Dive into the literary world of Natalie Portman, Actress.

Natalie Portman is an acclaimed actress and filmmaker with a career that highlights her versatility and commitment to challenging roles. Born in Jerusalem in 1981 and raised in the United States, Portman made her film debut in "Léon: The Professional" and gained further recognition as Padmé Amidala in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy. Her performance in "Black Swan" earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Portman is also known for her roles in "V for Vendetta," "Jackie," and "Annihilation," among others. Her choice of roles often reflects her interest in strong, complex characters and her desire to address important social and political themes.

I don't love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.❞ — Natalie Portman

Education plays a significant role in Portman's life; she graduated from Harvard University with a degree in psychology. She is an avid reader, a trait that complements her academic pursuits and influences her approach to her roles and public engagements. Portman's interest in reading spans a wide range of subjects, including literature, science, and international affairs, reflecting her broad intellectual curiosity. This love for reading not only informs her understanding of the characters she portrays but also fuels her activism and her efforts to promote educational initiatives and gender equality in the entertainment industry.

Natalie Portman's Favorite Books

Last Updated: June 2024

The MANIAC

A gripping thriller that follows the dark and twisted path of a brilliant mind turned dangerously unstable.
Also recommended by:
Barack Obama 

The Postcard

In this novel, a woman receives a mysterious postcard that leads her on a journey to uncover her family's hidden history, intertwining personal discovery with a deeper exploration of identity and memory.

Foster

This novella tells the poignant story of a young girl sent to live with foster parents on a farm in rural Ireland, where she experiences unexpected love and care, leading to profound personal growth and change.

The Dry Heart

This concise and powerful novella begins with the protagonist's shocking confession of killing her husband and then unravels the emotional and psychological turmoil leading up to the act, reflecting on the complexities of love and betrayal.

The Vulnerables: A Novel

Nunez's novel explores themes of aging, companionship, and vulnerability as a group of friends navigate the challenges and unexpected joys of their later years, offering a nuanced and empathetic portrayal of life's final stages.

Simple passion

Ernaux's autobiographical novella delves into the author's obsessive and consuming affair with a married man, capturing the intensity and tumult of desire and longing.

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Kantor and Twohey recount their investigative journalism that exposed Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and assault, contributing to the rise of the #MeToo movement.

The Lying Life of Adults: A Novel

Ferrante's novel explores the tumultuous coming-of-age of Giovanna, a young girl in Naples, as she discovers the lies and secrets that lie beneath the surface of her family's respectable façade.

Martyr!: A Novel

This debut novel from acclaimed poet Kaveh Akbar is a fictional exploration of faith, identity, and transformation, though it should be noted that this is a speculative description, as Akbar is primarily known for his poetry.

Bridge to Terabithia, Cover may vary

This beloved children's novel tells the story of Jess and Leslie, two lonely children who create an imaginary kingdom called Terabithia, where they find friendship, adventure, and the courage to face real-life challenges.

Annihilation

The first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy, this science fiction novel follows a team of women explorers as they venture into the mysterious Area X, a surreal and dangerous landscape where the laws of nature seem to unravel.

Trust

Diaz's novel intricately weaves together multiple narratives to explore themes of wealth, power, and the nature of truth in 20th-century America, revealing the complex dynamics of trust and betrayal.

How to Love Your Daughter: A Novel

Blum's novel explores the complex, often fraught relationship between a mother and her estranged daughter, delving into themes of love, regret, and the enduring bonds of family.

Normal People: A Novel

Rooney's novel explores the intricate and evolving relationship between Connell and Marianne, two Irish teenagers who navigate the complexities of love, friendship, and personal growth from high school to university.

Lost Children Archive: A novel

Luiselli's novel follows a family on a road trip from New York to the U.S.-Mexico border, interweaving their journey with stories of migrant children, exploring themes of displacement, identity, and the American immigration crisis.

Vladimir: A Novel

In this provocative debut, an aging English professor becomes infatuated with a younger novelist, setting off a chain of events that examine power dynamics, desire, and the shifting landscape of academia.

Poet Warrior: A Memoir

Harjo, the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, shares her journey through poetry, music, and storytelling, weaving together personal history and Native American heritage to explore themes of resilience, identity, and artistic expression.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel

This genre-defying novel blends mystery, philosophy, and environmentalism as an eccentric elderly woman in a remote Polish village investigates a series of mysterious deaths among her neighbors.

Girl, Woman, Other

This Booker Prize-winning novel weaves together the lives of twelve characters, predominantly black women in Britain, across different generations and social backgrounds, exploring themes of identity, race, and womanhood.

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens' historical novel set before and during the French Revolution contrasts the lives of the poor and the aristocrats, epitomized by the cities of London and Paris, and culminates in a narrative of sacrifice and redemption.
Also recommended by:
Oprah Winfrey 

All About Love: New Visions

Hooks offers a profound exploration of the nature of love in contemporary society, addressing its many forms and advocating for a return to a love ethic that fosters mutual respect, compassion, and justice.

