Back in 2001, between the fourth and fifth installments of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling shared 6 of her favorite books with O Magazine. Encompassing breakthrough children’s stories, Jane Austen’s Emma and Colette’s much-lauded Cheri, the list offers a glimpse into the literary influences of the woman whose words cast a spell over millions.

Read on for a list of J.K. Rowling’s favorite books, and complement with Emma Watson’s reading list.


Skellig by David Almond

“It’s the best children’s book I have read recently.” -JKR

Emma by Jane Austen

“Virginia Woolf said of Austen, ‘For a great writer, she was the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness,’ which is a fantastic line. You’re drawn into the story, and you come out the other end, and you know you’ve seen something great in action. But you can’t see the pyrotechnics; there’s nothing flashy.” -JKR

Cheri by Colette (also rec’d by Philip Roth)

“I could never write the way Colette did. I’ve never found anything to match her descriptive passages, ever. She was a very sensual writer, and way beyond her time. Chéri is a love story between a very spoiled young man and his mistress who has “been there, done that.” He’s self-centered and vicious, and she ultimately turns out to be very noble. The final scene is incredibly moving; it makes me cry. I absolutely bow to Colette, but I think if she could hear me, she would probably tell me where to get lost, because she was that kind of woman.” -JKR

The Deportees & Other Stories by Roddy Doyle

“I love all his books. I often talk about him and Jane Austen in the same breath. I think people are slightly mystified by that because superficially they’re such different writers. But they both have a very unsentimental approach to human nature. They can be profoundly moving without ever becoming mawkish.” -JKR

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (also rec’d by Hayao Miyazaki)

“Goudge was the only one whose influence I was conscious of. She always described exactly what the children were eating, and I really liked knowing what they had in their sandwiches.” -JKR

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit

“She’s the children’s writer with whom I most identify. She said, ‘By some lucky chance, I remember exactly how I felt and thought at 11.’ That struck a chord with me. The Story of the Treasure Seekers was a breakthrough children’s book. Oswald is such a very real narrator, at a time when most people were writing morality plays for children.” -JKR

(via O Magazine)

Categories: Writers

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