A film star since age 7, Drew Barrymore began producing films a decade ago. Her directorial debut, Whip It, starring Ellen Page as a roller-derby star, will be released on DVD next month.
Recently, she told The Week about six of her favorite reads:
Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins (Bantam, $14) This 1980 novel poses the question, by Page 2: “How do you make love stay?” And the psychedelic, fun, and adventurous way in which Tom Robbins goes about the exploration of this question is like a fairy tale for wild adults.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl (Beacon, $7). This book changed my life. Frankl, a psychologist and concentration-camp survivor, shows how we can find the higher meaning in everything, even in the most dire situations. He explains to the reader how to go about doing this, and he speaks with experience. This book defines inspiration.
Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski (Ecco, $14). I find it easy to relate to the male perspective of writers like John Fante, Paul Bowles, and Charles Bukowski—their sense that life can be hard, that liquor and sex can help us escape, and that family can be heartbreaking. Yet a humorous joy can be found in their liberated and cantankerous short stories and novels, including this one.
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut (Dial, $15). This is again just what reading a book should be. You put it down, and feel as though you have been transported to another world. I have read 10 of Vonnegut’s books, and they all do this. He was a master of weaving us in and out of the most unique worlds I have ever known.
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (Grove, $14) Harvey Fierstein gave me a copy of Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 best-seller, and when I put down my classic and picked it up, I remembered that we sometimes need to get off our literary high horses and read something this absolutely delicious!
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner, $16). This is the book that, as a die-hard romantic, I remember making me cry the hardest. I loved falling in love with Hemingway’s novel as its hero falls in love with “Catherine.” I had to finish the book alone in the other room so that I could just let my emotions pour out. I cried so hard, and it is wonderful when someone can evoke that in your heart!