Share Reading Nora: 12 Essential Books for Every Nora Ephron Fan

Reading Nora: 12 Essential Books for Every Nora Ephron Fan

Julianna Haubner joined the editorial team at Simon & Schuster in September 2014. A lifelong reader, she is most drawn to literary fiction, biography, cultural history, and narrative non-fiction; it’s her firm belief that every human should own a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, and Empire Falls is the book that changed her life. When Julianna’s not reading and reviewing, she’s downloading podcast episodes as if there are more than 24 hours in a day, watching Bravo, baking, and running the Off the Shelf Instagram. You can follow her on Twitter @jhaubner2.

Daughter. Sister. Mother. Wife. Writer. Feminist. Filmmaker. Icon. These are only a few of the words that describe Nora Ephron, the beloved individual known for her wit, honesty, and countless movie moments. Whether she was writing about true love, politicians, or Cosmopolitan, Nora just always seemed to get it, a friendly voice that reached out whenever we needed her most. Though she passed away in 2012, she left a hefty collection of work and inspired countless others. Here are some of our favorites in her canon, as well as other Nora-inspired titles to try.

One Day
by David Nicholls
Two lifelong friends, Dex and Emma, go back and forth between friendly and romantic love and see each other through the highs and lows of life. It asks the age-old question—first asked by Nora in “When Harry Met Sally”—Can men and women just be friends?

by Rainbow Rowell
Lincoln O’Neill is his company’s “internet security officer,” tasked with reading other people’s emails to make sure they are workplace-appropriate. When he comes across a series of personal messages between friends/coworkers Beth and Jennifer, he can’t help being entertained by their exchanges. That is, until he realizes that he’s falling for Beth. "You've Got Mail" fans, this is for you.

The Divorce Papers
by Susan Rieger

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie is toiling away as a criminal law associate when she’s charged with handling the intake interview for Mia Durkheim, who, after eighteen years of marriage, has been served divorce papers. Told entirely through emails, internal memos, and legal documents, THE DIVORCE PAPERS is a hilarious and heartbreaking novel.

The Portable Dorothy Parker
by Dorothy Parker

The daughter of screenwriters, Nora grew up in Hollywood surrounded by impressive and intelligent party guests, whom she would greet in her pajamas. One of them was a legend in her own right and one of Nora’s literary forebears: Dorothy Parker. Brash, self-aware, and unafraid, Parker was known for her sense of humor and style of writing, where everything was fair game.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake
by Sloane Crosley
If you love Nora’s humor and honesty, Sloane Crosley’s debut collection is for you. From dealing with her first boss to accidentally defacing an exhibit in a New York landmark to unapologetically calling the cops on rowdy neighbors, these essays reveal a complex, hilarious, and original woman on the edge of something great.

What Nora Knew
by Linda Yellin

In this novel, Molly Hallberg is almost forty, a divorced writer living in New York who wants her own column when she’s assigned to write a piece “in the style of Nora Ephron” about romance in the Big Apple. As she works her way through Nora’s work, she learns that her city cynicism might just be what’s holding her back.

Not That Kind of Girl
by Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham’s first book of essays about life, love, and personal neuroses is dedicated to Nora, her mentor and friend, and the woman she says inspired her writing and film career. If anyone has come close to becoming the New Nora, it’s Dunham. Another must-read is her remembrance of Nora in The New Yorker.

Sister Mother Husband Dog
by Delia Ephron

Nora Ephron’s sister Delia is a bestselling writer herself, and her 2013 collection of autobiographical essays touch on similar themes of movies, family, life, love, and loss. The most heartwarming (and wrenching) is “Losing Nora,” where she captures the rivalry, respect, and intimate moments that made up her relationship with her sister from childhood to Nora’s death.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
by Mindy Kaling
Another of Nora’s literary descendants. Whether she’s pondering romance, dissecting the Hollywood scene, or laying out plans for her funeral, Mindy Kaling has the funny bone that became Nora’s trademark, and this rom-com-like coming-of-age is just as enjoyable as any of her onscreen classics.

The Most of Nora Ephron
by Nora Ephron
It’s been said that the best way to know a person’s mind is to know their words; in no case is this more true than with Nora Ephron. While the books on this list help us to understand her legacy, this collection of her essays, fiction, screenplays, and works of journalism is the only way to know Nora as she wanted us to know her. In our book, it’s required reading.

by Nora Ephron
When it was first released in 1983, this novel surprised many, not only because it was an autobiographical account of the dissolution of Nora’s marriage to Carl Bernstein, but because it was so funny. Seven months into her second pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband Mark has been having an affair. Cue the drama, the tears, and a screen adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.

I Feel Bad About My Neck
by Nora Ephron

In the last few years of her life, Nora reclaimed her literary crown with this collection, which openly discussed what it meant to be a woman who was getting older and experiencing change. Through ups, downs, and unexpected truths, she kept us laughing.

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create and Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.