The English actress serves up a great booklist—from Beatrix Potter to Virginia Woolf.
When I got the directive to choose seven books, I practically had a nervous breakdown. I'm an addictive
reader, and I just couldn't manage to limit myself. Finally, I thought to attach each selection to a particular
time in my life. Even though I'm not 49 yet, I did seven lots of seven. I tend to think things go in sevens in
life anyway—don't they say Saturn returns at the age of 28? Not that I'm particularly into astrology, but
seven-year turnarounds do seem to be very powerful. It was interesting, actually, to examine what books fell
into what period of my life—when I was most obsessed with story, and when I was most obsessed with
I think books are like people, in the sense that they'll turn up in your life when you
most need them. After my father died, the book that sort of saved my life was Gabriel García Márquez's
novel One Hundred Years of Solitude
. Because of that experience, I firmly believe there are books
whose greatness actually enables you to live, to do something.
And sometimes, human beings
need story and narrative more than they need nourishment and food.
Next: See the first book on Emma