Lupita Nyong’o: TOP TEN BOOKS

Lupita Nyongo

Born in Mexico City, where her Kenyan father was teaching at the time, Lupita Nyong’o has fast become one of America’s most celebrated actors. She won an Oscar for her movie debut in Steve McQueen’s searing film, 12 Years A Slave, and quickly expanded her audience as a Wankandan spy in 2018’s Black Panther, and as Maz Kanata in the Star Wars franchise. Although she considers theater her first love, TV and film has been the focus of much of her attention lately. She is currently at work as both a producer and actor on HBO’s adaptation of Chima­manda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling novel, Americanah. When she’s not acting, she’s writing: in 2019 she published her first children’s book, Sulwe, about a young girl “born the color of midnight” who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter until learning to celebrate who she is. Asked to address the challenges of being black in Hollywood, Nyong’o told Vogue in 2017, “I don’t think of what I don’t have; I think of what I do, and use that to get the next thing.”

Below are Lupita Nyong’o’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


The Great Gatsby

F.Scott Fitzgerald
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!
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An Exaltation of Larks

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.
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A Life in Parts

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.
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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.
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Not Quite Narwhal

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.
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The Sun Does Shine

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.
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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!
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A Return to Love

Marianne Williamson
I come to this book again and again to remind myself what the practice of love is.
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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.
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Freckleface Strawberry

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