Author: John O’Connell
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: November 12, 2019
Book Description: 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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: I saw this book reviewed in Kirkus magazine and I said this could be such a gem of book. NetGalley was kind enough to make this available to me. Growing up in the 80’s one of the most iconic images I remember at the library was of David Bowie for the Read campaign. I knew he was reader, but did you know he carried a portable library of 1500 books. That is just astounding.
O’Connell, takes us on a journey of 100 of Bowie’s most beloved books. Each book is a vignette to why Bowie loved these book. There are many classics that they chose, but more often than not these were books I never heard of. My To Be Read has grown two-fold because of this.
If you love Bowie or simply love books, this is a must read. I think this will become essential reading for every book lover.
Thank you NetGalley and Gallery books for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.