When Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016 at the age of 60, she was remembered as far more than her iconic turn as the girl in the gold bikini. In addition to a prolific acting career, Fisher authored seven books, served as a script doctor for other writers, and always made a point to speak openly on her struggles with addiction and mental illness.
Books were my first drug. They took me away from everything and I would just consume them.
Often likened to Hollywood’s Dorothy Parker, Fisher harbored a deep love for language. In a 2008 piece for The Week, she provided a list of the books that most influenced her life and work, including classics by George Eliot, Joan Didion and Salman Rushdie. Read on for her favorites.
“One of the greatest books ever written by a woman, especially in those early days. Although Mary Anne Evans gave herself a male pen name, she showed incredible ambition and scope in her writing—the world she created, the characters she imagined. I love that line in the book that reads: “The really delightful marriage must be that where your husband was a sort of father, and could teach you Hebrew, if you wished it.” It was hard to be a woman in those days, but her storytelling was exceptional.” -CF
Naked by David Sedaris
“This collection of personal essays made me laugh as hard as any book I’ve ever read. I also discovered that I needed glasses when reading this, but still it’s one of the funniest books ever.” -CF
“I love her use of spare narrative throughout this story about an unfulfilled actress looking for purpose in her life. I admired the style then and have tried to pattern some of my own writing in that fashion.” -CF
My Old Sweetheart by Susanna Moore
“She’s an extremely talented writer. Her first novel, set in the 1950s, is about a woman who grew up with a very eccentric mother, which, of course, is why I related to it.” -CF
“I love Salman. He’s a friend of mine, but I loved this book—which allegorically weaves a family’s story with the history of modern India—even before I knew him. I’m just showing off that I know him.” -CF
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
“I’m also showing off that I’ve actually gotten through Swann’s Way, the first volume in Proust’s monumental work In Search of Lost Time. Just getting through those first 100 pages, where he could not fall asleep until his mother kissed him good night, was an achievement alone.” -CF
(via The Week)