Actor Pierce Brosnan’s filmography includes a range of classics, from the thrilling James Bond saga to comedies like Mrs. Doubtfire. Apart from this Irishman’s acting chops, he also has excellent taste in books. Check out some of Brosnan’s recommended books below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: A relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent 20th-century classic.
Brosnan’s recommendation: When asked by Reddit to name his favorite books, Brosnan wrote, “[A]nything by Chekhov, Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway.”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince is French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s most famous novella. It has been translated into more than 190 languages and sold more than 200 million copies, making it one of the bestselling books ever. The story, first published in 1943, is about a pilot who must make an emergency landing in the desert because of engine problems. This is ironic, since the author himself took off in a plane over the Mediterranean just a year later and was never seen or heard from again.
Brosnan’s recommendation: Brosnan listed The Little Prince as one of his favorite books. “I performed The Little Prince in Suffolk Cathedral when I was 17. It was my first time onstage.”
In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.
One of SMERSH’s most deadly operatives, the man known only as “Le Chiffre,” has been a prime target of the British Secret Service for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, Le Chiffre will likely be “retired” by his paymasters in Moscow. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon finds himself dodging would-be assassins, fighting off brutal torturers, and going all-in to save the life of his beautiful female counterpart, Vesper Lynd.
Taut, tense, and effortlessly stylish, Ian Fleming’s inaugural James Bond adventure has all the hallmarks that made the series a touchstone for a generation of readers.
Brosnan’s recommendation: “When you read the [James Bond] books, the guy was human. He was hard man, but he had fear, he had doubts. He was pretty brutal.”
The Son by Philipp Meyer
The critically acclaimed, New York Times-bestselling epic, a saga of land, blood and power, follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century.
Eli McCullough is just 12 years old when a marauding band of Comanche storm his Texas homestead, brutally murder his mother and sister and take him captive. Despite their torture and cruelty, Eli — against all odds — adapts to life with the Comanche, learning their ways and language, taking on a new name, finding a place as the adopted son of the band’s chief and fighting their wars against not only other Indians but white men too, which complicates his sense of loyalty, his promised vengeance and his very understanding of self. But when disease, starvation and westward expansion finally decimate the Comanche, Eli is left alone in a world in which he belongs nowhere, neither white nor Indian, civilized nor fully wild.
Deftly interweaving Eli’s story with those of his son Peter and his great-granddaughter JA, The Son maps the legacy of Eli’s ruthlessness, his drive to power and his lifelong status as an outsider, even as the McCullough family rises to become one of the richest in Texas, a ranching and oil dynasty that is as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Yet, like all empires, the McCulloughs must eventually face the consequences of their choices.
Panoramic, deeply evocative, and utterly transporting, The Son is a masterpiece American novel — part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story — that combines the narrative prowess of Larry McMurtry with the knife-edge sharpness of Cormac McCarthy.
Brosnan’s recommendation: “The book was magnificent. I read it when it came out in 2013, and it was heralded in such a glorious fashion.”
The Ghost by Robert Harris
From the bestselling author of Fatherland and Imperium comes The Ghost, an extraordinarily auspicious thriller of power, politics, corruption, and murder. Dashing, captivating Adam Lang was Britain’s longest serving — and most controversial — prime minister of the last half century, whose career ended in tatters after he sided with America in an unpopular war on terror. Now, after stepping down in disgrace, Lang is hiding out in wintry Martha’s Vineyard to finish his much sought-after, potentially explosive memoir, for which he accepted one of history’s largest cash advances. But the project runs aground when his ghostwriter suddenly and mysteriously disappears and later washes up, dead, on the island’s deserted shore.
Enter our hero — Lang’s new ghostwriter — cynical, mercenary, and quick with a line of deadpan humor. Accustomed to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities, he jumps at the chance to be the new ghost of Adam Lang’s memoirs, especially as it means a big payday. At once he flies to Lang’s remote location in America to finish the book in the seclusion of a luxurious estate, but it doesn’t take him long to realize he has made a fatal error in judgment.
The state of affairs is grim enough when the ghost begins to unearth the bone-chilling circumstances of his predecessor’s death. And before long, he discovers that the ex-prime minister is not just a charismatic politician who made a few mistakes. He’s a dark, tortured man with haunting secrets in his past — secrets with the power to alter world politics. Secrets with the power to kill.
Robert Harris is known the world over as a master of his trade. The Ghost is yet another signature, brilliant tour de force that will compel, captivate, and excite readers to the very last shocking page.
Brosnan’s recomendation: “[It] is a great page-turner.”
The November Man by Bill Granger
The classic thriller featuring the lethally cool US government spy code-named The November Man.
The president learned long ago that the CIA could not be trusted. And so he created his own group of deadly efficient men to gather independent intelligence: a watchdog organization to keep the CIA in check. R Section was born.
“There are no spies… ”
Until he heard those four simple words, Devereaux thought he’d left his days in R Section behind. He was no longer The November Man, an American field officer in the vice-grip of duty and danger — and the most brilliant agent R Section had ever produced. When he receives the cryptic message from Hanley, his former handler, Devereaux has no idea he’s about to be reactivated into a mission to save both his life and R Section itself. He’s not aware that a beautiful KGB agent has been ordered to stalk and kill him-or that Hanley is now in a government-subsidized asylum for people with too many secrets. And he doesn’t know that zero hour ticks closer for an operation to catch a master spy… with Devereaux the designated pawn.
What The November Man doesn’t know can kill him.
Brosnan’s recommendation: “[T]he writing… was complex and character driven.”
The Spinning Man by George Harrar
Mild-mannered philosophy professor Evan Birch spends his days teaching college students to seek truth. Then, one afternoon, he’s pulled over by the police, handcuffed, and questioned about the disappearance of a local high school cheerleader. When the missing girl’s lipstick turns up in his car, the evidence against him begins to build. Even his wife and sons are having their doubts. And as the investigating officer engages him in a decidedly non-Socratic dialogue, Evan Birch begins to understand that truth may be elusive indeed-but sometimes you have to pick a story and stick with it…
Brosnan’s recommendation: “When you have books like The Ghost Writer or The Son or [The] Spinning Man in this case, you have a good foundation. It’s a wonderful reference point for any actor who’s playing a role.”
Have you read any of Brosnan’s favorite books? Tell us in the comments.