Tilda Swinton Shows Her Bookish Side in Chanel Video

WORD PLAY: It turns out Tilda Swinton is as gripping when talking about books as she is on the big screen.

The actress shares her favorite writers and reveals her poetry background in a 26-minute episode of “In the Library With…” for Chanel, part of its Rendez-vous Littéraires Rue Cambon (literary gatherings at Rue Cambon, in English). It debuted on Chanel’s website on Monday, and is sure to inspire many to reread some classics — and go down a wormhole researching the Scottish plumes she trumpets.

“Reading became quite a drug when I was 10,” Swinton says, sharing that she grew up in a household full of books and three brothers who often excluded her from playtime. “Reading was all about company, it was about having a companion.”

Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando” — which she first read at age 13 before it was developed into her breakthrough film in 1992 — and Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” are books she rereads every few years, arguing they illuminate and comfort differently at various ages. She said the latter blew her mind when she first read it at age 15.

She dives deep into writers, and boasts collections of books by P.G. Wodehouse and Muriel Spark, and poetry by Hafez and Norman MacCaig.

You’ll find multiple copies of “La Vie Exemplaire” around her house, which she likes to offer as gifts. The illustrated tome by French illustrator and comic book artist Floc’h shares maxims for a life well lived.

Other writers she recommends include Jamie Salter, John Berger, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Gavin Maxwell, who penned a famous tome about otters titled “Ring of Bright Water.”

Swinton went to university as a brimming young poet, but confessed she has largely hung up her pencil. Still, she delivers a trenchant and vivid explanation about the difference between prose and poetry.

Chanel ambassadors Anna Mouglalis, Margaret Qualley and Charlotte Casiraghi have also appeared in the video series.


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