Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

5 of 7
Midnight's Children
672 pages; Vintage
"I read this on vacation in Australia when I was 15," says Daniel Radcliffe, who credits the Northern Irish band the Divine Comedy with getting him hooked on Rushdie's allegorical novel about the independence and partition of India and its aftermath. "They have a song called 'The Booklovers,' which is, essentially, a list of famous authors. I made it my mission after hearing it to read one book by every author on the list, which starts with Aphra Behn and ends with Rushdie. So I bought Midnight's Children." Radcliffe says people scoffed when he picked up the novel, thinking he was too young to grasp it. "I still have no idea why. It is the most enchanting book. And it's such a brilliant idea: children born at the same hour who metaphorically encompass all the good and evil attributes of a new society. Rushdie writes with a true patriotism—a love for his country that's not blind."
— As told to Naomi Barr