David Bowie's list of extraordinary books he loved in his life

Get into the mind of the most iconic musicians of the 21st century with this exhaustive list of books Bowie loved. Curated by Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes for the 'David Bowie Is' exhibition in Toronto.
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A Clockwork Orange

by Anthony Burgess

About the book:  Great Music, it said, and Great Poetry would like quieten Modern Youth down and make Modern Youth more Civilized. Civilized my syphilised yarbles. A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

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The Hidden Persuaders

by Vance Packard

About the book:  "One of the best books around for demystifying the deliberately mysterious arts of advertising."--Salon"Fascinating, entertaining and thought-stimulating."--The New York Times Book Review"A brisk, authoritative and frightening report on how manufacturers, fundraisers and politicians are attempting to turn the American mind into a kind of catatonic dough that will buy, give or vote at their command--The New YorkerOriginally published in 1957 and now back in print to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, The Hidden Persuaders is Vance Packard’s pioneering and prescient work revealing how advertisers use psychological methods to tap into our unconscious desires in order to "persuade" us to buy the products they are selling.A classic examination of how our thoughts and feelings are manipulated by business, media and politicians, The Hidden Persuaders was the first book to expose the hidden world of “motivation research,” the psychological technique that advertisers use to probe our minds in order to control our actions as consumers. Through analysis of products, political campaigns and television programs of the 1950s, Packard shows how the insidious manipulation practices that have come to dominate today’s corporate-driven world began. Featuring an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller, The Hidden Persuaders has sold over one million copies, and forever changed the way we look at the world of advertising.Vance Packard (1914-1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and best-selling author. Among his other books were The Status Seekers, which described American social stratification and behavior, The Waste Makers, which criticizes planned obsolescence, and The Naked Society, about the threats to privacy posed by new technologies.

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Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

About the book:  Madame Bovary is the French writer Gustave Flaubert's debut novel. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Though the basic plot is rather simple, even archetypal, the novel's true art lies in its details and hidden patterns. Flaubert was a notorious perfectionist and claimed always to be searching for le mot juste ("the precise word").When it was first serialized in La Revue de Paris, the novel was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors. The resulting trial, held in January 1857, made the story notorious. After Flaubert's acquittal on 7 February 1857, Madame Bovary became a bestseller when it was published as a single volume in April 1857. Flaubert's masterpiece is now considered a seminal work of realism and one of the most influential novels ever written. In fact, the notable British-American critic James Wood writes in How Fiction Works: "Flaubert established for good or ill, what most readers think of as modern realist narration, and his influence is almost too familiar to be visible".

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The Master and Margarita

by Mikhail Bulgakov

About the book:  "I fell in love with it. . . . I reread it often . . . for me it's one of those magical books that hits you with something new every time." —Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife Suppressed in the Soviet Union for twenty-six years, Mikhail Bulgakov's masterpiece is an ironic parable of power and its corruption, good and evil, and human frailty and the strength of love. Featuring Satan, accompanied by a retinue that includes the large, fast-talking, vodka drinking black tom cat Behemoth, the beautiful Margarita, her beloved—a distraught writer known only as the Master—Pontius Pilate, and Jesus Christ, The Master and Margarita combines fable, fantasy, political satire, and slapstick comedy into a wildly entertaining and unforgettable tale that is commonly considered one of the greatest novels ever to come out of the Soviet Union.

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The Age of American Unreason

by Susan Jacoby

About the book:  A scathing indictment of American modern-day culture examines the current disdain for logic and evidence fostered by the mass media, religious fundamentalism, poor public education, a lack of fair-minded intellectuals, and a lazy, credulous public, condemning our addiction to infotainment, from TV to the Web, and assessing its repercussions for the country as a whole. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Diaz

About the book:  Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Coast of Utopia

by Tom Stoppard

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Teenage

by Jon Savage

About the book:  * The inspiration behind the film TEENAGE, narrated by Ben Whishaw and Jena Malone * This is a history never described before - the century and a half of ferment, folly and angst that created a separate Teen Age in Europe and America. We roam London, New York, Paris and Berlin with hooligans and Apaches; explore free love with Rupert Brooke and eternal youth with Peter Pan; we meet flappers and zootsuiters and the Bright Young Things, the unemployoed and the Lost Generation. Meanwhile the book rings with music, from Ragtime to Swing, and the stories come fast and furious, comic, poignant, painfully moving. In 1945, 'the teenager' arrived. This is the story of how we got to that moment.

