Patti Smith’s List of Favourite Books

Yes yes, I know I was supposed to give you a book review today, but I have 3 or 4 (or 5)  books on the go, and I’ve finished none. No promises about next week either. You see, I’ve hit a snag in my reading habits with the passing of my dear cat who would curl up on my lap while I sat in bed and read. I have to develop a new tradition without her. It will take time. I know you will give me that, because anyone who reads this knows what it is to have a reading habitus. A new body must be built, a body of words and comfort. I know you will give me that. And so, I give you this. Here is an article about Patti Smith’s favourite books, from Open Culture. They took the list from Vertigo.

Patti Smith’s List of Favorite Books: Camus, Shakespeare, Woolf, Wilde & More

April 6th, 2015

As a little girl, Patti Smith found liberation in words — first through the bedtime prayers she made up herself, and later in books. “I was completely smitten by the book,” she writes in her memoir, Just Kids.  “I longed to read them all, and the things I read of produced new yearnings.”

Smith found a role model in Jo, the tomboy writer in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. “She gave me the courage of a new goal,” writes Smith, “and soon I was crafting little stories and spinning long yarns for my brother and sister.” As a teenager she discovered the French Symbolist poets Charles Baudelaire and especially Arthur Rimbaud, who inspired her and helped shape her own artistic persona as a poet and punk rocker.

Despite her fame as a rock ‘n’ roll musician, Smith has always described herself as essentially a bookish person. It was around the time of Smith’s appearance at the 2008 Melbourne International Arts Festival, according to Vertigo, that Smith released this list of her favorite books.

Quote from Virginia Woolf's Waves
Quote from Virginia Woolf’s Waves

Not surprisingly, it’s an eclectic and fascinating group of books:

Smith’s reading recommendations have no doubt evolved since the list was given. Earlier this year a writer for Elle asked what books she would suggest. “I could recommend a million,” Smith responded. “I would just say read anything by [Roberto] Bolaño. Re-read all the great classics. Read The Scarlet Letter, read Moby Dick, read [Haruki] Murakami. But Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 is the first masterpiece of the 21st century.”

You can find a number of the texts listed above in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

via Vertigo


One Reply to “Patti Smith’s List of Favourite Books”

  1. I’m really sorry to hear of the loss of your kitty. You have my complete sympathy. Patti Smith recommended many excellent books. Thank you.

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