Anthony Hopkins recommends3 min read

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photo: Elena Torre

The prominent actor recommends books on belief and about people who believe.

“Letters and Papers from Prison” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

–from interview to

While the Diary of Anne Frank may be a good highlight into the life of a normal teenage girl imprisoned in the horror of World War II, Bonhoeffer’s letters are a good insight into a man imprisoned for his stance against Hitler. The Lutheran pastor, having been locked up for his resistance work to assassinate Hitler, writes unguardedly to others about the world, the church, and Christianity in simple but eloquent terms. Reading this controversial work of a pacifist-turned-activist may be more enlightening when perused alongside his other classics, including Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.

“Ideas And Opinions” by AlbertEinstein

–from interview to

As if the name of the author weren’t enough, this may be one of the best books to read for insight on the famed physicist himself, along with the theories that launched him into the public eye. More than just an outline of atomic energy or the nature of relativity, this book delves into background philosophies that makes the realm of science worthwhile: interconnection, politics, community values, discoveries, moral standards, and ideals. The collection of published works, speeches, and letters shines a light on parts of human existence that remain affected by, if not driven by, scientific endeavors.

“The Great Gatsby” byF. Scott Fitzgerald

Also recommended by Chuck Palahniuk, Haruki Murakami

The Great Gatsby, the crowning achievement of the literary career of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in the Jazz Age, that is, 1920s. This is the story of Jay Gatsby, very wealthy and powerful billionaire, who is in love with Daisy Buchanan. As almost every man of power, Gatsby likes to throw luxurious parties, gather the Beautiful People in his house. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of XXth century literature.

   “The Ascent of Man” by JacobBronowski

–from interview to

Bronowski’s work is applauded in its book recommendations by the Humanists of Utah, right alongside Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species – but for different reasons. The succinct historical summaries remind readers of the author’s adherence to the precision of mathematics, and the writing ability reminds readers that the author was a great fan of the poet William Blake. From the visible stone and marble arches of the Greeks and the Romans, to the invisible effects of imagination turned visible (such as alchemy experiments and the nature of atoms), Bronowski shows that his work is worth reading – not just watching on the BBC.

   “Monsignor Quixote” by GrahamGreene

–from interview to

For those who like the softer side of Graham Greene’s imagination, this would be one of his best books. While Greene’s descriptions of the whisky-flavoured priest in The Power and the Glory may grate on readers’ sensibilities, this priest fondly believes himself to be a descendant of the famous chivalrous Cervantes character, Don Quixote. After rendering kindness to an Italian bishop’s car and stomach, the priest is promoted to Monsignor status. He promptly goes on a Quixote-style roadtrip, complete with an ex-mayor who becomes his Sancho Panza, and enlightening discussions on religion and Communism ensue.

 “On the Origin of Species” byCharles Darwin

–from interview to

Also mentioned in 7 Books To Read Before You Die According To Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Though some of the theories are a bit dated, Darwin’s pinnacle of writing has garnered him many book recommendations – in his own century and beyond. Legal battles have raged over Darwin’s explanation of the wide-reaching implications of natural selection, and many species’ struggle for mere survival. Much is written (and lamented) about the sequence of fossils and various imperfections in the records of geology, and there are many insights on the variety of species and their adaptations. This is certainly one of the best books to read for those wanting a clear look at the origins of modern evolutionary theory, including Darwin’s compilation of others’ research along with his own, and the complex nature of the human eye.

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