Emily Ratajkowski's Favorite Books Are All About Having Healthy Relationships

Although the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Emily Ratajkowski's name is probably the word model, there's far more to Ratajkowski than someone who effortlessly owns the catwalk. She's also an actress, having played the role of the "other woman" in the 2014 film "Gone Girl," an outspoken advocate for women's reproductive rights, and in 2021, she got to add 'New York Times Bestselling author' to her resume when she published her memoir, "My Body." And if you haven't guessed by now, the multi-hyphenate loves to read.


"I definitely associate different writers and books with different parts of my life," Ratajkowski told Esquire in 2015. "Like, I remember the first novel that really made an impact on me was 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' which is an obvious one." In fact, she first read it at the tender age of eight. "My mom was really into it and she had given it to me," she said.

When you start with such a banger of a book so young, you're pretty much destined to have a really eclectic list of favorites as you get older. While she told Vogue in 2021, it's "almost impossible to just pick five books," over the years and in different interviews, Ratajkowski has spoken about her favorites, giving us a well-rounded selection you should check out.


Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett

Published in 2004, "Truth & Beauty: A Friendship" is Ann Patchett's memoir about her friendship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy whom she met in 1981. The two women were lucky enough to have a unique and life-changing friendship that lasted two decades, before Grealy died of a heroin overdose in 2002.


"I read this book when I was in college," Ratajkowski told Vogue in 2021. "Someone gave it to me because it was about female friendship... They weren't just friends, though, they were young women navigating sex and beauty (Grealy had some physical deformities due to a childhood cancer), and there's something so honest about this book that it makes you kind of wonder: Is it okay to tell a story this way?"

Because the book was so honest and intimate in what it shared, as Ratajkowski pointed out, an issue arose between Patchett and Grealy's family regarding how she was portrayed. "But I have yet to read as compelling a work about female friendship, female beauty, and ideals about male desire — and all those things intersect with what I write about in my book," said Ratajkowski. Although Grealy's family never really got over the fact they were not allowed time to deal with their grief before publication of Patchett's book, her sister, Suellen, told The Guardian in 2004 that "Ann was a far better 'sister' to Lucy than I could ever have been."


Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

While "Madame Bovary" definitely takes a 180 from "Truth & Beauty: A Friendship," it shows what happens when you don't have a healthy relationship with yourself. Emma is married to Charles Bovary who, although kind and loving, doesn't satisfy Emma's need for adventure in her life. So Emma basically takes a page from Coco Chanel who once said, "My life didn't please me. So I created my life," but she does so at very high price.


"I was 19 when I read it and I think [three-quarters] of the way through, the tragedy of her mistakes and her misguided attempts at happiness really got me," Ratajkowski told Elle in 2022. "I remember shoulder shaking crying for hours after I finished the book because I was so struck by it. I hadn't expected to have such an emotional reaction — I had thought 'oh you're just reading a classic' and written it off as such. Now I always tell people, if you haven't read 'Madame Bovary,' you should definitely read it, it will reach you." It will reach anyone who's ever wanted for more, to be honest.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

When it comes to feminist writers who really get to the heart of the matter, there's no one quite like bell hooks. As not just an author, but a theorist and social critic who explored intersectionality of race and gender long before "intersectionality" was a household word, in "All About Love," hooks dives into what it means to love ourselves, give love, receive love, and the importance that's put on romantic love, despite it not being the only type of love that exists.


"I really admire bell hooks for how plainly and directly she writes," Ratajkowski told Vogue in 2021. "She has no pretentious aspirations in her writing; rather she is just specific and deliberate. This is one of her more recent books, and it entails a really refreshing marriage between a spiritual and intellectual approach to understanding what love is and what it's capable of doing for us." Adding that "All About Love" makes a great gift for anyone, Ratajkowski said, "It's a beautiful book that has a lot of hope in it." And if there's anything the world can use, especially when it comes to love, it's hope.

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

Although the protagonist, Marie Wyeth, in Joan Didion's 1970 novel, "Play It As It Lays" is completely opposite from Emma Bovary, it still examines the relationship one has with oneself, especially during a time of so much social and political change, as well as the other relationships that impact us.


"I read a lot of books in one sitting just because if I put something down for too long and leave it, I'll never finish it," Ratajkowski told Elle in 2022. "But I'd have to say 'Play It As It Lays.' It was not the first Didion I'd ever read, but it was one that I felt instantly sucked in by and it kind of reads like a fever dream, so it's really good one to read in one go."

"Play It As It Lays" covers topics like women's reproductive rights, infidelity, suicide, and mental health. It was ahead of its time, to say the least. It's also been credited with helping to define modern American fiction as we know it today, in addition to Didion's 1977 novel "A Book of Common Prayer."

The Reckonings: Essays on Justice for the Twenty-First Century by Lacy M. Johnson

Published in 2018, Johnson's memoir, "The Reckonings: Essays on Justice for the Twenty-First Century," is essentially about people's relationship with the world and the violence that is often there. For example, violence against women, the environment, against people of color, and so on down the list. In other words, it's not called "The Reckonings" without a good reason.


"I have reread this book several times in the past few years," Ratajkowski told The Week in 2021. "It's always the first book I recommend to friends. Lacy M. Johnson covers everything from feminism to global warming through an intertwining of cultural references and extremely raw personal narratives. She tackles big questions about justice, forgiveness, and survival with poetic, sharp writing." The essays are a reflection of where our society is now, where it's been, and where it's going. It's definitely not an easy read, but eye-opening truths never are.