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Fingersmith

by Sarah Waters

About the book:  “Oliver Twist with a twist…Waters spins an absorbing tale that withholds as much as it discloses. A pulsating story.”—The New York Times Book Review The Handmaiden, a film adaptation of Fingersmith, directed by Park Chan-wook and starring Kim Tae-Ri, is coming to theaters this fall Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home. One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum. With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Trial of Henry Kissinger

by Christopher Hitchens

About the book:  Christopher Hitchens goes straight for the jugular in The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Under his fearsome gaze, the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor is accused of being a war criminal whose reckless actions and heinous disregard for international law have led to torture, kidnapping, and murder. This book is a polemical masterpiece by a man who, for forty years, was the Angloshpere's preeminent man of letters. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Hitchens' verve, style and firebrand wit are on show at the height of their potency.

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Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder

by Lawrence Weschler

About the book:  The author takes readers on a tour of his personal museum of natural oddities and optical illusions as he explores the imaginative origins of art and science

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The Insult

by THOMSON RUPERT

About the book:  One of David Bowie's Top 100 Books, as chosen in the Independent It is a Thursday evening. After work Martin Blom drives to the supermarket to buy some groceries. As he walks back to his car, a shot rings out. When he wakes up he is blind. His neurosurgeon, Bruno Visser, tells him that his loss of sight is permanent and that he must expect to experience shock, depression, self-pity, even suicidal thoughts before his rehabilitation is complete. But it doesn't work out quite like that. One spring evening, while Martin is practising in the clinic gardens with his new white cane, something miraculous happens ...

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Wonder Boys

by Michael Chabon

About the book:  A deft parody of the American fame factory and a piercing portrait of young and old desire, WONDER BOYS is a modern classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY.

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The Bird Artist

by Howard Norman

About the book:  Howard Norman's The Bird Artist, the first book of his Canadian trilogy, begins in 1911. Its narrator, Fabian Vas is a bird artist: He draws and paints the birds of Witless Bay, his remote Newfoundland coastal village home. In the first paragraph of his tale Fabian reveals that he has murdered the village lighthouse keeper, Botho August. Later, he confesses who and what drove him to his crime--a measured, profoundly engrossing story of passion, betrayal, guilt, and redemption between men and women. The Bird Artist is a 1994 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

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Kafka Was the Rage

by Anatole Broyard

About the book:  What Hemingway's A Moveable Feast did for Paris in the 1920s, this charming yet undeceivable memoir does for Greenwich Village in the late 1940s. In 1946, Anatole Broyard was a dapper, earnest, fledgling avant-gardist, intoxicated by books, sex, and the neighborhood that offered both in such abundance. Stylish written, mercurially witty, imbued with insights that are both affectionate and astringent, this memoir offers an indelible portrait of a lost bohemia. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Beyond the Brillo Box

by Arthur C. Danto

About the book:  "Arthur Danto is the most radical writer on art in America--radical because his prose is clear, because he is indifferent to fashion, because he loves art."--Richard Sennett

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Sexual Personae

by Camille Paglia

About the book:  Offers a unified theory of Western culture, identifying major patterns that have endured over the centuries

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David Bomberg

by Mr. Richard Cork

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The Songlines

by Bruce Chatwin

About the book:  The songlines are the invisible pathways that criss-cross Australia, ancient tracks connecting communities and following ancient boundaries. Along these lines Aboriginals passed the songs which revealed the creation of the land and the secrets of its past. In this magical account Chatwin recalls his travels across the length and breadth of Australia seeking to find the truth about the songs and unravel the mysteries of their stories.

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Nowhere to Run

by C. J. Box

About the book:  Drawing from dozens of interviews with the celebrities that created soul music, from the beginning of Motown to Memphis, the author portrays a musical phenomenon that shaped America in the sixties

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