Bradley Cooper on His Favorite Books: ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ ‘Lolita,’ Ayn Rand

In The Words, in theaters Sept. 7, Bradley Cooper plays a famous writer embroiled in a plagiarism scandal. He gives The Daily Beast his favorite books, from Huckleberry Finn’ to Lolita to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

I’ve always wanted to be a curator! I used to go to museums when I was a kid. OK, without further ado:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainWhat can I say? I remember reading it in school, and it was one of the first books that made me realize I loved reading. There’s something about traveling down the river—the flow—and how he made me see and smell the environment. It really transported me to a different time.

Lolita by Vladimir NabokovNabokov’s writing is brilliant, especially considering that English was his third language.

Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine DunnThere’s a fantastical nature to this family, yet you can really relate to all the richly drawn characters.

Revolutionary Roadby Richard YatesI’ve never seen suburbia portrayed in such a way that was so riveting. He really captured it.

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthyYou can pick any book by Cormac McCarthy, really, but all the characters—the judge, in particular—are just incredible.

The Unbearable Lightness of Beingby Milan KunderaThe idea of playing with the structure of a traditional novel, and the characters he creates, and the author’s voice in them, was really eye-opening.

The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott MomadayN. Scott Momaday is a poet, and there’s a musicality to the poetry that’s great.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman AlexieAn amazing series of short stories that really allowed you to relate to these Native American characters.

The Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinJust the sadness; the utter sadness of their simplistic relationship really struck me as a young kid.

The Fountainheadby Ayn RandThe characters were insane. Howard Roark, man.