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!

Thursday Movie Picks: New to the City

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 “New to the City“, which I kind of like? Often, although not always, it’s reminiscent of the “fish out of water” trope, which can be just a lot of fun, when done right. A lot of the time, I think this theme kind of holds the promise of someone wanting to fulfill their dreams and only thinking that’s possible in a larger city. I already have a couple movies coming to mind, so, without further ado, let’s get started!

Burlesque

I don’t know where exactly Ali lived before, but she sure wasn’t as prepared for Los Angeles as she would have liked to be. The movie definitely has some flaws, but I’ve watched it so many times and always enjoyed it. As far as movies with singers as leads go, this really isn’t half bad!

Coyote Ugly

When I first watched Burlesque, it actually reminded me a lot of Coyote Ugly, so it’s only right I put that movie on the list for this week as well. I do kind of wonder about what kinds of movies I watched as a kid and what I liked? Questionable taste? Maybe! I haven’t seen Coyote Ugly in a while, but from what I remember, I think it brought home some good points.

Cheaper by the Dozen

I’ve watched this so many times as a kid! I think as an only child, I sometimes glorified these big families, but I also always cried when they didn’t pay attention to Mark. Well, either way, they moved from a rural area, where they had more like a farm, to Chicago or something.


What are some movies that involve a move to the city? What did you think of my picks? Let’s talk about that!

Thursday Movie Picks: Rags to Riches

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.

Today’s theme is all about movies that feature the Rags to Riches trope! I wouldn’t say I’m actively seeking out films with that particular story progression, but I don’t mind it either. There’s already a couple ideas swirling around in my head, so let’s get started with the list.

Catch Me If You Can

I love this movie and have seen it so many times, I have lost count. You could argue that DiCaprio’s character isn’t exactly rich by the end of it, but he still amassed quite some wealth with his cons. I was trying to think of something a little more unconventional.

A Knight’s Tale

Poor squire rises up to be a real knight? Not sure how much actual money is involved in knighthood, but I’m sure he got some riches by the end of it. I also just enjoy the movie because of its various anachronisms.

Sweet Home Alabama

Reese Witherspoon’s character becoming a successful designer and her high school sweetheart becoming successful with his own business, when they both thought they couldn’t afford anything fancy back in the day – I like it! I also like that the money was just helpful (which it is), but not the thing they needed the most.

Maid in Manhattan

With the upcoming release of the comic book adaptation of Marry Me with Jennifer Lopez as the lead, I was just reminded that I really quite enjoy her romance movies. So, this ended up on the list.


Of course, movies like Aladdin, Cinderella (both those titles in all their different iterations) and Annie would have worked just as well. What are some of your picks and what did you think of mine?

TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Foreign Language Movie

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 is once again part of the Oscar Winner Edition, which will continue to be a reoccurring theme during each month. This month is all about Best Foreign Language Movies. I certainly know one movie that comes to mind, but I’m sure I’ll once again have to consult some lists to see which movies won in the past years. Let’s get this started!

Parasite (South Korea)

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Parasite and it probably won’t be the last. I mean, Parasite made history, so why would I not mention it first thing in this post!?

Amour (Austria)

I could not resist including movies that represent my own country, despite this movie being shot in French! I know the director, Michael Haneke, and his work well, I’ve even met him a couple of times. I have to say, I’m not his biggest fan? However, I very much respect the career he has made for himself and you can’t deny there’s a certain genius in him. After all, he won with Amour, but he was nominated another time as well.

The Counterfeiters (Austria)

Austria’s movie industry was once described as the feel bad capital of the world, so … the movies are mostly on the depressing side. We still won though?

Amélie (France)

Amélie did not actually win, but it was nominated. I feel like it was more of a commercial success despite its quirkiness and I also feel like commercial appeal doesn’t always work with the Academy? Could be only my interpretation …


Well, this certainly proves again that I do not watch very many Oscar nominated movies, but I somehow still don’t think I’m really missing out? I do think that there’s probably some hidden gems in the international section, but I still very often question the Academy’s selection.

