Dive into the literary world of Tom Hanks, Actor & Filmmaker.

Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood's most beloved and versatile actors, whose career spans decades with roles that have captured the hearts and imaginations of audiences worldwide. Born in 1956 in Concord, California, Hanks rose to fame in the 1980s with starring roles in films like "Big" and "Splash." Over the years, he has portrayed a wide array of characters, from the lovable Forrest Gump to the heroic Captain Miller in "Saving Private Ryan." His performances have earned him numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards for Best Actor. Hanks is also known for his voice role as Woody in the "Toy Story" series, further cementing his place in cinematic history.

Reading non-fiction is the only way I can escape my brain.❞ — Tom Hanks

Aside from his acting career, Tom Hanks is an enthusiastic reader and has a particular fondness for historical non-fiction and narratives that delve deep into the American experience. His love for reading has also influenced his venture into writing; Hanks has published a collection of short stories, "Uncommon Type," where he explores various themes through the common thread of typewriters—another of his passions. His reading habits enrich his understanding of characters and settings, influencing his craft and storytelling abilities.

Tom Hanks' Favorite Books

Last Updated: May 2024

The Martian

Andy Weir's novel tells the story of Mark Watney, a resourceful astronaut left behind on Mars, who must rely on his ingenuity and engineering skills to devise a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
Also recommended by:
Adam Savage 


Tina Fey's memoir combines personal anecdotes with observations on life, career, and motherhood, all delivered with her characteristic wit and humor.

Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam

Mark Bowden delivers a gripping account of the Tet Offensive's pivotal Battle of Hue, where American forces faced a brutal and unexpected confrontation that marked a significant turning point in the Vietnam War.

The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien's prelude to "The Lord of the Rings," where the hobbit Bilbo Baggins embarks on an adventure to help a group of dwarves reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug.


John Williams' novel tells the life story of William Stoner, a university professor in Missouri, capturing his unremarkable career and personal disappointments, yet profound inner life, against the backdrop of the 20th century.

My Name Is Asher Lev

Chaim Potok's novel follows the journey of a young Jewish boy in Brooklyn, who must reconcile his prodigious talent as a painter with the strict traditions of his faith and the expectations of his family.

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky's intense psychological novel follows the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates and executes a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker.
Also recommended by:
Jordan Peterson  Woody Harrelson 

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

Anna Funder explores the haunting legacy of the Stasi, the East German secret police, through interviews and personal stories of those who resisted, conformed to, or worked for the regime.

The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America 1932-72

William Manchester provides a detailed and engaging narrative of American history spanning forty years, covering the major social, political, and cultural events from the Great Depression through the Watergate scandal.

1939: The Lost World of the Fair

David Gelernter brings to life the 1939 New York World's Fair, capturing its optimism and the technological wonders presented, set against the backdrop of a world on the brink of war.

Light a Penny Candle

Maeve Binchy's novel explores the enduring friendship between an English girl and an Irish girl who meet during World War II and the subsequent entwining of their families over the following decades.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari provides a compelling overview of the history of our species from the emergence of ancient human tribes to the present day, exploring how biology and history have defined us.
Also recommended by:
Naval Ravikant  Lex Fridman  Bill Gates 

The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón crafts a labyrinthine tale of post-war Barcelona, where a young boy discovers a forgotten book that leads him into the heart of a deep, dark mystery that stretches back into the shadows of the city's past.

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

Masha Gessen traces the rise of authoritarianism in modern Russia through the intertwined lives of several individuals born at the crossroads of Russia's collapse and resurgence.

Mila 18

Leon Uris's novel based on the true story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, portraying the Jewish resistance in Poland during World War II as they stand up against the Nazi regime.

A Gentleman in Moscow

Amor Towles tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest in a luxury hotel across from the Kremlin, where he lives through decades of tumultuous Russian history.
Also recommended by:
Bill Gates 

In Cold Blood

Truman Capote's pioneering work of the non-fiction novel genre, meticulously detailing the brutal murder of a family in Kansas in 1959 and the subsequent investigation and trial of the killers.

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

Rick Atkinson offers a comprehensive and gripping account of the North African campaign in World War II, examining both the strategic importance of the campaign and the human experiences of the soldiers.

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

Ada Calhoun presents a candid, heartfelt collection of essays on the complexities, challenges, and unexpected joys of married life, drawing from personal experience and the realities that traditional vows tend to overlook.
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