writer Caleb Azumah Nelson would be such a good fit.
Told in second person, it doesn’t just offer a unique storytelling perspective, but it also highlights the love and experiences of two Black artists in the UK. While I definitely don’t think that this book works for everyone, I can see Tom Hiddleston enjoy the poetic writing and the gravitas of the emotions. Also, I just felt like picking something British for him …

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Goodreads | Storygraph

Sebastian Stan

Read the full reading experiment with Sebastian Stan here!

a black and white image of Sebastian StanConsidering his background, I really thought that Sebastian Stan and I would be more on the same wavelength, but instead he introduced me to my most-despised read as of yet. (We don’t talk about Still Life with Woodpecker here, okay?) Still, I could see a theme in his book choices. Regardless of whether it was fiction or non-fiction, he heavily drifted towards stories with a focus on parent-child-relationships, complex (borderline toxic) romances and characters/people who felt out of place or without a real home. Those are all elements I can certainly work with!

A book that, I believe, covers pretty much all the above mentioned bases is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. We meet the main character at only six years old and learn about her complicated home life as well as the prejudices she faces in the town she lives in as she grows older. The story spans almost an entire lifetime and is a touching tale about solitude, loneliness and resilience. It’s quite a slow-paced novel, but I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of nature and the sporadic flash forwards that hinted at a bigger (murder) mystery.
It was honestly one of my top reads of 2021 and I just earnestly need Sebastian Stan to read books written by and about women, because some of the the descriptions in his favorite reads were just ghastly. I cannot stress this enough.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Goodreads | Storygraph

Pedro Pascal

Read the full reading experiment with Pedro Pascal here!

a black and white image of Pedro PascalLast but not least, we have Pedro Pascal! Thinking back, I didn’t hate reading his books, I mostly felt very ambivalent about them. I was a bit frustrated that I couldn’t get my hands on (the English edition) of some of the more recent releases he mentioned and therefore had to default to a lot of classics. There’s nothing inherently wrong about classics, of course not! People love them for a reason, but I, personally, just prefer stories that weren’t published that long ago.
Anyway, what I learned about him is that he seems to gravitate towards books with an underlying theme of faith and/or profound love (romantic or otherwise). I got the sense that it doesn’t have to be a strictly realistic narrative, so I know exactly what I want to recommend to him!

Soulswift by Megan Bannen is a faith/religion-based standalone Fantasy novel. I will be the first to admit that it might be a bit too “young” for him as the book is considered Young Adult, but I still wanted to give it a shot.
This book was another 2021 favorite and left me emotionally wrecked! There’s witty banter, a lot of tropes, but most of all heart. There’s incredible world-building that actually makes sense, which I thought some of Pedro Pascal’s books were lacking, despite it being a standalone and not a huge tome either. Let me tell you, it’s cruel, but oh so worth it!

Soulswift by Megan Bannen

Goodreads | Storygraph


What do you think of my suggestions? What are books you’d recommend to these guys? Let’s chat!

Spooky Books That Didn’t Give Me Nightmares!

We all know that I don’t do well with scary stuff, but because I am terribly slow at reading this month and I want to give you some bookish content, I thought it would be best to make a list of spooky books – that didn’t give me nightmares? Which, just to be clear, is what I want in books. Mildly spooky or full of ghosts or whatever, but not something that will leave a mark of terror on me. So, beware that this is a very tame list and obviously a very subjective one.

*If you click on the title, you will get redirected to my full review, which includes trigger warnings!*

The Taking of Jake Livingston

The Taking of Jake Livingston

I’ve seen opinions differ on this one, but I really enjoyed reading it. First of all, it’s a very short book. Some might say that the fast pacing hinders an emotional connection, but I teared up at some of Jake’s revelations, so I really don’t think that was a disadvantage for me. In addition to that, I liked the dual POV, even if bits of it felt disjointed. This is totally something you can read in one sitting!

Spooky elements: ghosts, relived deaths, possessions

My rating: 3.5 stars

Dark and Shallow Lies

Dark and Shallow LiesThe setting and the atmosphere for this one was great. As a supernatural thriller, it did keep me guessing in part, while I figured out a lot (gut feeling is rarely wrong) early on. It especially focuses on grief and how irrational we can become because of it. While I would have wished for some aspects to be explored further, I liked the vibes of this one.

Spooky elements: supernatural predators, swamp legends, potential mysterious serial killers?

My rating: 3.5 stars

Don’t Tell a Soul

Don't Tell a SoulI like books that teeter the line between ghosts and people just imagining things in their terror. This book was alright and definitely handled the creepy atmosphere well, however, there were a lot of characters that could have been explored deeper. Because of the main character being so closed off and us only getting secondhand information on everyone, it wasn’t easy to connect to the different players.

Spooky elements: haunted house, ghost girls

My rating: 3 stars

This Is Not a Ghost Story

This Is Not a Ghost StoryThis book surprised me, to be completely honest. I can see how the voice of the narrator/main character might not be for everyone, but I liked it. The ending is also very controversial, so I’d understand if people disagreed with me, but I had a grand time reading this one. It flowed nicely, gave me little scares, but resolved it in a way that felt very human.

