Taylor Swift is undoubtedly the reigning pop culture queen and one of the most iconic singer-songwriters of our time. Whenever she drops a new album, it almost always finds a spot in the record-breaking platinum side of the music industry and also sets all kinds of beauty, fashion and TikTok/Instagram trends. But despite all that, Swift finds time to read regularly and her literature-inspired songs are proof of this!
Over the years, Taylor Swift has referenced and recommended many books that she enjoyed reading and the ones that inspired her, either on her social media pages or in interviews. For instance, her 2020 album Evermore was inspired by the novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. So, if you want to know which books have played a role in shaping the singer’s childhood, her songs, and her career, read on!
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat Pray Love follows one woman’s spiritual and life-altering journey as she traverses through Italy, India and Indonesia searching for inner peace. The 2006 memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels. An intensely articulate and moving tale of self-discovery, the book is about what can happen when you take responsibility for your own contentment and stop limiting yourself to fit society’s ideals. It is certain to resonate with anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change. The book was even adapted into a movie of the same name, and starred Julia Roberts in the main role.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
This book inspired one of the best songs from Evermore, ‘Tolerate It’. The 1938 Gothic novel written by English author Daphne du Maurier, depicts an unnamed young woman who impetuously marries a wealthy widower. Soon, she discovers that both him and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife, the titular character.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Swift has recommended this book in a magazine article and also on her Instagram stories. The 2017 book is about two young women and best friends, Frances and Bobbi, who become involved with an older couple, Nick and Melissa, in Dublin’s literary scene.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Taylor Swift’s discography is rife with references to The Great Gatsby and if you haven’t already read it, you definitely should. Also, not to judge a book by its cover but this one’s particularly gorgeous. The 1925 novel, which is set during the Jazz Age in New York, narrates the tragic story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy young woman whom he loved during his youth.
Furious Love by Sam Kashner
This is a biography about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s glamorous, volatile, and audacious marriage, which was considered the relationship of the century. Penned by veteran entertainment reporter Sam Kashner and biographer Nancy Schoenberger, Furious Love is truly an authorized and singularly informed biography of these two larger-than-life stars, and of their tumultuous relationship. Taylor Swift was even seen taking cues from the iconic actress’ attires in her ‘Wildest Dreams’ music video, which might’ve been inspired by this relationship.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre has been notably referenced in Swift’s songs, ‘Invisible String’ and ‘Mad Woman’. The book follows the life of an orphan who spends most of her life in a charity school after which she ends up meeting her love interest Mr. Rochester. The seemingly plain and simple girl battles through life’s struggles and has to face her cruel and abusive Aunt Reed, the grim conditions at Lowood school, her love for Rochester and Rochester’s marriage to Bertha.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Taylor read this book when she was tasked with composing music for its movie adaptation. The singer said she loved it and she read it in just two days. In the book, the Hunger Games is an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle royale to the death.
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Taylor Swift had once tweeted saying that John Green is one of her favourite authors. This book might be super popular (read, adapted into a movie), but it’s popular for a good reason. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about two teenagers named Hazel and Augustus, who are hopelessly in love, trying to make the most of their limited time together after Hazel is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Taylor is clearly a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s works and this one’s no exception. With characters representing the extravagance of the upper echelons and the intrinsic conflicts of an ever-changing social environment, Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned investigates the elite society of New York, and probes into the ideas of money and decadence. This Jazz Age novel is considered a masterpiece and continues to remain a bestseller. The tale follows a couple trying to live their lives in the grandest way possible as they are being chafed under financial pressures.
Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie
Peter and Wendy are referenced in Swift’s song ‘Cardigan’ from her 2020 album Folklore. Peter Pan (also known as the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up or Peter and Wendy) is the story of a mischievous little boy who can fly, and his adventures on the island of Neverland with Wendy Darling and her brothers, the fairy Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, the Indian princess Tiger Lily, and the pirate Captain Hook. Read this wonderful book to escape into a magical world, far away from the grim one we’re living in today.
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
This world-famous series written by J. K. Rowling needs no introduction, and we aren’t surprised that it appeals to Swift’s millenial heart. But, still, for the unversed youngins, the popular children’s novels follow the life of Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own.