The James Franco Reading List


In addition to being an actor/artist/director/model/writer/student, James Franco is also an avid reader. How he finds time to do it all, we’re not sure. Apparently, his next project, after finishing his four Master’s degrees and acting in a bunch of upcoming films like Rise of the Apes, is to earn his PhD from Yale. If all goes according to plan, someday soon hordes of young men and women will have the option of enrolling in a class taught by Professor Franco.

In anticipation, we’ve put together a potential reading list that might appear on his syllabus. All of the following ten books have been either explicitly endorsed by the energetic young man or seen accompanying him on breaks in-between shoots.

Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste (33 1/3) by Carl Wilson

Celine Dion sells a lot of albums, but does that mean she’s any good? As we all know, fans and critics have a history of disagreeing when it comes to artistic sensibilities. When asked to expose a guilty pleasure at a red carpet event, James Franco sang the praises of this investigative book — guilt free, too.

Crash: A Novel by J.G. Ballard

This controversial novel is about a man who gets sexually aroused by the idea of cars crashing into each other. It possibly influenced Franco’s own short story involving a car crash, “Just Before the Black.”

The Trouble With Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life by Michael Warner

Franco has expressed interest in studying under Michael Warner at Yale University, where he is the Senior Professor of English Literature and American Studies. With all the gay roles Franco has taken in his career — James Dean, Milk, Howl — we’re sure the academic angle would only complement Franco’s further pursuits in this field.

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

Given what we know about Franco’s voracious appetite for learning and uncanny ability to focus on several projects at once, he probably read this semi-autobiographical, seven-part series at night while filming Eat, Pray, Love alongside Julia Roberts.

Sweet Machine by Mark Doty

Franco, who also enjoys poetry, said this collection by Mark Doty was one of his favorites. We can picture this book sitting on his nightstand while he sleeps and shoved into his back pocket of his jeans while he walks into Starbucks.

The Iliad by Homer

Franco doesn’t skimp on the classics. Neither should you.

The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake (pseudonym Richard Stark)

James Franco is not above crime thrillers. You might think after hearing that he attends Columbia University and has had his art exhibited in a New York gallery that base entertainment like violence and revenge are below him, but they aren’t.

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Finnegans Wake is not an easy book to understand. We’re not saying that James Franco does, but his attempt alone is noble.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This story about a group of abandoned British schoolboys who try to set up a just society after being stranded on a deserted island is an in-depth look into human nature. They had the best of intentions, but ultimately failed. Think Spider-Man 3.

The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie by Agota Kristof

Three narratives rolled into one, the work of Agota Kristof deals with war and conflict, survival and identity, truth and fiction, all set in post-WWII Europe. Franco, indeed, is a well-rounded man.