Editor's Choice

'Better Call Saul' star Bob Odenkirk's favourite books

Bob Odenkirk has carefully curated his legacy with nearly three decades of sketch comedy writing to his name which includes his time at The Ben Stiller Show, Saturday Night Live, Mr Show etc., as well as the role of the twisted con-man lawyer Saul Goodman in the iconic TV show Breaking Bad and its prequel Better Call Saul.

Odenkirk is also known for having released A Load of Hooey that featured free-verse poetry, comical essays and fiction and will release his memoir Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama in 2022. In truth, he’s more of a renaissance man than TV has had in a long while.  

In July, the well-renowned comedian-cum-actor was rushed to the hospital after suffering a massive cardiac arrest onset. Fortunately, the doctors were able to resuscitate him and the 58-year-old is slowly recuperating back to health. He even shared light-hearted updates while expressing his gratitude for the overwhelming love he received on Twitter from friends, family and fans alike. 

Odenkirk received four nominations for reprising the questionable character, Saul Goodman, at the Emmys for his brilliant performance and well-timed comedic skills and nuanced understanding of the genre. For a man of his stature, it is very natural for him to have impeccable knowledge and have an eclectic taste in music, films, books and art. 

When asked about his favourite books by The Week, Odenkirk revealed an interesting mix of favourites. Besides classics by Mark Twain and Charles Portis, he also recommended the scathing socio-political commentary by Harper Lee in her book To Kill a Mockingbird. 

Talking about Lee’s book, he praised her “lyrical writing”. The book, which has also been recommended by Shonda Rhimes, Nicholas Sparks and Neil Patrick Harris, is special to Bob Odenkirk due to the “intelligence and sensitivity” with which Lee deals with the “child’s point of view” as well as “a lesson at the end that is the only lesson”, according to Odenkirk, that one needs to know in order to “become a good person”. 

His favourite books also include the one about Peter Cook where William Cook compiled the amazing pieces that Peter “either wrote or improvised”. Odenkirk said, “Cook, to me, represents the most naturally funny man there ever was. He could spin comedy out of the smallest comment.”

Odenkirk revealed how he wrote Jeff Torrington the only fan letter he has ever written in his life despite never having received a reply. He found his book, Swing Hammer Swing! Via a The New York Times review and soon found himself engrossed and “thrilled” by the “funny, clever and bleak as hell” intonation of the book. 

Talking about Mark Twain’s classic The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, Odenkirk said, “Do I need to waste your time telling you this is the book of books? Sorry about the N-word, but it must be taken in the context of the time it was written.”

He further added, “Plus it’s clear to me that Twain was making a strong (and sly) statement about the humanity of those who were then labelled the N-word.”

Charles Portis seems to be his favourite author as his list comprised two of his favourite books The Dog of the South and True Girl. Odenkirk reportedly enjoyed the distinct “American voice” that Potris’ characters conveyed with their “resentment and pettiness”. 

While talking about True Girl, he said “Potris outdid himself” by managing to create a “more traditionally structured story” with a more likeable “central voice” that was “somehow cynical and, at the same time, forgiving”. 

Odenkirk’s very interesting and diverse list of favourite books have been listed below: 

Bob Odenkirk’s six favourite books

  • The Dog of the South by Charles Portis 
  • True Girl by Charles Portis 
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 
  • Tragically I Was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook edited by William Cook 
  • Swing Hammer Swing! By Jeff Torrington 
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee