Michael C. Hall: TOP TEN BOOKS


Michael C. Hall courtesy of Jeff Vespa

Actor Michael C. Hall’s brilliantly morbid resume includes the serial killer of serial killers in “Dexter,” for which he won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award, David Fisher in the acclaimed funeral parlor drama “Six Feet Under,” and David Kammerer, the murder victim of Lucien Carr, in the Beat origins movie, “Kill Your Darlings.” On stage he has shown a more flamboyant side, playing both the MC of Cabaret and the genderqueer east German rock singer Hedwig, as well as–more recently—Thomas Newton, a man who can’t die in David Bowie’s “Lazarus,” for which he had the complex pleasure of singing to the legendary rock star. “I thought: ‘OK, this is it, I have nothing left to fear,’” he told The Guardian in 2016. “I kept it together, but when he left, I was alone in the apartment and my legs went out, and I sort of fell to the floor. I’ve never met someone for whom I had such reverence.” Next, Hall skews more historical: he’ll portray the late John F. Kennedy in season two of Netflix’s “The Crown,” streaming now.

Below are Michael C. Hall’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.



My Dinner with Andre

Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory
This screenplay, a dialogue between an all too human aspirant and an imperfect guru, is unabashed, hysterical, grave, and unencumbered by irony or cool. Two men bound by their contemporary urban world and reaching for the transcendent. Over dinner on the Upper West Side. The roadmap for a singular film.
Add to cart


John Williams
The story of William Stoner, English professor, an unremarkable man by the standards of his world (early 20th century Missouri). Its plain and unerring truth is astonishing. Though undemonstrative and remote, I experience such a quiet and sublime intimacy with the protagonist. It’s a perfect novel.
Add to cart

Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace
It’s WORTH it. When I finished, I finally felt like I was ready to start. And did. His intellect is beyond beyond, but Wallace’s heart and instinct burn just as brightly. It’s a breathless and elliptical colossus of a book. (Don’t be discouraged by the foot notes! Just use two bookmarks.) I wish DFW were still here to break it down and distill the current moment, though IJ prophesizes it…
Add to cart

A Thousand Acres

Jane Smiley
This novel, based on the story of King Lear and set in an Iowa farming community in the late 1970s, has a phenomenal narrator. Ginny never betrays her voice; she’s initially naive and always straightforward. Yet she manages to drop deft charges of insight on virtually every page. A devastating and gorgeous account of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, toxic masculinity, corrosive secrets…and an abiding heroine.
Add to cart

Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer
This clear-eyed inquiry contrasts the stories we tell ourselves about food with the reality of factory farming. Beautifully written and never proselytizing, Foer’s book is committed to a comprehensive assessment. It fortifies my commitment to veganism as much as anything I’ve encountered.
Add to cart

Sex and Death to the Age 14

Spalding Gray
This compilation of Gray’s earliest monologues is heartbreaking and hilarious. Encountering the neuroses and contradictions Gray lays bare in this work gave me a permission I hadn’t yet been given: to accept and even celebrate mystery, mortality, and imperfection. To encounter these pieces is to be Gray’s vital witness. He needs you.
Add to cart

I Remember

Joe Brainard
This book is a gem. A memoir in the form of free-associative prose poetry, it’s deceptively simple and spare. Brainard’s collage of matter-of-fact remembrances creates a rich and tender portrait of the writer, his time and place, and magically mirrors the reader’s equivalent humanity.
Add to cart

I Hate the Internet

Jarett Kobek
With blatant disregard for what it “ought” to be, this book is simultaneously exhilarating and devastating. It’s propelled by an ecstatic and acute rage that unmasks the insidious, mendacious, and pervasive web of technology, gentrification, racism, sexism, celebrity worship…
Add to cart

White Girls

Hilton Als
These pieces are in their own unconstrained category. Als stokes the fires of contradiction and then carries you into the blaze. His luscious mind is somehow bold and keen enough to keep you from burning. Then, as your mind marvels, he shoots you through the heart. Again and again.
Add to cart

Fun Home

Alison Bechdel
This graphic memoir is about becoming an artist, repression, liberation, death, the dichotomous feelings between parent and child… “Fun Home” takes you on a journey into the rich murkiness of Bechdel’s past. The fusion of her writing and illustrative skill make for a singularly vivid encounter. Devastating, hilarious, inspiring.
Add to cart