With the opening of his new films, Before Midnight and The Purge, we take a look back at when the actor spoke to us about the writers he's most drawn towards.

go tell it on the mountainGo Tell It On The Mountain
By James Baldwin

The background: This is one of the great debut novels in American literature. It's the story of family, movement, and change, and it follows a number of Southern blacks who migrate to the North. A lot of the books that touch me have been autobiographical fiction. I was shattered by the section in the church when the narrative suddenly shifts among the characters' minds, showing how they each see the family's history differently.

Why he chose it: The great power of literature is to expand our vision. Go Tell It on the Mountain is a case in point. You feel as if Baldwin bled over this book, that this book hurt to write. It's not a memoir; it's somebody taking very real feelings and turning them into art. He writes evocatively, but you don't need to have a graduate degree to understand his books—you just need to have a heart.

Hawke's love affair with Danny Deck
Photo: Stuart Tyson/Studio D


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