Join Bowie's book club

David Bowie not only left us an era-defining sonic legacy, but also a list of his 100 favourite books, giving us a fascinating insight into the mind of a musical visionary
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Join Bowie's book club

One a year after the world lost the Starman, his son Duncan Jones has found a suitably eccentric way to unite his fans and honour his legacy through a social-media book club. “My dad was a beast of a reader,” Duncan revealed via his Twitter account @manmademoon. “One of his true loves was Peter Ackroyd’s sojourns into the history of Britain and its cities. I’ve been feeling a building sense of duty to go on the same literary marathon in tribute to dad.”

Bowie’s favourite reads take us on an eclectic adventure through the medium of poetry, prose, essays and even Private Eye magazine. As well as staying true to his Britishness with titles such as Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd – a dark detective novel telling a sinister story set against the backdrop of 18th century London – and those firmly rooted in music with Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn, and The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillete, Bowie’s list also reflects his adopted Stateside home with novels including Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr, and On The Road by Jack Kerouac, plus non-fiction including A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn – an alternative interpretation of the history of America – and The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby on the dumbing down of society.

His literary Heroes included Anthony Burgess and George Orwell each meriting two mentions, perhaps hinting at an interest in themes of social injustice and a dystopian vision of the future, and a taste of themes and topics to come. Bowie’s book club begins with Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd, which Duncan is calling “an amuse cerveau before we get into the heavy stuff.” 

Here are Grazia's rundown of Bowie's favourite reads to give you a head-start. 

1984 by George Orwell (Signet Classics)

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonders by Lawrence Weschler (Vintage)

On The Road by Jack Kerouac (Penguin Classics)

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima (Vintage)

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Vintage)

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Decades)

The American Way Of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford (Vintage)

Photos: Brian Duffy © Duffy Archive and courtesy of the publishers