Kristen Johnston

The actress and author on reading pleasures old and new.



Best known for her role as alien-among-us Sally Solomon on the hit 1990s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun, Kirsten Johnston brings an outsized personality and brash sense of humor to award-winning work on the stage and screen. Her new memoir, Guts, chronicles her upbringing in an affluent Wisconsin suburb, her early success as an actor in New York's Atlantic Theater Company, and her struggles with addiction. Here she shares three fiction favorites from her shelves.


Purchase Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster


Browse movies and TV series featuring Kristen Johnston




By Emma Donoghue


"This novel is kind of indescribable. It is just an exceptional idea and is brilliantly executed. What an imagination author Emma Donoghue has. I dare you not to fall in love with Jack."






Don't Get Too Comfortable

By David Rakoff


"A collection of funny short stories written with the perfect combination of curiosity, exhaustion, and self-deprecation. David has a beautiful mind."







The Stand

By Stephen King


"Look, I had to -- he's been my favorite writer since I was 14, and I've re-read this book a hundred times. I think what I love most about King isn't his macabre leanings; it's how he creates flawed characters you ROOT for. Not only that, but re-reading this book after September 11 gave me a whole new appreciation of its possibility."

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.