Since winning an Oscar for her feature film debut in Steve McQueen’s unflinching 12 Years A Slave, Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most revered stars. Following critically-acclaimed turns in blockbuster hits Black Panther, Us, and the Star Wars franchise, Nyong’o penned her first children’s book Sulwe last year, exploring themes of colorism, beauty, and self-acceptance.

Currently working on an HBO miniseries adapted from Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s bestseller Americanah, it’s no surprise she included the coming-of-age story in a top 10 book list for NY-based bookstore One Grand. Find a full list of Lupita Nyong’o’s favorite books below, and complement with the bookshelves of Chimamanda Adichie, Oprah Winfrey and Trevor Noah.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (also rec’d by David BowieFlorence WelchHaruki Murakami & Hunter S. Thompson)

“The book I have read the most times. I love the decadent melancholy of it. I also love the delicate relationship between Gatsby and his unrequited love, Daisy. My favorite sentence from the book is when Daisy says, ‘What will we do with ourselves this afternoon and the day after that, and the next thirty years?’ Now that is restlessness and privilege if I ever heard it!” -LN

An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton

“A book on collective nouns that I read from often, and I wish more people knew about it. I am madly in love with collective nouns! They make language so colorful and ticklish. I love throwing them into casual conversation.” -LN

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

“A very frank, unsentimental and yet heartfelt account of Mr. Cranston’s life with some invaluable practical tips for how to navigate decision making in the entertainment business.” -LN

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (also rec’d by Gabrielle Union & Greta Gerwig)

Americanah is a dramatic romance and a coming-of-age story, a class narrative and a comedy of manners. I first read it in 2013 and I was struck with how exactly I related to Adichie’s depiction of the contemporary African immigrant experience. She captures it, expresses it, analyzes it and celebrates it. It’s a story begging to be experienced visually.” -LN

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

“I love the whimsy of both the story and the illustration. It’s a story about being the odd one out, adoption and belonging, and it tells it so gently and sweetly.” -LN

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

“A shatteringly beautiful memoir about Hinton’s life on death row for 28 years for a crime he did not commit. It’s a real downer to read about something as dark and unfortunate as wrongful incarceration, but Mr. Hinton expresses himself with a heart incomprehensibly swollen with love and gives meaningful insight into his alienating experience. And he does so with a disarming sense of humor.” -LN

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn

“A friend of mine recommended it as a good introduction to comic book reading for adults, and I latched onto it. It’s Romeo and Juliet passion meets Star Wars epic and Game of Thrones provocativeness but with sharp and witty dialogue and incredibly imaginative illustration. My favorite character: Lying Cat: a cat that, instead of meowing, says, ‘lying’ every time someone lies in its presence – now that’s a superpower I would want!” -LN

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson (also rec’d by Oprah Winfrey)

“I come to this book again and again to remind myself what the practice of love is.” -LN

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

“I was stunned by how relevant the themes of the book are to today. I did not imagine that sci-fi would be an enjoyable genre to get into for me, but Butler writes with such a familiarity that the alien is welcome and intriguing. She really artfully exposes our human impulse to self-destruct.” -LN

Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore

“Another odd-one-out story told with lightness, humor and lots of love. Freckleface Strawberry and Sulwe would make great friends.” -LN

(via One Grand Books)

Categories: Activists Actors

Leave a Reply