The political commentator, humorist and host of Real Time with Bill Maher has spent the past four decades honing a comedic style that’s snarky, caustic, and deeply provocative. A self-identified liberal who regularly puts both the right and left on blast, Maher has been a fixture of American late-night TV since the early 90s. He’s also authored five books, performed 11 HBO comedy specials, and wrote and starred in 2008’s documentary film Religulous. That same year, Maher shared a reading list of favorite books with The Week. From Heart of Darkness to Don Quixote, find a list of 6 books recommended by Bill Maher below.


Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (also rec’d by Patti Smith & Jim Morrison)

“My all-time favorite, even before Francis Ford Coppola turned it into Apocalypse Now. The ultimate topic, the ultimate metaphor. What great book couldn’t have been called Heart of Darkness?” -BM

The Most of S.J. Perelman by S.J. Perelman

“The man who wrote many Marx Brothers movies was the greatest wordsmith America has ever produced. This collection brings together his comic essays, most of which originally appeared in The New Yorker. You have to read him with a dictionary, but it’s worth it.” -BM

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

“The fact that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza have been ripped off as Ralph Kramden­/Ed Norton and Fred Flintstone/Barney Rubble should tell you something about why this first great novel endures.” -BM

Story of My Life by Jay McInerney

“Some say Jay McInerney partied too much and it hurt his output, but the fact that the party produced this brilliant, hysterically funny description of the party makes the partying worth it in my book. That the novel’s narrator is based on a young woman who, I’ve heard lately, grew up to become John Edwards’ mistress of course only makes it better.” -BM

Elvis by Albert Goldman

“Denounced as tabloid trash when first published, this 1981 bio is anything but. Goldman has a brilliant eye for detail and larger-than-what-you-see analysis. And the descriptions of the way this hillbilly lived are just laugh-out-loud funny.” -BM

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (also rec’d by Bob DylanBruce SpringsteenPatti SmithRay BradburySteve Jobs & Tilda Swinton)

“I haven’t actually read this one, but I’ve heard such good things I thought I should mention it.” -BM

(via The Week)

Categories: Comedians

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