For a few years I kept a book club going where we would meet almost every month to have a chat about a specific book. It was really fun and enlivening, but the group mostly consisted of women and over the course of a year they all became pregnant. This meant the group naturally fragmented and gradually dropped off. The other day I was thinking about how it’d be nice to be reading books as part of a group that physically meets again. Then I started daydreaming about what celebrities I would like to be in a book club with. Of course, there are lots of writers I’d like to sit down and have a good natter about books with. I was thinking more about people who aren’t authors themselves but individuals in the media who are known to have a serious intellectual side to them. This is the list I came up with. Wouldn’t they make the best bunch to sit down with over cups of tea and plates of cake to discuss the latest read?

 What about you? What are the five celebrities you’d like to be in a book group with?


Carolyn Porco

Planetary scientist and the woman who Neil deGrasse Tyson calls “Madame Saturn” is responsible for giving us a unique view of our world. She was one of the scientists alongside Carl Sagan who enabled the Voyager 1 spacecraft to turn around and take a picture of Earth when it was 3.7 billion miles away from us. The photo is only of a “pale blue dot” smaller than a single pixel, but it challenges us to think about our place within the universe. In interviews she’s always perceptive and engaging so I’m certain that Carolyn would also have fascinating perspectives about literature.

Nigella Lawson

As a former newspaper literary editor, Lawson has always been deeply engaged with books. She’s well known for her cookbooks, tv programs and had been the unfortunate victim of many tabloids scandals of late. But all you have to do is look at the size of her library to see how serious she is about reading. Here is an interview with her about her favourite books:

Ben Whishaw

Whishaw has appeared in many films and theatre productions with a literary bent. He portrayed the poet John Keats in the 2009 film ‘Bright Star’, the central character of Jean-Baptiste in the adaptation of Patrick Suskind’s novel “Perfume” and he will soon be appearing as the first voiced version of the animated bear Paddington in a new film of Michael Bond’s famous children’s book. Shy, intelligent and thoughtful, Whishaw is also rather easy on the eyes.

Julianne Moore

Speaking of children’s books, actress Julianne Moore has written one herself called “Freckleface Strawberry.” She’s spoken in interviews before about how important books are to her and what an inspiration literature was for her growing up. This is another movie star that has appeared in many adaptations of great books such as “A Map of the World”, “The End of the Affair”, “The Shipping News”, “What Maisie Knew” and, my favourite, “The Hours.”

Alain de Botton

This is slightly a cheat as de Botton has written novels and more popular philosophical books as well. But I think of him more as a presenter and educator known for orchestrating his successful establishment called The School of Life. He’s received a lot of flak for his work which I think is undue as he’s a serious intellectual concerned with helping people engage with the humanities and their life in a more positive way. The only School of Life event I’ve been to is a secular sermon given by the artist David Shrigley about vice. It was both hilarious and fascinating.

AuthorEric Karl Anderson