Books & Art

Chris Pine Is a Low-Key Book Influencer

Be more like The People's Chris: buy your books locally, wear shorts, and mask up.

Did you hear that? The sound of rustling pages, virtual events booting up on Zoom, tumbleweeds rolling through the stacks? That’s the sound of indie bookstores struggling to make ends meet during Pandemic Year Three. But literary heroes come in all sizes, and not all of them wear capes. In fact, some wear short shorts.

Last weekend in sunny Los Angeles, Chris Pine was photographed exiting indie bookseller Skylight Books. We appreciate Pine’s commitment to rocking an Esquire-approved inseam, but it’s not just the shorts we’re loving—it’s the book haul. If photographers are going to follow you around town, you may as well put their scrutiny to good use, which is exactly what Pine did by showing off his purchases, spines-out. He nabbed Caroline Desroche’s Los Angeles Standards, a photobook about Los Angeles typography; Kaoru Takamura's Lady Joker, a crime thriller by a Japanese superstar; Jon Kalman Steffanson’s Summer Light Then Comes the Night, a literary novel from the Icelandic countryside; and Agustina Bazzterica’s Tender is the Flesh, an Argentine dystopia about legalized cannibalism. We love a guy with a global perspective—and a great KN95 mask.

But this isn’t the first time The People’s Chris has repped for books and indie booksellers. In fact, Pine has been a low-key book influencer for a long time now—so much so that his fans have formed book clubs around the titles he references in interviews. Urban legends abound about his time as an undergraduate in the English department at Berkeley, where, if you believe firsthand accounts from Twitter, he made a strong impression writing short stories in an erotica class.


As for shopping local, he’s been photographed patronizing Skylight Books as far back as 2013, and has even been known to take dates there (who among us wouldn’t go on a bookstore date with Chris Pine?). In Summer 2020, he made a splash walking out of Skylight Books with a hefty bag of purchases and a heavy-duty N95 mask, once again pantomiming at the paparazzi. The affection goes both ways; Skylight shared the photos on Twitter, calling themselves “the proud bookseller to Hollywood’s finest Chris.”

This year, let’s all be more like Chris Pine, and waste no time diving into our reading lists. The best Chrises—all the best people, really—shop local and mask up.

Lady Joker

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Los Angeles Standards

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FromEsquire US

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About The Author
Adrienne Westenfeld
Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.
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