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Best books … chosen by Michael J. Fox
'Always Looking Up,' the actor’s memoir about how his life was changed by Parkinson’s disease, is now a New York Times best-seller. Fox is guest-starring this season on the FX series 'Rescue Me.'
 

'Always Looking Up,' the actor’s memoir about how his life was changed by Parkinson’s disease, is now a New York Times best-seller. Fox is guest-starring this season on the FX series 'Rescue Me.'

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage, $8). It’s kind of surprising for someone who’s a self-described optimist to love this apocalyptic road story so much. But McCarthy captures the step-in-front-of-a-train, protect-at-all-costs mind-set of a father and transfers it to the starkest possible context.

The Bird Artist by Howard Norman (Picador, $14). This is a book I wanted to option for a film. The narrator is a young man in early 20th-century Newfoundland who has killed an evil lighthouse keeper. He’s such a gentle soul that he never participated in the local custom of hunting birds, but instead chose to paint them. His story is one of redemption through art, and it’s helped get me through some tough periods. Norman’s hero, faced with a difficult situation, reacts badly, but it gives him the opportunity to evolve in ways he otherwise wouldn’t.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Picador, $16). Chabon is so brilliant. I don’t often fall for epics, but Chabon’s award-winning novel about two comic-book artists is a story about two very personal odysseys, told on an epic scale.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (Vintage, $14). This book was my ­introduction to the idea of a journalist responding to people and situations we couldn’t trust by deliberately delivering writing you couldn’t trust. To me, as a teenager, Thompson seemed dangerous, and the things he was writing about were dark and twisted. Yet there was something reassuring in the fact that the book existed.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Penguin, $9). A celebration of human dignity, and an examination of loyalty and grace in the face of persecution and ignorance. Though I’m obviously no giant, I always identified with Lennie more than with George. We’re all both, of course, which is why the novella is such a towering achievement.

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind (Simon & Schuster, $18). Biskind’s book documents a period in filmmaking that was formative for me. The films made in the ’60s and ’70s by Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Robert Towne, and Hal Ashby represented such a leap forward from just a decade earlier. They shook up the way we all look at movies.

 

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