Wendi McLendon-Covey’s 10 Favorite Books

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Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is The Goldbergs star Wendi McLendon-Covey’s list.

Just Kids, by Patti Smith
There’s not really a road map for becoming an artist other than the following: get up off your ass every day and make an effort; don’t be afraid to try and fail, and don’t wait for permission to get started; if you don’t have money, get creative with materials that you find or make; believe without a doubt that you were meant for something more, and that no one else can say something the way you can. If you’re fascinated (like I am) by the New York artist scene in the ’60s and ’70s, and how the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s swept through and took its toll, Just Kids will blow your mind.

Walking With the Muses: A Memoir, by Pat Cleveland
This is about the incredible life of a creative free spirit who followed her dreams and set in motion a fashion career that’s lasted five decades and counting. This memoir is dishy without being vindictive, and inspirational without being preachy.

A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel
This book is so important to me because of the way Kimmel puts into words how a happy, funny kid can still sense that there’s something wrong with all the adults around her. Haven Kimmel had a happy childhood in a small town, but her house was filled with the kind of tensions that children sense but can’t articulate.

M Train, by Patti Smith
M Train will take you in and out of dreamscapes and reality and remembrances with prose so spare and matter-of-fact that it delivers a much bigger emotional punch. Patti Smith doesn’t need to embellish; she just tells her stories … and her stories are incredible.

Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
The main character of this novel is an adult man who lives with his mother, and who fancies himself too intelligent to participate in mainstream society or to hold down a normal job. Don’t we all have relatives like this? Well, I do!

She Got Up Off the Couch, by Haven Kimmel
She Got Up Off the Couch is the follow-up story to A Girl Named Zippy describing how Kimmel’s mother literally got up off the couch, enrolled herself in college, and made a better life for herself after her husband left. Proof that you’re never too old to start over, and how important it is for your children to see you pull yourself up.

La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, by Elaine Sciolino
Sciolino gives us an inside view of how seduction works in all areas of French life, from advertising to politics to interpersonal relationships. La Seduction at its core is just a way to appeal to someone by finding common ground, and no one does that like the French! And in my opinion, it’s so much more interesting than the browbeating we resort to here in the USA.

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl, by Debra Ollivier
I read this whenever I feel like a slob (read: I’ve reread it many times). There’s nothing wrong with a little self-possession, there’s beauty in taking time for yourself just because you feel like it, and there’s nothing wrong with NOT divulging every secret! Be like a French girl and cultivate your own “secret garden!”

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977–2002), by David Sedaris
I’m a big fan of David Sedaris; I love all his books and have them all on audio and e-reader, in addition to hard copies. But I love this particular book the most because it gives us the backstory on what he was going through personally while he was collecting material for some of his most popular stories like “Santaland Diaries.” He also records bits of eavesdropped conversations and bizarre anecdotes … if you’re a Sedaris fan, you won’t be disappointed.

The Edge of Everything, by Jeff Giles
I normally wouldn’t find myself reading a young-adult novel, but when something is as suspenseful and well-written as this one, why not? The story is about a 17-year-old girl named Zoe who’s still in shock from a year’s worth of traumatic events. She gets involved with someone she’s not supposed to, and it makes her question whether she should or shouldn’t take a gamble on what might be perfect love. I’m sure they’ll make a movie about this eventually, but read the book first!

Wendi McLendon-Covey’s 10 Favorite Books