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."

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.