TMP – TV Edition: Mystery

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Movie Picks feature. 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.

As it so happens, we change it up once per month and talk about TV shows instead of movies and today is all about shows in the Mystery genre! I feel like that’s such a huge pool to draw from, because there’s also a million sub-genres, that I’m super curious to see what everyone will come up with. Here are my picks!

Yellowjackets

Two episodes in and I am disturbed yet fascinated, grossed out but curious. It’s not a show for everybody and I find myself not being able to stomach some things, but it’s still interesting. I like the different timelines and how we only slowly uncover what happened and to what extent the situation really escalated. They went into more than just survival mode.

Only Murders in the Building

I didn’t think this was going to be for me, but it was so fun, I binged it all in a day or two! It has those typical amateur detective elements, but really great twists and hilarious cameos on the way. I enjoyed it a lot and am glad to know there’s another season coming.

Cruel Summer

Throughout the entire show, I kept finding myself going back and forth on who to believe and who to trust. I really liked the ending too, because of the implications it held, even if that meant that it wasn’t really closed. It works as a limited series for me.


I definitely went with more recent shows! What do you think? What are some of your mystery picks?

Thursday Movie Picks: Book Adaptations

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.

Today we shall talk about Book Adaptations, which most of you will know, is a topic I’ve talked about on numerous occasions here. Seen as this blog is dedicated to books, TV shows, movies and really anything I can think about, it does tend to be a repeat subject.


Here are some examples of previous posts regarding adaptations:


I’m going to try my very best to not to repeat myself too much from previous posts (and to stick to movies and not TV shows). There’s not really a theme here, other than that I have actually read all the books for the movies as well as watched them. (Because there’s still some books I haven’t watched and some films I haven’t read … if that makes sense.)

Stardust

Stardust is one of my absolute favorite comfort movies and I can watch it pretty much any day, whenever it is on. There’s no such thing as too much Stardust. I also have to say that I enjoy the movie more than the book, because I didn’t actually connect to Neil Gaiman’s writing at all. I know he is brilliant and a much beloved author, but this book wasn’t really it for me. The movie is where it’s really at!

Charlie St. Cloud

I read this book after watching the trailer, while I was doing my internship in the French countryside. Something about this story was just magical and although I think the movie didn’t capture that as well as the book, I still enjoyed both.

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now is one of those cases where I thought I would really enjoy both, the movie and the book, but ended up feeling very confused about both. It’s not a fluffy teen romance at all, it has a deceptively amount of depth. It’s even quite sad …

Dumplin’

I cried watching and reading Dumplin’. It’s a really beautiful story, but it was interesting to see on what different aspects the two variations focused on. I remember the book featuring more of Bo (who I adore as a love interest), while the movie had a clear focus on the mother-daughter-relationship. Then again, how could you not utilize having Jennifer Aniston in your movie …

This Is Where I Leave You

I have a thing for grief explorations and complex family dynamics, so I was immediately drawn to This Is Where I Leave You. The book obviously has the room to go much more into depth on some of the relationships, which I missed in certain scenes, but generally, it was a well done movie. Some things were even improved (thank the lord we didn’t have to hear Judd’s horny thoughts all day long).


What are some of book to movie adaptations you like? Let’s talk about those!

Thursday Movie Picks: Dream Sequences

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 is all about Dream Sequences! I honestly couldn’t think of a single one from the top of my head, which just means that dream sequences aren’t something I pay a lot of attention to. Either way, we are … or rather I am going to try and come up with some.

Inception

Does it count when basically the whole movie is a dream? I’m just going to say yes. Inception had such a great concept and I loved the world of possibilities it opened up. I really enjoyed watching that movie back in the day, although I haven’t revisited it much to be honest.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty’s daydreams were wild and ridiculous at times and then really beautiful as well. I love that movie, despite some flaws, because it’s just such a great motivator to be brave and go into the world. It’s also just very human.

Grease

Okay, who could ever forget the Beauty School Dropout scene? I sure couldn’t, so it made this list. Grease didn’t age particularly well, but it’s one of the musical movies I enjoy more than others.


