Explore How David Bowie's Reading List Influenced His Life and Music in the New Book Bowie’s Bookshelf

FatimaLuna/iStock via Getty Images
FatimaLuna/iStock via Getty Images

On top of being one of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century, David Bowie was also an avid reader—it wasn't unusual for the artist to read a book a day, and he even shared his favorite titles with the public as part of a museum exhibit in 2013. And in Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie's Life, music journalist John O'Connell explores the late rockstar's famous reading list, pairing each title with a short essay that examines the influence the book may have had on the performer.

The book's description asks: "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?"

While guiding readers through the book list, Bowie's Bookshelf also acts as an unconventional biography of an artist who helped define modern music and pop culture. The performer's reading list was originally featured as part of the "David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2013, and it covers a wide range of genres and eras, including 1950s comics, classic epic poetry, and contemporary fiction.

If you're too overwhelmed by the thought of diving into the list head-first, Bowie's Bookshelf is a great place to start. You can purchase it for $16 from Amazon today.

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Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

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A New Book by J.R.R. Tolkien Contains Previously Unpublished Essays About Middle-Earth

J.R.R. Tolkien photographed circa the 1940s.
J.R.R. Tolkien photographed circa the 1940s.
Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

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It has been more than 80 years since J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit first appeared in bookstores in 1937—followed by The Lord of the Rings trilogy during the mid-1950s—and the enthusiasm for all things Middle-earth doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon. While the premiere date for Amazon’s prequel TV series hasn’t been announced yet, another important date in 2021 has: June 24.

On that day, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) will release The Nature of Middle-earth, a book of heretofore unpublished writings by Tolkien himself. (HarperCollins will publish an identical edition in the UK.) As avid fans likely already know, this won’t be the first supplemental Middle-earth material in existence. Tolkien wrote prolifically about his fantasy world, and much of his other content was published posthumously—most notably The Silmarillion, an extensive collection of stories edited by Tolkien’s son, Christopher. As literary executor of his father’s estate, Christopher Tolkien edited and oversaw the release of most Tolkien works until his death at age 95 in January of this year.

Time to solve the mystery of which Middle-earthers can grow facial hair.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

According to Gizmodo, The Nature of Middle-earth was edited by NASA computer engineer Carl F. Hostetter, who also happens to be a venerated Tolkien scholar and the head of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship (E.L.F., for short). HMH revealed in a press release that this latest compilation will contain previously unknown details about “Elvish immortality and reincarnation,” “the Powers of Valar,” “the lands and beasts of Númenor,” and “the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor.” It will also reportedly clear up the confusion over which races (and sexes) can grow beards in Middle-earth, a topic that crops up on internet message boards with surprising frequency.

U.S. residents can pre-order The Nature of Middle-earth from Amazon now for $24.

[h/t Gizmodo]