The Oscar winner wants to thank the old boyfriend who gave her a fascinating French novel of over-the-top amour—and a shot of intellectual confidence; the cookbook/storybook that turned her on to Italian cooking; and the haunting modern classic by Richard Yates that inspired her award-winning role in Revolutionary Road.
An ex-boyfriend and I used to go to breakfast every Sunday in London at a funny old café near Earl's Court. Afterward we'd go into this enormous bookstore, and we'd have to buy the other person a book. It was a really nice thing to do. I think sometimes when you're young, and even when you're older, purchasing a book for yourself or anyone else can be terrifying. I left school when I was 16, and I always felt—actually still do in some ways—intellectually insecure. He was 11 years older, this boyfriend, and this was his way of letting me know that it was perfectly okay to have an opinion, of helping me overcome my own insecurities—which is pretty spectacular. One day he picked up a copy of Thérèse Raquin
, and I thought, You've got to be kidding me
. But he said, "This is one of the most extraordinary love stories ever written." And that book, which is one of the five that changed my life, has never left me.
Kate Winslet stars in
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