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.



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