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David Bowie’s top 100 must-read books list

    The Art Gallery of Ontario prepares to unveil a fresh iteration of the renowned exhibition “David Bowie Is”. The curatorial team has bestowed upon us a captivating glimpse into the intellectual universe of the iconic musician and fashion maven. In an intriguing revelation, they have shared a meticulously curated catalog of David Bowie’s top 100 must-read books. This curated list not only promises to shed light on the multifaceted mind of Bowie but also serves as a testament to his profound influence on the worlds of music and style.

    This unveiling of Bowie’s literary preferences adds an extra layer of depth to the ongoing fascination with his artistic legacy. It provides enthusiasts with an extraordinary opportunity to delve into the written words that fueled the creativity of a man celebrated for his chameleon-like ability to reinvent himself and push the boundaries of artistic expression.

    By gaining access to this compendium of literature cherished by Bowie, admirers and scholars alike can embark on a literary journey that mirrors the eclectic and boundary-breaking nature of his music and fashion. It becomes evident that Bowie’s intellectual pursuits were as diverse as his musical explorations, offering a nuanced perspective on the cultural influences that informed his groundbreaking work.

    The revelation of this top 100 booklist serves as a reminder that David Bowie was not just an exceptional musician and trendsetter but also a voracious reader and thinker. It underscores the notion that his artistic evolution was deeply intertwined with a profound engagement with literature and a relentless quest for knowledge.

    As the “David Bowie Is” exhibition unfolds once again, attendees and fans can anticipate immersing themselves not only in the visual and auditory wonders of his career but also in the intellectual and literary sources that helped shape his extraordinary creative vision. This unique insight into Bowie’s literary passions further cements his status as an enduring cultural icon whose influence transcends the boundaries of art, music, and literature. I wonder how this acatalepsy reading list of books inspired his songs.

    Top 100 booklist

    The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
    The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
    Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
    Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
    The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
    Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
    A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
    The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
    Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)
    The Bird Artist, Howard Norman (1994)
    Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard (1993)
    Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C Danto (1992)
    Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia (1990)
    David Bomberg, Richard Cork (1988)
    Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick (1986)
    The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (1986)
    Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd (1985)
    Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey (1984)
    Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter (1984)
    Money, Martin Amis (1984)
    White Noise, Don DeLillo (1984)
    Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes (1984)
    The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White (1984)
    A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (1980)
    A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
    Interviews with Francis Bacon, and David Sylvester (1980)
    Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1980)
    Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
    Raw, a “Graphix magazine” (1980-91)
    Viz, magazine (1979 –)
    The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (1979)
    Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz (1978)
    In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan (1978)
    Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed Malcolm Cowley (1977)
    The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976)
    Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders (1975)
    Mystery Train, Greil Marcus (1975)
    Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara (1974)
    Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich (1972)
    Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner (1971) Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky (1971)
    The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillett(1970)
    The Quest for Christa T, Christa Wolf (1968)
    Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn (1968)
    The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
    Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg (1967)
    Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr (1966)
    In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965)
    City of Night, John Rechy (1965)
    Herzog, Saul Bellow (1964)
    Puckoon, Spike Milligan (1963)
    The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford (1963)
    The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea, Yukio Mishima (1963)
    The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
    A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1962)
    Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell (1962)
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark (1961)
    Private Eye, magazine (1961 –)
    On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding (1961)
    Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage (1961)
    Strange People, Frank Edwards (1961)
    The Divided Self, RD Laing (1960)
    All the Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd (1960)
    Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse (1959)
    The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa (1958)
    On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
    The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard (1957)
    Room at the Top, John Braine (1957)
    A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno (1956)
    The Outsider, Colin Wilson (1956)
    Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
    Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
    The Street, Ann Petry (1946)
    Black Boy, Richard Wright (1945)

    Tony M.