Are Celebs *Actually* Reading These Books in Quarantine?

Probs not—but here are some books you're sure to enjoy reading in lockdown

It seems like we’re forever trying to prove that celebs really are like us, whether it’s by purchasing groceries themselves, walking their own dogs or…reading? An April 30 piece by the New York Times took the current quarantine sitch as an opportunity to decipher just what celebrity’s readings habits say about them. With everyone currently hunkered down at home because of COVID-19, and celebs making television appearances from their homes via Zoom and Skype, the masses have gotten a behind-the-scenes peek at the offices and work areas of the rich and famous. And not only does the location from where celebs like John Legend and Matthew McConaughey choose to do their video calls give us regular folks a look at where they do business, but we can also learn a lot about these stars from the books on their bookshelves—which are frequently pictured just behind their meticulously coiffed head.

From Cate Blanchett showing her apparent love for literature about Soviet capitals on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Prince Charles pictured on the @clarencehouse Instagram feed with a book about glassblowing visible, to Paul Rudd appearing on Saturday Night Live with Thomas Hardy’s 18th century novel Jude the Obscure peeking out, we’ve now *reportedly* seen into the minds of some of our favourite people in Hollywood. With this intimate info, we can now discern if, say, Rudd is really as sweet and intellectual as his character in Clueless. Right?!

Truth be told, when it comes to the books they’re putting on display in their home offices, bedrooms and reading nooks, celebs really *are* like us—but probably not in the way we might think.

Because folks, I am 100% certain that these celebs have never read the books we’re seeing in the background of these Zoom interviews. And if they have, the books are not there to give us commoners a glimpse into the celeb psyche, but rather because they fit into their bookshelf aesthetic. And how can I be so sure, you might ask? Because *I* 100% do the same thing. We all do it!

While I would legit kill for a celeb-certified reading nook (seriously, have you seen Mandy Moore’s?), I have one lone desk, and you better believe that I have curated the heck out of it! And that includes the stack of books that sits on it. Yes, I have read said books (pictured below), and enjoyed some more than others, but let’s be real: those *specific* books are there because they look super cute together and prop up the vase to my perfectly desired height.

My *very* intentionally curated desk
My *very* intentionally curated desk

I can guarantee that all this little stack of books will convey about my intellect is that I love a good font.

As if Paul Rudd is *actually* reading Jude the Obscure?! That book is boring as hell. (OK, it’s actually a pretty influential text, but still boring AF). And I should know, because I was forced to read it for an English lit class in my undergrad. No one besides an English major would ever even *think* to pick up a copy of Jude the Obscure unless they were absolutely forced to (and then subsequently overcharged for it at the campus bookstore). 

And are people actually walking around believing that Cate Blanchett is just casually pulling out her copies of The Oxford English Dictionary in between reading scripts, to flip through to random pages and ponder over new words? She doesn’t have the time, even in quarantine! Also, how would she even lift those massive books? She is a dainty, angelic woman and those dictionaries look like something found in the tombs of King’s Landing.

So while we may never truly find out if forever heartthrob Rudd is *actually* as intellectual as Clueless‘s Josh via his bookshelves (although, I have a strong hunch he is), we can leave you with some A+ books you’ll actually want to read (and then proudly display on your own bookshelf). And we promise there’s no Jude the Obscure.