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Bradley Cooper’s 10 favourite books of all time


In the excellent Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper’s character Pat hurls A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway out of the window in disgust. It adds insult to injury that the window is actually closed. Unperturbed by the shower of smashed glass, Cooper continues to rant, “The world is hard enough as it is guys, it’s f—king hard enough as it is, can’t someone say let’s be positive, let’s have a good ending to the story!”

In truth, you should be able to blow the best poetry towards a window with ease and have the words shatter it when they collide, but that’s not necessarily is at play here. And you can’t blame the enraged Pat too much, there aren’t many things worse than when a story doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. However, unlike his character, Cooper himself is clearly not averse to a touch of darkness entering his bookshelf. 

When he listed his ten all-time favourites for Radical Reads, the Hangover star provided a reading list for all moods. He kicked things off with a youthful classic that Bob Odenkirk also loves, with Mark Twain’s timeless classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. “What can I say? I remember reading it in school, and it was one of the first books that made me realize I loved reading,” he said. 

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Continuing: “There’s something about travelling down the river—the flow—and how he made me see and smell the environment. It really transported me to a different time.” That transportive feel is something that has gripped millions as the novel continued to bring nostalgia and adventure forevermore. 

Next up on his list is a controversial classic that became a counterculture classic. With Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov graced a harrowing subject with such filigreed prose that tomes of texts have been written about the book itself in the aftermath. And Cooper puts his finger on a fine detail that makes it all the more impressive, “Nabokov’s writing is brilliant, especially considering that English was his third language.”

Elsewhere, Cooper also delves into the pages of imaginative postmodern forms with The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The synopsis of Kundera’s novel describes it as “the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover.”

However, the plot and prose are only half of the weaving end result, as Cooper identifies in his glowing testimony, “The idea of playing with the structure of a traditional novel, and the characters he creates, and the author’s voice in them, was really eye-opening.” The novel is a fine example of what a book can be. Beyond the words and story, they can beguile in myriad ways. 

You can check out Cooper’s full list of choices below. 

Bradley Cooper’s 10 favourite books of all time:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Geek Love: A Novel – Katherine Dunn
  • Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
  • Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  • The Way to Rainy Mountain – N. Scott Momaday
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – Sherman Alexie
  • The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
  • The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand 

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