Bowie's Bookshelf

Bowie's Bookshelf

The Hundred Books That Changed David Bowie's Life

Book - 2019
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""The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." --David Bowie. Three years before David Bowie died, he shared a list of 100 books that changed his life. His choices span fiction and nonfiction, literary and irreverent, and include timeless classics alongside eyebrow-raising obscurities. In 100 short essays, music journalist John O'Connell studies each book on Bowie's list and contextualizes it in the artist's life and work. How did the power imbued in a single suit of armor in The Iliad impact a man who loved costumes, shifting identity, and the siren song of the alter-ego? How did The Gnostic Gospels inform Bowie's own hazy personal cosmology? How did the poems of T.S. Eliot and Frank O'Hara, the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov and Anthony Burgess, the comics of The Beano and The Viz, and the groundbreaking politics of James Baldwin influence Bowie's lyrics, his sound, his artistic outlook? How did the 100 books on this list influence one of the most influential artists of a generation? Heartfelt, analytical, and totally original, Bowie's Bookshelf is one part epic reading guide and one part biography of a music legend"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Gallery Books, 2019
Edition: First Gallery Books hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781982112547
Branch Call Number: 782.42166 OCO 2019-10
Characteristics: xxx, 284 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm

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IndyPL_LeahK Dec 31, 2020

"Bowie's Bookshelf" is filled with short music essays based on the 100 books that influenced David Bowie. Music journalist and longtime Bowie fan, John O'Connell provides the initial list of books first published for the Albert and Victoria Museum's 2013 David Bowie Exhibit. O'Connell provides a synopsis as well as an analysis of how each book impacted Bowie's music and personal growth. Some Bowie fans were surprised to learn how voracious a reader he was and that he also wrote book reviews for Barnes & Noble (now if only someone would publish an anthology of those reviews). Each essay is complete with a Bowie song to listen to while reading and a recommendation if you liked the book. The list is fairly eclectic including novels, poetry, essays, and non-fiction titles as well. Highly recommend for Bowie fans who want to take a deep dive into the Bowie canon and explore the texts that were impactful on his life. However, even casual fans will glean a lot from the essays. I guarantee everyone will have a lot to add to their reading lists.

debwalker Nov 30, 2019

The books that changed Bowie's life.

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