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Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie's Life

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 12 biggest music memoirs this fall. “An artful and wildly enthralling path for Bowie fans in particular and book lovers in general.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” ―David Bowie

Three years before David Bowie died, he shared a list of 100 books that changed his life. His choices span fiction angeneral.”
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Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: November 12th 2019 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  23 ratings  ·  20 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
I've never been the type of person into hero worship, not if a group, singer nor movie star. There have been groups I've loved, singers I've enjoyed but I wasn't one who screamed and yelled myself horse in an audience. Bowie wasn't a favorite but I liked some of his music, some I didn't. I am guilty if being surprised of what an avid reader he was, couldn't pass up the opportunity to find out what he read. So interesting.

The books are listed one by one, with a description of what the
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Andrew Smith
I was a big Bowie fan back in the early seventies, a time when I was in my teens and he was releasing what to me remain his most iconic albums: Hunky Dory & Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. He was fresh, his voice just a little off and his lyrics somewhat strange but always conveying a story. I wasn’t quite so enamoured with the albums that followed but in 1983 he released Let’s Dance in which a re-invented Bowie produced a collection of tracks that everyone I knew loved and played to death. And ...more
Christine
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

2016 was a horrible year. It started with the death of Bowie and ended with the death of Carrie Fisher. And let’s not talk about the election okay?

If one knew anything about David Bowie, other than his music and Iman, one knew that he loved to read. There was a list of 100 books that influenced Bowie that was released before his death in conjunction with a show of his costumes at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario
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Sid Nuncius
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting idea which is done well. John O’Connell has taken the list which Bowie made of the 100 books which had most influenced him (but not necessarily his favourite books, as O’Connell firmly points out) and has given a brief description of each book, something of its history and a suggestion of how it came to influence David Bowie.

In general, O’Connell does this very well. There is a lengthy introduction in which he describes Bowie’s almost addictive reading habit an
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Alex Sarll
An exegesis of that list Bowie made of the hundred books which influenced him the most, and one which at its best has some lovely and insightful turns of phrase, really bringing out their interconnections. Of Berlin Alexanderplatz's protagonist, say: "Biberkopf is Shakespeare's unaccommodated man, out on an existential limb – the kind of man Bowie flirted with becoming on the heaviest of his heavy nights out. But he could never quite get there. There was always someone around to step in and pull ...more
Lissa
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
In the years before Bowie died, he put together a list of the hundred books that impacted his life. The list is extremely interesting and O'Connell takes this list and applies it to different facets of the musician's life. I can't say that I will read many of these books, which range for art to large nonfiction tomes about fascism but it does provide a remarkable look at the reading life of a generational icon. I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest rev ...more
Clare
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I received an ARC of this so thanks to Netgalley and the publisher. I couldn't not pick this up because I love books and I love Bowie. So finding out what books Bowie read and delving into his life and motivation.
Ophelia Sings
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bowie made me. As in, he made the person I am today. A huge claim, possibly melodramatic; but others who were similarly Made By Bowie will get it. I was born the year Ziggy Stardust was released, so I was playing catch up, but that scarcely mattered. I devoured everything Bowie did when I was too young to really understand it, as my friends teenybopped to Wham and Duran Duran. As I grew, Bowie informed the music I listened to (his influences became mine, just as others influenced by him became m ...more
Anne
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a very simple idea, very cleverly executed and I loved it. If you rate David Bowie, or if you love reading about books, or even better both, then this is the book for you. John O'Connell has taken the list of the 100 most influential books released shortly after Bowie's death and weaved them into the story of his life. He ties the books to when it was likely Bowie was reading them, who may have recommended them, how they may have influenced Bowie's writing and the author also explains the b ...more
Elainedav
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
In 2013 there was an exhibition of David Bowie's life which included the list, which he wrote, of the 100 books which influenced his life. John O'Connell has taken this list and added commentary on each of the books in turn to make a very readable book in it's own right.

What an extraordinary project and what a fascinating list. The books vary from fictional accounts, generally from highly esteemed authors to non fictional books, often relating to art or music. Sometimes the author co
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George1st
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Bowie was not only one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century but also a fine actor, painter and art collector. Perhaps less well known was his love of books and that when on tour he would ensure that he would be accompanied by a travelling bookcase. Here John O'Connell narrates and examines the list that Bowie made three years before his death listing the one hundred most influential books that he read as opposed to the most enjoyable.

It is indeed an eclectic collection th
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Nancy
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the premise of O'Connell's book: taking a good look into a man's head and heart through the books he values. I find that I kind of unconsciously keep a ledger of my friends' inner-self by noting their reading choices and their reaction to books we have shared, so I was curious as to how the author would approach his subject and his "top 100."

The author was clear that these were books that were important to Bowie (one way or another), but not necessarily his favorite books. I
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Nathan
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As O'Connell's quick to point out, you need to focus on the book's title--it's the books that changed his life, not his *favorite* books.

I suppose this list would be pretty easy to get a hold of on the internet, saving you some sweet cash to where you wouldn't have to purchase this guide/work, eh? It's surely true, but you'd be missing out on a vast amount of information; you see, O'Connell lays out the what (the list, obviously), and then we spend the book exploring the why, as in why he, an a
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Cat
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! This is quite a list of books. It explains a lot, I think, I've read some of the same books, others familiar with and may read someday, but others, nope. I am impressed by the books he's read tho'. Mind, I'm not a fan, I just liked some of his songs, but reading list? Hey, I love knowing what folks read! John O'Connell has done his research and fans will appreciate the book. Actually pretty telling!

I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Jax
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for Bowie Fans. I feel it undiscovered more about David Jones the man, than David Bowie the star. I like David Bowie but I'm not a huge fan so maybe I learned more because of this. Not only about Bowie (the unmade 1984 musical, his Berlin years), I hadn't known the background of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Thank you so much the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary electronic copy in return for an honest review.
D L
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prior to his death David Bowie listed 100 books which changed his life. Journalist John O’Connell has written an essay for each of these, providing an essay for each book and via a line, passage or idea linked it to one of Bowie’s songs.
This is definitely a book for his fans which can be used as a further insight into the varied and well-read reading preferences into the great man who was an admitted bookworm.
This book was provided by Netgalley for an honest review
Jun
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, ng
Are you as well-read as David Bowie? Find out as you peruse this selection of important books to Mr. Jones. Based on a curated exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the author adds descriptions and background information on the 100 chosen books. This is a great resource for Bowie fans, or for building your to-read list.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the digital ARC.
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
A really interesting idea into what helped form a legend, as a fan of reading and the man this is a wonderfully inspiring read about a hero of mine. A well researched and written book, showing how these influenced him, his life and his song writing, wonderful

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Rose
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a list of 100 books that influenced David Bowie. There are also essays from the author on why he thinks each of the books did so. Overall it was an interesting book and I liked learning what types of books Bowie read.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
Deborah (WhiteRabbitWriter)
A brilliantly compiled insight into one of the world's most legendary artists! As a book lover and Bowie enthusiast, I adored it!!
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John O'Connell is a former books editor at Time Out magazine and writes regularly for the Guardian and The Times. He is the co-author of I Told You I Was Ill and The Midlife Manual.