Marg Helgenberger's Bookshelf
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Academics were never my strong point. But after I transferred from the University of Nebraska at Kearney to Northwestern, I buckled down, and one of the courses I took was on the works of Dostoevsky. We read Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and Notes from Underground. I was struck by the depth of each of his characters—maybe because I had decided to become an actor. They are so unbelievably rich and complex—you pity them, you loathe them, you feel for them. And the first line of Notes is an absolute classic: "I am a sick man…I am a spiteful man." Such a great way to start an exploration of the dark side of the human condition.