Whether you know him from Family Ties, from Back to the Future, or for his activism dedicated to eliminating Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox likely has a part of your brain devoted to him. A part of your brain that smiles whenever you think of him.
Fox himself tries to keep his smile on, even as he’s in his third decade of his diagnosis of Parkinson’s. But as he reveals in his new memoir, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality (November 17), staying positive can be one of the hardest things to do.
We asked Fox which books he read and loved this year, and here’s what he said.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
This Pulitzer Prize winner is epic. I still love it after several readings. It’s got everything: boy geniuses, super heroes, a golem, and the breadth and depth of the whole human experience. Just read it, as well as or along with any or all of Chabon’s other rich works.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
My son read this in the 11th grade, and it sat on our bookshelf for the dozen or so years since. The gathering movement for racial and social justice compelled me to pick it off the shelf. Powerful and revelatory. The nameless narrator describes himself as “the invisible man.” A life of isolation, cruelty, and violence create an untenable circumstance. Reading this work, I understood how Ralph Ellison became one of the major American voices of the 20th century. A haunting tour de force.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan
We all know about the symbiotic give and take in nature—for example, between honeybees and flowers. But in The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan shows that people and domesticated plant forms have the same kind of reciprocal relationship. What I love about this book is that it turns everything on its head, including the illusion of who is in control. We think we are, but in many cases, the plants are calling the shots. They manipulate us into doing what’s best for them. Incredible. Full disclosure: Michael Pollan is my brother-in-law.
The Stranger by Harlan Coben
This is one of the best, from one of the best. The Stranger is creepy, mysterious, and full of expertly delivered suspense. It’s okay to have a secret; it all depends on who shares it with you, and who else they’re sharing it with. My favorite among Harlan Coben’s treasure trove of addictive thrillers. Full disclosure: Harlan is my brother-in-golf.
Photo credit: Mark Seliger
The beloved actor—and author of four books—shares the reads that grabbed him this year.