Niki Caro’s Favorite Books

Courtesy of Focus Features

Kiwi director Niki Caro came to prominence with the 2002 release of her critically acclaimed “Whale Rider,” but it’s in the last five years that’s established herself as one of our most able directors, including Mulan, which made her only the fourth woman ever to direct a movie with a budget topping out at $100 million, and The Zookeeper’s Wife (starring Jessica Chastain). Her latest project, for Netflix, is The Mother, starring Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick, and Gael García Bernal.

Below are Niki Caro’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


The Zookeeper's Wife

Diane Ackerman
The extraordinary true story of an ordinary woman, a zookeeper’s wife, who saved over three hundred Jewish refugees by smuggling them out of the Warsaw ghetto and concealing them in the cages of her zoo, and the basement of the zoo’s villa. Truly inspiring and increasingly relevant in these political times.
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Blood, Bones & Butter

Gabrielle Hamilton
Because reading about food is somehow almost as good as actually eating it. Because of the author’s honesty, her grit, her bluntness and her respect for sheer hard work. Also for her sensitivity and sensuality. Because I worked in restaurant kitchens for a decade, and because her story and mine have way too many similarities.
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The Bone People

Keri Hulme
New Zealand’s greatest novel and the one book that will transport me instantly home. Three disparate characters come together to form a fragile and unlikely family; their need to connect at odds with their fear of attachment. One of those books that wipes you out, no matter how many times you read it.
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A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara
Because I read it on my days off when I was shooting The Zookeeper’s Wife and I want to read it again. Because it is deeply and profoundly human, and managed to devastate and uplift me at the same time.
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Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery
Because I just directed the pilot of the boldly reimagined Anne for Netflix and CBC. And because if I was alone on a desert island, Anne would be like a plucky, chatty, imaginary friend. Who wouldn’t shut up.
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All My Puny Sorrows

Miriam Toews
Read while directing Anne in Canada. A book that begins with two spirited sisters and a forward-thinking mother in a Mennonite community was always going to be irresistible to me. That it also encompasses musical prodigy, the prospect of assisted suicide, and the forthright, self-deprecation of its flawed and funny lead character made it even more so.
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The God of Small Things

Arundhati Roy
Because the first time I read it, I could not imagine there had ever been, or ever would be, a better book ever written. Because I would be curious to read it again and see if I still felt the same way. I suspect I would.
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The Sick Bag Song

Nick Cave
Brilliant, scathing, poignant poems from the road. I can’t get enough of this book.
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The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Junot Diaz
Bought this one in an airport bookstore in Perth, Australia and have carried it around the world with me ever since. Can’t imagine being on a desert island without it.
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Haruki Murakami
Also bought in an airport bookstore, in hardback, and carried lovingly from New Zealand to Europe and back. It is a monumental book in every way, and when I am done happily re-reading it on hypothetical desert island, I imagine I could use it as a small table.
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