Fight Night

This novel follows three generations of women—Elvira, her daughter Grace, and her granddaughter Swiv—as they navigate life's challenges with resilience, humor, and an unbreakable spirit, showcasing Toews' trademark blend of poignancy and wit.

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Solnit offers a powerful argument for hope in the face of despair, drawing on historical examples of social change and emphasizing the potential for activism and grassroots movements to create a better future.
Also recommended by:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 

Just Kids

This memoir by musician and artist Patti Smith recounts her deep and enduring friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, set against the vibrant backdrop of New York City's art scene in the 1960s and 70s.

Eating Animals

Foer blends memoir, investigative journalism, and ethical inquiry to explore the complexities of meat consumption and the moral implications of our dietary choices.

A Widow for One Year: A Novel

Irving's novel spans several decades, following the life of Ruth Cole, a complex and multifaceted writer, as she grapples with love, loss, and the intricacies of family relationships.

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

This memoir by the lead singer of Japanese Breakfast poignantly recounts her experiences growing up Korean American, her struggles with identity and loss, and the healing power of food and music after the death of her mother.

The Gastronomical Me

Fisher's memoir combines personal anecdotes with reflections on food and cooking, offering a rich and evocative exploration of how food shapes our lives and memories.

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

Kimmerer, a bryologist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, blends scientific knowledge and indigenous wisdom to provide a profound and poetic look at the world of mosses.

Freedom: A Novel

Jonathan Franzen explores the story of the Berglund family, capturing the struggles and paradoxes of American life as they navigate personal freedoms, responsibilities, and the environmental and political issues shaping their times.
Also recommended by:
Oprah Winfrey 

Angle of Repose

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of a retired historian who delves into the life of his pioneer grandparents, exploring themes of family legacy, personal ambition, and the American frontier.
Also recommended by:
Bill Nye 

Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov's controversial masterpiece narrates the obsessive and doomed love of Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged literature professor, for Dolores Haze, a prepubescent girl, exposing dark themes under the guise of eloquent prose.
Also recommended by:
David Bowie 

Cloud Atlas: A Novel

An intricate tale where six interlinked narratives spanning different time periods and genres explore how individual actions and consequences ripple through time, ultimately influencing one another in profound ways.
Also recommended by:
Bill Gates  Keanu Reeves 

Assembly

Brown's novel examines the life of a young Black British woman as she navigates the complexities of race, identity, and societal expectations, ultimately leading her to a powerful decision about her future.

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

Co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors, shares her personal story of growing up Black and poor in Los Angeles, detailing her journey towards activism and the creation of a global movement for racial justice.

What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng

Based on the real-life experiences of Valentino Achak Deng, this novel tells the harrowing and inspiring story of a Sudanese refugee's journey from his war-torn homeland to the challenges of adapting to life in America.

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off

This collection of quotes, essays, and reflections from feminist icon Gloria Steinem offers insights into her thoughts on social justice, activism, and the ongoing fight for gender equality.

American Pastoral

Roth's novel follows the life of Seymour "Swede" Levov, a successful Jewish-American businessman whose idyllic life is shattered by the political turmoil and radicalism of the 1960s, particularly through the actions of his rebellious daughter.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This coming-of-age story set in early 20th-century Brooklyn follows young Francie Nolan as she navigates poverty, family struggles, and her dreams for a better life, highlighting themes of resilience and the pursuit of education.

Summer Snow: New Poems

In this collection, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass offers meditative and lyrical poems that reflect on nature, politics, and the human condition, capturing the beauty and complexity of everyday life.

The Waves

This innovative novel captures the inner lives of six characters through a series of soliloquies, blending their voices into a lyrical exploration of individual consciousness and the passage of time.

Biography of X: A Novel

Lacey's fictional biography delves into the enigmatic life of a renowned artist known only as X, unraveling the mystery of her identity and the impact she had on those around her through a compelling narrative that blurs the lines between fact and fiction.

Something That May Shock and Discredit You

Lavery blends memoir, humor, and cultural critique in this collection of essays that explore his experiences with gender transition, literary history, and the transformative power of storytelling.

Kaddish.com

This darkly humorous novel follows Larry, a secular Jewish man who, in a moment of crisis, outsources the saying of Kaddish (the Jewish mourning prayer) for his deceased father to a website, leading to unexpected spiritual and personal consequences.

The Diary of a Country Priest

This novel chronicles the struggles and spiritual journey of a young, idealistic priest in a small French village, whose attempts to live a Christ-like life lead to both suffering and profound insights into the human condition.
Also recommended by:
Pope Francis 

Sun Under Wood

This collection of poetry by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass explores themes of nature, love, and human experience with a lyrical and reflective style, showcasing his keen observations and emotional depth.
Do you have a suggestion for someone who should be featured on our site? Reach out to us today, and we'll make every effort to include them soon!