Books sit on display as patrons use computers at the City of Santa Clarita Public Library Valencia branch in Santa Clarita. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Libraries Of Leaders: On The Bookshelves Of Oscar Winners

The Academy Award, or the Oscar, is one of the most coveted prizes in the world of cinema. Here’s what three Oscar-winning actors read and recommend...

Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins at the Golden Globe Awards in California. (Photographer: Francis Specker/Bloomberg News)
Anthony Hopkins at the Golden Globe Awards in California. (Photographer: Francis Specker/Bloomberg News)

Anthony Hopkins is best remembered for his role as a psychopathic serial killer in the 1991 thriller The Silence of The Lambs. His performance in the film won him the Academy Award in the best actor category. He has also been nominated twice in the best actor category, and once as the best supporting actor. Here are some of his favourite books, according to the website favobooks.com.

1. The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

Set in the 1920s in the posh New York neighbourhood of Long Beach, it’s the story of a billionaire’s romance. The book describes the lifestyles and quirks of the rich and the famous, and is based on Fitzgerald’s experiences of the Long Island party circuit of 1922.

2. Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene

A light and humorous spin on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic ‘Don Quixote’, the book tells the story of a village priest who gets elevated to a senior position in the Church through an error, and travels to Madrid in the company of his best friend and communist politician Sancho.

3. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

A seminal work on the theory of evolution, natural selection and survival of the fittest, the book created a furor when it was first published in 1859 as it went against the Church’s theory of creationism.

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Julia Roberts (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Julia Roberts won an Oscar in 2001 for her portrayal of an American environmental activist Erin Brokovich, who fought a successful legal battle against an American power corporation. She is also remembered for her performances in films such as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and Notting Hill. Roberts shared some of her favourite books with oprah.com.

1. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The book describes the life of women in biblical times through the eyes of a young girl growing up in a red tent with her father -- Jacob’s four wives.

2. An Imaginative Woman And Other Stories by Thomas Hardy

The book is a collection of short stories with often sad and morbid underlying themes. Roberts said that she wasn’t a fan of short fiction but Imaginative Woman was one of her favourites.

3. Wild Palms by William Faulkner

Told as two parallel narratives, Roberts rates this book as her favourite classic. One part of the story is about a woman’s love affair after fleeing from her marriage. The other is about an escaped convict who risks everything to save a pregnant woman’s life.

Ben Kingsley

A file photo of Ben Kingsley (Source: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg)
A file photo of Ben Kingsley (Source: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg)

Ben Kingsley, born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, is probably best remembered for his role as Mahatma Gandhi in the 1983 film Gandhi, for which he won an Oscar. Kingsley was also awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for the performance. Here are some of his favourite books, according to oprah.com.

1. Pretty Birds by Scott Simon

The book is set in wartime Yugoslavia as the country is on the verge of splintering into several smaller states. It tells the story of chaos during the war as experienced by a teenaged sniper.

2. Will by Christopher Rush

The story is a fictional tale of William Shakespeare making his will as he lies on his deathbed and recounts his life and experiences to his lawyer.

2. Brodeck by Philippe Claudel

The book tells the story of a concentration camp survivor who takes up his old job as a government chronicler at the end of the war. He encounters the murder of a stranger in his village, which the community asks him to erase from government accounts. While he writes a fictional report for official records, he sets out to write a personal parallel account of the truth.