One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

3 of 4
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
320 pages; Penguin Classics
Gary Sinise was 18 when he first read this 1962 novel, set in an Oregon mental institution full of such memorable characters as the domineering Nurse Ratched and Randle McMurphy, an inmate who fakes insanity to get out of serving a prison sentence. "He was the ultimate 1960s antihero, which is why so many young people could relate to this book," says Sinise, who played McMurphy in a 2001 Tony Award-winning production. "The play, much like the book, is focused around McMurphy—if you have a tired McMurphy, you have a troubled production. So I had to muster up the energy. It was a lot of stomping and shouting, but it was a great time."
— As told to Naomi Barr