Day: January 26, 2016

In Memoriam: David Bowie’s Top 100 Favorite Books

Click here to read at The New York Public Library blog. (And thanks to Lauren Weiss for blogging this info!)


David Bowie art by aerokay

I love looking at people’s reading recommendation lists. It’s fun to find out a respected reader’s tastes intersect with my own, but I also learn a lot by noting the books I’ve never heard of.

Some of my and David Bowie’s shared “book hits”: Lolita, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Madame Bovary, Black Boy, The Waste Land, 1984and, to my great surprise, Nella Larsen’s Passing  the story of an African-American woman of Danish descent who’s forced to confront the implications of her mixed-race and bicultural identity.

Some of Bowie’s choices, however, I’m completely unfamiliar with: Flaubert’s Parrot, Before the Deluge, Zanoni, Strange People, and The Street, to name only a few. My “to read” list is already long and ever-growing, but I can’t help adding titles like these, even when my reading aspirations start to feel absurdly ambitious.

If I were to make my own list, I’d be hard pressed to think of 100 favorite books, even as a former English major and a longtime reader. Perhaps when I’m 69, I’ll have as long of a list. Here is what I have so far.

Thank you, David, not just for the years and years of magic and music, but for the literary inspiration, as well.



Books That Have Made Their Mark on Me…For Better or For Worse

A work in progress —womanreading

  1.  Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  2. The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch
  3. To Be A Slave by Julius Lester
  4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  5. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  6. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  7. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  8. Herland and Selected Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  9. Adulterers Anonymous by Exene Cervenka and Lydia Lunch
  10. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs (“Linda Brent”)
  11. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  12. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  13. Ulysses by James Joyce
  14. The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
  15. A Fairly Honourable Defeat by Iris Murdoch (Clearly, I’m a fan.)
  16. The Father by Sharon Olds
  17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  18. Violence: A National Epidemic by James Gilligan
  19. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
  20. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  21. The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
  22. Passing by Nella Larsen
  23. Black Tickets by Jayne Ann Phillips
  24. The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  25. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  26. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
  27. The Stand by Stephen King
  28. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
  29. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
  30. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
  31. Stop-Time by Frank Conroy
  32. For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing & The Roots of Violence by Alice Miller


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