Feature

Jason Segel's 6 favorite books

The actor recommends works by David Foster Wallace, Charlie McDowell, and more

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Back Bay, $18). I had the honor of playing David Foster Wallace in an upcoming film. I feel that Infinite Jest did a real service to humanity in an age where you're told to sit and accept television and advertising. Wallace makes you work for satisfaction. As you trudge through the difficult sections and progress through the book, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. It changed my life and my relationship to reading.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (Puffin, $7). Dahl's books provide wish fulfillment: You discover that you've been chosen for something more than your mundane life. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory caught me at an age when I felt like magic existed, and I could find a golden ticket.

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau, $15). The story unfolds in a mental institution that may be haunted by the devil — or at least its patients think so. An entertaining read that also raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of institutions of all kinds.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (Puffin, $7). I reread Winnie-the-Pooh while I was writing the script for The Muppets to put myself in a childlike head space. Near the end, I would allow myself only one page a day, because I did not want to leave that world.

Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell (Three Rivers, $14). This book began as a Twitter feed about the two girls the author could hear in the apartment above him. It's a hilarious and really honest look at living in the social media generation. McDowell has a unique voice and is an amazing writer.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Dover, $3.50). I read Siddhartha in high school, and I carry a copy with me whenever I travel. I responded to the twists and turns of the Buddha's journey, of trying out a million different ways to live, and the very human story of an enlightened figure.

Screen actor Jason Segel, whose screenplays include Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 2011's The Muppets, has teamed with a co-author to write his first mystery for young readers. Nightmares!, from Random House, launches a planned trilogy.

Recommended

The daily gossip: December 6, 2021
Jennifer Lawrence
Daily gossip

The daily gossip: December 6, 2021

Emerald Fennell recommends 6 promising books
Emerald Fennell.
Feature

Emerald Fennell recommends 6 promising books

The daily gossip: Dec. 3, 2021
Alec Baldwin.
Daily gossip

The daily gossip: Dec. 3, 2021

Alec Baldwin says he 'didn't pull the trigger' in Rust shooting
Alec Baldwin and George Stephanopoulos
'there's only question to be resolved'

Alec Baldwin says he 'didn't pull the trigger' in Rust shooting

Most Popular

Mace vs. Greene is the fight for the future of the GOP
Mace and Greene.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Mace vs. Greene is the fight for the future of the GOP

Kathy Griffin slams CNN for firing her but not Jeffrey Toobin
Kathy Griffin
'I loved that gig'

Kathy Griffin slams CNN for firing her but not Jeffrey Toobin

Trump's apparently a fan of Dr. Oz's Senate candidacy
Dr. Oz.
the doctor is in

Trump's apparently a fan of Dr. Oz's Senate candidacy