Bill Hader’s Favorite Books 

Comedian Bill Hader is a busy person but when he isn’t acting, writing, or producing, he is usually reading. Today, we will be looking at Bill Hader’s favorite books and see which ones are close to his heart! Keep reading to find out which books he picked as his favorite! 

Hader first gained widespread fame as an actor on Saturday Night Life. He became known for his impeccable impressions and for playing a New York tour guide who had unusual taste. His time at SNL got him nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards and he won the Peabody Award.  

Bill Hader actor comedian writer
Bill Hader’s favorite books

Now, Hader is working on a show called Barry that he is a creator, producer, writer, and star of. The saying “if you want something done right then do it yourself” has never been truer. The hard work has paid off as the show has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards and has won two of them.  

Bill Hader’s Favorite Books 

  • Rock Springs by Richard Ford 
  • Vanity Will Get You Somewhere by Joseph Cotten 
  • Raven by Tim Reiterman 
  • Descent of Man by T. C. Boyle 
  • The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn 
  • What I’d Say to the Martians by Jack Handey 
  • What in God’s Name by Simon Rich 
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey  
  • Mindsploitation by Vernon Chatman 
  • My Dead Dad Was in ZZ Top by Jon Glaser 
  • Norwood, Masters of Atlantis & The Dog of the South by Charles Portis 
  • Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Miller 
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin  
  • Homicide by David Simon 
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote  
  • Columbine by Dave Cullen 
  • Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer 
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson 
  • In Broad Daylight by Harry N. MacLean 
  • Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore 
  • A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris 
  • Popular Crime by Bill James 
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky  
  • Light in August by William Faulkner  
  • Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol  
  • City of Nets by Otto Friedrich 
  • The Parade’s Gone By… by Kenneth Brownlow 
  • Who the Devil Made It & Who the Hell’s in It by Peter Bogdanovich 
  • How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime by Roger Corman 
  • The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb 
  • Picture by John Huston 
  • Conversations With Clint by Kevin Avery 
  • Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers by Simon Louvish 
  • Sergio Leone by Christopher Frayling 
  • The Name Above The Title by Frank Capra  
  • Elia Kazan & Conversations with Scorsese by Richard Schickel 
  • My Life and My Films by Jean Renoir 
  • The Emperor and the Wolf by Stuart Galbraith IV 
  • Images by Ingmar Bergman 
  • Conversations With Wilder by Cameron Crowe 
  • Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson 
  • Tenth of December by George Saunders  
  • The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki 
  • Bunnicula by James Howe & Deborah Howe  
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle  
  • Salem’s Lot by Stephen King 
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole  

A Long List

Looking at this list, my first thought was that it never seems to end! You can tell Hader enjoys reading and makes you think how many books didn’t make the list. On top of this list, Hader also shares why he chose some of the books on this list.  

Mindsploitation by Vernon Chatman 

“Vernon Chatman wrote a book called Mindsploitation, where he found these online companies that will do your homework and sent them impossible assignments. Their responses are like Dada art.” 

Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Miller 

“I think most current cast members, the day they find out they’ve been hired, run out and buy that book to see what’s in store for them. I know I did.” 

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin 

“I would recommend that to anyone starting out not only in comedy, but performing in general. If I’d read that book in high school I would’ve gone into comedy sooner, I think. It’s very inspiring.” 

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King 

“The first adult novel I read, and this is a favorite memory of mine, resulted from my grandfather — who was a voracious reader — taking me to Novel Idea in Tulsa, Okla., to pick up a book for school. As we headed to the checkout line he said, ‘Why don’t you pick out something to read for pleasure?’ I went to the Young Adult section, and he stopped me: ‘No, no. Go to the Fiction section.’ I was 12, and this was a big deal. The Fiction section is where all the books with sex and bad language lived. I self-consciously browsed the aisles, careful to avoid unwittingly picking up Fear of Flying or something, until I came to a paperback with a spooky cover. The title: Salem’s Lot. Description: Vampires in a small town run amok. Written by the guy who wrote that movie where the girl gets blood dumped on her, so she destroys her tormentors with her mind. ‘This one,’ I said. Lying under the eaves in my attic bedroom, devouring that story (Danny Glick at the window!) is a feeling I try to recapture every time I read a book.” 

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole  

book classic book review A Confederacy of Dunces
A Confederacy of Dunces book review

“One of my favorite books that people recently love to trash is A Confederacy of Dunces. I think it’s one of the funniest books ever written, but I come across more and more folks who find it vastly overrated. I don’t know if I just hang out with contrarians or if it’s some latent backlash. I’m such a nerd for that book, I want to go to New Orleans just so I can take the Confederacy of Dunces Tour.” 


I love seeing A Confederacy of Dunces on the list. It is a book that people either love or hate. And it also makes me want to visit New Orleans. That is all for Bill Hader’s favorite books. What did you think of his list? Let us know in the comments below! Until next time, happy reading! 

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