What are some dream sequences in movies you enjoy? Do you tend to remember those very vividly or did you have to look it up? Let’s talk!

TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Animated Movie

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 is once again part of the Oscar Winner Edition, which will continue to be a reoccurring theme during each month. After having taken a break during October in favor of a Halloween theme, we are back with Best Animated Movies. I can’t really recall watching an animated movie BUT I can proudly say that I have watched every single movie that has won an Oscar for best animated feature. The category “only” exists since around 2000, so I didn’t have that much to comb through, but how exciting? I think I genuinely liked 90% of the movies, so narrowing it down will be hard.

Spirited Away

I highly doubt I understood what this movie really entailed when I watched it as a little kid, but I definitely knew right away that it was something special. I fell in love with the style of animation, the quirkiness and oddness of the story, the (to me) unexpected depth. To this day, it’s my favorite Miyazaki movie.

Big Hero 6

Baymax being absolutely adorable aside, I loved the family aspect of this, especially the relationship between Hiro and Tadashi. I don’t know what else to say. It was really good.

Inside Out

This movie wrecked me when I watched it. There are so many layers to it and still, it works for children just as well as for adults. I’ve seen it several times now and found something new to appreciate upon each rewatch.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The animation for this movie is impeccable. The characters amazing. Miles Morales being front and center is pure satisfaction. You know me to be a Marvel simp, but I never expected to be that much into the animation. I usually prefer live-action, but this might just be the best Spider-Man movie we have.

Soul

Not gonna lie, Soul put me into a bit of an existential crisis, but in a good way. Totally in a good way! Pixar … they get me every single time.

Some of my Favorite Nominees

As I’ve stated in the beginning, I really enjoyed almost all the winners. They are fantastic movies, but I also wanted to give a quick shout out to some of my favorite nominees:

  • Brother Bear
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  • Monsters Inc.
  • Coraline
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Klaus

I’m pretty sure all of those movies also made me cry at one point or another. So, I kind of even had a theme within the theme? Still, movies like Finding Nemo, Shrek, Wall-E, Up and so many more would have just as equally deserved to be mentioned this week. What are some of your favorite Best Animated Feature winners?

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: Folk or Urban Legend (Halloween Edition)

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Movie Picks feature. 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.

The entirety of October is dedicated to a special Halloween Edition, meaning we’ll take a look at themes through the lens of Spooktober! Today’s topic is all about Folk and Urban Legends. Me being me, I have always had a knack for Folk Legends more than the Urban ones, I suppose. To me folk legends just means fairy tales, because that’s where fairy tales originated from. I do realize that folk tales are usually without an accredited author and passed on orally, but hey, I don’t do spooky well, so that’s the drift you’ll be getting from this post. Hope you enjoy!

Red Riding Hood

This is what you get when you try to make a fairy tale for teens during the heydays of Twilight. It’s full of angst and love triangles, but teen me ate it up. I know it’s a silly movie, but the werewolf premise did intrigue me and I would have been lying if I had said, I didn’t want a sequel to it. I might have also been slightly in love with Max Irons … maybe … possibly.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

I watched this movie in 3D in cinemas and I had a blast. I know it’s silly and all, but sometimes that’s just what you need? Also, this is one of the few roles I like seeing Jeremy Renner in. Gemma Arterton is just always amazing, so there’s no debating here.

Snow White & the Huntsman

I thought this movie was beautifully shot. It’s not actually all that spooky, but oh well, I still picked it. I listened to that soundtrack up and down and even bought the book, cause the movie never even mentioned the Huntsman’s name. Rude.

Pan’s Labyrinth

This is probably the only movie that actually fits the prompt, but what can you do? I told you all that I would be struggling to come up with picks for this month, but I still tried. This is not the first time I’ve used Pan’s Labyrinth for my TMP posts, so I won’t go into detail. I just like it a lot.


What are some of your favorite movies about folk and urban legends? I’m assuming we will see a lot of Candyman suggestions this week, but I’m way too much of a wuzz to watch that.