Before Chris Pine entered the Star Trek or DC Extended Universes, before playing beloved Lords and Princes, he graduated as an English major from Berkeley. And guess what? He still LOVES to read. He recently sat down with Esquire to talk books with Alex Pappademas and his list is full of books you wont want to miss! We picked a few of our favorites, but you can see the full list here: 15 Books Chris Pine Thinks Everyone Should Read
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
“It’s super mosaic-y, and every time you start getting invested in one of these mosaic pieces, she kind of flips the subject.”
Olga Tokarczuk interweaves reflections of travel, migration, motion, life and even death with brilliant characters that leave us questioning: Who are we? Where are we going? And, where did we come from? A woman travels to Poland to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, a young man begins to lose his mind when his wife and child go missing, only to have them return again, and other haunting, playful, and meditative stories from a brilliant Polish storyteller.
Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takemura
“Kaoru Takemura…She’s like the grande dame of Japanese detective fiction.”
Chris Pine is currently reading Volume 2 in the Lady Joker series, but be sure to catch the first, which is set in Tokyo in 1995. Five men meet weekly to bet on horses and together they represent the struggles of post-War Japan. Seeking revenge for the fifth man’s grandson, the group decides to kidnap the CEO of Japan’s largest beer conglomerate and extract blood money from corrupt financiers.
The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
“He finds the strange brilliance and charisma and perhaps sociopathy of his primary character, and how he twists the lives of the people around him, and he becomes both tragic and awful and worthy of compassion and empathy, like any normal human being. So, it’s really complicated. Brings up a lot as you read it.”
This is the story of man named Gary Gilmore, who robbed two men in 1976 and then murdered them. What made him famous was his insistence on being executed, and his fight for the right to die.
Master of Souls by Irène Némirovsky
“Master of Souls is a great parable about greed, the need for more, ambition. It’s beautiful and short and quite good.”
Dario Asfar, a starving young immigrant doctor, struggles to establish his practice despite being desperate to provide for his wife and son. For survival, he begins to sell himself as the “master of souls” capable of curing restless minds, particularly those of the wealthy.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre
“The Spy Who Came in from the Cold—fucking hands down one of the most gorgeous novels ever written, I think.”
A story of the shadowy years in the early 1960s, when the Cold War was coming to life. Carre puts his British intelligence background to use in this perfectly crafted spy novel that became an instant classic.
The Magician by Colm Toibin
“Thomas Mann lived an extraordinary life. From the Austro-Hungarian Empire into Weimar Republic, into Fascist Germany, then he escapes to France. Then he lives in the fucking Pacific Palisades during World War II, in the expat German community. Then ends up in Switzerland, raises two flamboyantly unapologetic gay artist children in, like, Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. God—just a fucking wild life. Wild life.”
The story of a boy and eventually, a man, his conservative father, unpredictable mother, and his lifelong battles with his innermost desires. Spanning half a century, from World War I, Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War.
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