Over a career spanning more than seven decades, actor, filmmaker, and legendary funnyman Mel Brooks set the standard for American comedy on screen and on stage. Celebrated as the mind behind some of the best comedic films ever made – including The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights – Brooks charts his meteoric rise to success in the 2021 memoir All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business.

Covering everything from his Depression-era Brooklyn childhood and military service in World War II, to his iconic creative output with the late Carl Reiner and 40-year marriage to Anne Bancroft, the book offers fans insight into the highs and lows behind the legendary entertainer’s incredible body of work.

An avid reader himself, Brooks recently sat down with Amazon Book Review to share some of his favorite titles of the last year. From Bing Crosby’s biography to Daniel Defoe’s desert island masterpiece, find his recommendations below, and complement with Gene Wilder’s favorite books of all time.

Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946 by Gary Giddins

“Maybe my favorite book. I must have read it over a hundred times, and it never fails me. Even though Crusoe is adrift on a lonely island, he never loses his faith in his own ability to conquer the unknown and live to see home once again. Daniel Defoe has written a true work of art that stands the test of time.” -MB
“For me, there is nothing like the British nautical battles of Horatio Nelson in the early 19th century. He led them to enormous sea victories like the battles of the Nile, Copenhagen and most famously, Trafalgar. Stockwin really knows early British navy lore, with masts, spars, rigging, sails, cannons, frigates, and ships of the line. In Thomas Kydd, the author has a created a wonderful daring-do British commander. Kydd knows his job as captain standing proudly on the deck of his ship of the line. He’s never out-thought or outmaneuvered. Exciting stuff!” -MB

(via Amazon Book Review)