Spooky elements: haunted house, spirits and danger everywhere

My rating: 4.5 stars

Watch Over Me

Watch Over MeI’m a huge Nina LaCour fan and this was not my favorite book, but it’s still fantastic in its own way. I get that she can write beautiful stories that evoke emotions in you, this was no exception, but somehow it felt less polished than the others I have read. As always, it was whimsical and filled with grief and heart. LaCour just knows what she’s doing.

Spooky elements: trauma, ghosts

My rating: 3 stars

Ninth House

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)This book was a lot. I do prefer Leigh Bardugo’s other series, but she still has me hooked on some of the characters here (I so fell for Darlington and Dawes). I like the world she built, I’m also curious how it continues, but it’s very heavy in parts – both in terms of content and descriptions. This is a field day for Yale fans, but I could have done with a little less campus talk.

Spooky elements: ghosts, secret magical society (with loads of sinister occult activities)

My rating: 3.5 stars

Burn Our Bodies Down

Burn Our Bodies DownI went into this book with completely wrong expectations. I thought it was going to be a mere family drama, but oh no – it is creepy! I didn’t end up enjoying this one very much, but I know others loved it, so it seemed fitting on this list.

Spooky elements: buried secrets (literally) – anything more would be spoilers

My rating: 2 stars


What are some mild but still spooky reads you enjoyed? Have you read anything I mentioned? Let’s talk!

Thursday Movie Picks: Summer Break

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week’s theme is Summer Break! We are in the midst of summer and I know that not just because it’s super hot all the time, but also because my birthday is nearing and people were always off on summer vacation, which was why I rarely celebrated. Enough about that useless information about my life. Let’s dive into the movies!

The Way, Way Back

I love this movie so freaking much! The message of the movie is so simple, but you really have to surround yourself with good people. Don’t let the toxic ones get to you. Also, everything Sam Rockwell is very likely to be a favorite. I’m a simple girl.

Adventureland

Ah yes, the time when you take the odd summer job. I keep forgetting who all is in this movie, but there’s so many well-known actors and comedians featured. I also just really like the idea of carnivals and amusement parks.

Magic Camp

I really wanted to include a typical summer camp movie! This one isn’t necessarily the most inventive or funny, but it’s the latest example I could think of. I suppose there was a reason they never even attempted to put it anywhere but direct to streaming though.

Raise Your Voice

Who said you actually had to take a break during summer break? Why not use that time to participate in a special music program to realize your dream? I had a huge Hilary Duff phase and this was one of the movies that stuck with me. Is it corny? Yeah. Do I mind? Nope.

The Lifeguard

Summer is also the time to get lost and take a break to reassess your life. I mean, you don’t have to, but things kind of slow down in summer and that makes it a perfect time to reflect. I can also highly relate to the quarter-life-crisis of it all.


What are some movies with summer breaks you enjoy? Let’s chat!

Random Movie Recommendations: Karen Gillan Edition

Usually, I have movie recommendations based around a theme or genre for you, but not this time. This time, it’s simply Karen Gillan. I adored her when I first met her as Amy Pond on Doctor Who, I was happy for her when she started to get major roles in Hollywood and I was beyond impressed when I watched her directorial debut. Now, she is coming to Berlin for a project I am not really at liberty to talk about and you never know, maybe our paths will cross one day?

The Party’s Just Beginning

(TW: suicide, excessive drug and alcohol use, bullying of/violence against trans characters)

Honestly, the trailer didn’t really convince me to watch the movie. It was a little bit all over the place, whereas it didn’t feel like that at all to me when I watched the entire movie. This was Karen’s directorial debut and she showed the bleak and somber side of Scotland, her home, for sure. The movie was harsh, but hit deep (being stuck in eternal grief stages is a big mood) and I am excited to see what more Gillan will show us in the future.

Please, don’t watch this while being in a bad place mentally! My own state of mind wasn’t that great and the movie threw me for a real bender. As much as I want to commend Karen Gillan for her work here, it is depressive and does not sugarcoat anything whatsoever. It can be a cleansing movie, but it can also destroy you emotionally.

Really could have needed someone to hold me after this. Preferably, also Lee Pace …

Not Another Happy Ending

On to something way more fluffy! We are still in Scottish territory, but this is an awesome RomCom about a writer who has writer’s block and her editor trying to sabotage her relationship because she writes better when she’s unhappy. Tell me that doesn’t intrigue you! I dare you!!

I don’t even know what to say. This movie offers pretty much exactly what it advertises – light entertainment. If you don’t go into it expecting mad twists and turns or some sort of unpredictable storyline you will be fine and most likely enjoy yourself.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I was very tempted to put Guardians of the Galaxy as one of her more mainstream projects here, but then I decided against it. Nebula is for real one of my most favourite characters in the MCU, but Jumanji was more of a surprise. So, that’s what I am going with.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with the original Jumanji movie. Nothing, I was sure of it, could ever compare to it. And Welcome to the Jungle definitely isn’t up to par with the original, but it is a lot of freaking fun. Sometimes you just have to not take everything so seriously and these sequels can be downright hilarious. They are even making another movie (with the same actors) and I am confused and suspicious but I learned better than to judge it before watching it.

Have you watched any of these? Do you like Karen Gillan as much as me? Let’s chat about it!