Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Photo: Lara Robby/Studio D

3 of 5
544 pages; Picador
"I loved learning about a culture that was unfamiliar to me," Johansson says of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. A portrait of a Greek-American family, it is also a coming-of-age story about a hermaphrodite initially raised as a girl. "It's really about finding yourself in a traditional world that doesn't allow much room to grow."
— As told to Karen Holt