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David Bowie’s top 100 books


David Bowie’s favorite 100 books have been revealed and it’s a good list stretching from Homer to modern bestselling authors like Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz. The musician is the subject of an exhibition called David Bowie Is and the list was released as the exhibition moved from London’s Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum to Canada’s Art Gallery of Ontario.

The top 100 was supplied to the curators by the singer’s archivist, who keeps watch over a huge collection of stage costumes, sheet music, books and other memorabilia accumulated from an entertainment career that began in 1962 when Bowie was just 15 and formed his first band.

David Bowie is a “voracious reader,” according to Geoffrey Marsh, the V&A exhibition co-curator, “who consumes a book a day.”

The list boasts many titles from the 1960s, a formative decade for Bowie (real name David Jones), who hit the big time in 1969 with Space Oddity. Favorites from the Swinging Sixties include A Clockwork Orange, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Saul Bellow’s Herzog.

There are three George Orwell books – Inside the Whale and Other Essays, The Road to Wigan Pier, and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Apparently Bowie wanted to produce a musical around Nineteen Eighty-Four but failed to obtain the rights.

You will also find Dante, Homer’s Iliad, Faulkner, Kerouac, Fitzgerald, Capote, Evelyn Waugh and D.H. Lawrence. There’s poetry too and several books that analyze modern music, including the evolution of soul and the career of Little Richard.

Fans of British humor will be pleased to see the chameleon of pop also reads Viz Magazine when not browsing Albert Camus’ Stranger. Viz is infamous for memorable satirical characters such as the Fat Slags, Johnny Fartpants, Buster Gonad and Sid the Sexist.

David Bowie’s 100 books

Interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester

Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

Room at the Top by John Braine

On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious by Douglas Harding

Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

City of Night by John Rechy

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

The Iliad by Homer

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo

Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin

Inside the Whale and Other Essays by George Orwell

Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood

Halls Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art by James A. Hall

David Bomberg by Richard Cork

Blast by Wyndham Lewis

Passing by Nella Larson

Beyond the Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

The Divided Self by R. D. Laing

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Infants of the Spring by Wallace Thurman

The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Herzog by Saul Bellow

Puckoon by Spike Milligan

Black Boy by Richard Wright

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

McTeague by Frank Norris

Money by Martin Amis

The Outsider by Colin Wilson

Strange People by Frank Edwards

English Journey by J.B. Priestley

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

The Life and Times of Little Richard by Charles White

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn

Mystery Train by Greil Marcus

Beano Comic

Raw Magazine

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom by Peter Guralnick

Silence: Lectures and Writing by John Cage

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley

The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll by Charlie Gillett

Octobriana and the Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky

The Street by Ann Petry

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jnr

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz

The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard

The Bridge by Hart Crane

All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess

The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos

Tales of Beatnik Glory by Ed Sanders

The Bird Artist by Howard Norman

Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey

Before the Deluge by Otto Friedrich

Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia

The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture: 1875-1945 by Jon Savage

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Viz Comic

Private Eye Magazine

Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara

The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens

Flaubert’s Parrrot by Julian Barnes

Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jur by Lawrence Weschler

Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi

The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

A Grave for a Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno

The Insult by Rupert Thomson

In Between the Sheets by Ian McEwan

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes

Journey into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

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