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The David Bowie Book Club: Home

The David Bowie Book Club

David Bowie Book Club

If you've been paying attention to social media at all, you've seen that Duncan Jones has decided to honor his father, a voracious reader, by announcing the David Bowie Book Club.

The list Jones is pulling from was first published as part of the promotion for the Art Gallery of Ontario's exhibit David Bowie Is in 2013. "The list shows an amazing depth and breadth of interest, taste and genre from the icon, who has himself been the subject of more than 60 books. There was never any doubt the Bowie is a genius, but if there had been, this list should more than quiet any critics." (Open Book)

As even we—the "trained professionals"—had a hard time getting our hot little hands on the first book, Peter Ackroyd's ​Hawksmoor​, we decided to share some tips and tricks below to finding the books, comics, and magazines on Bowie's list, whether you want to follow along with Duncan Jones and the rest of the world, or just go at your own pace!

Hawksmoor coverSearch Your public library is always the best bet for a title from the book list! Once you've completed your search on Worldcat and selected the item you want, you can enter your postal code to find libraries near you that have it available. Your public library may also have a number of access possibilities for you, whether print, electronic, or audio. A number of public libraries are also involved in larger city, county, or statewide consortiums that can provide you with a wider range of materials via interlibrary loan from other locations. One of our staff members has ordered a copy of Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor via Ohio's academic library consortium, OhioLINK. E-book versions of titles can often be obtained from your public library via services like Overdrive as well, if you prefer to read on your Kindle or other mobile device.

​Search the Web. Classics like the Homer's Iliad are in the public domain, so they can often be found online for free via websites like Project Gutenberg. Some books and magazines, like a ​Clockwork Orange​ by Anthony Burgess, can be located online via Google Books, where you can read books and magazines, download them, cite and translate them. 

Go to an Independent Bookstore​If you've tried all your free options—or you're a bibliophile who simply wants (or needs) to add to your personal collection—an independent bookstore should be your next stop! Your local independent bookstore is not only providing you with an amazing service, in terms of curating a collection of quality, trending, and local-interest publications, but also serves as an amazing community gathering place for you and like-minded individuals. No independent bookstores near you? There are chain brick-and-mortar bookstore options like Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books where you can obtain some of the more well-known titles on this list.

Shop on AmazonNo bookstores near you at all? (Poor soul.) Shop for your title at Amazon, where you can likely find the book you want and, if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, receive it within days with free shipping. You can purchase items on Amazon directly from the company itself, or from third-party sellers that have been ranked by Amazon's users based on past interactions. This is the route one of our staff took to obtain Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor; however, we notice the price via third-party sellers on the site has significantly risen since the book club announcement was made!

Shop on AbeBooks. ​​​AbeBooks is a great alternative for used, rare, or hard-to-find titles and collectibles. If you're looking to not only expand your personal collection but to fill it with rare first editions or signed copies of these books, then AbeBooks is for you. Some issues of Raw: The Graphix Magazine​ appear to be available via AbeBooks.

Subscribe to Audible. Audible provides access to downloadable and streaming audiobooks that can be accessed through your home and mobile devices. So if you have a long commute, or just enjoy listening to books in your downtime, Audible may be for you. And, if you think you can follow a postmodern mystery by ear, Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor is available on Audible!

Northeast Ohio Resident? We have most of the rock history titles from Bowie's list here at the Library & Archives. Make an appointment today to come in and read with us!


Interested in learning more about 1996 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee David Bowie? See this guide to our library and archival resources on Bowie as a starting point for your research!

The List

The 42nd Parallel, John Dos Passos, 1930
1984, George Orwell, 1948
The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby, 2008
All the Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd,1960
The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford, 1963
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner, 1930
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn, 1968
The Beano (comic), 1938–
Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich, 1972
Berlin Alexanderplatz, Alfred Döblin, 1929
Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C. Danto, 1992
Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse, 1959
The Bird Artist, Howard Norman, 1994
Black Boy, Richard Wright, 1945
BLAST, ed. Wyndham Lewis, 1914–1915
The Bridge, Hart Crane, 1930
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2007
Les Chants de Maldoror, Lautréamont, 1869
City of Night, John Rechy, 1965
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962
The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard, 2007
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler, 1980
David Bomberg, Richard Cork, 1988
The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West, 1939
The Divided Self, R. D. Laing, 1960
Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess, 1980
English Journey, J.B. Priestley, 1934
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters, 2002
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, 1963
Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes, 1984
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, 1979
A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno, 1956
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd, 1985
Herzog, Saul Bellow, 1964
The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, 1957
The Iliad, Homer, about 800 BC
In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan, 1978
In Bluebeard’s Castle : Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner, 1971
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1965
Infants of the Spring, Wallace Thurman, 1932
Inferno, from the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri, about 1308-1321
Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell, 1962
The Insult, Rupert Thomson, 1996
Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester, 1980
Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg, 1967
Kafka Was The Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard, 1993
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence, 1928
Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr. , 1966
The Leopard, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, 1958
The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White, 1984
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, 1856
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967
McTeague, Frank Norris, 1899
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz, 1978
Money, Martin Amis, 1984
Mr. Norris Changes Trains, Christopher Isherwood, 1935
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler, 1997
Mystery Train, Greil Marcus, 1975
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter, 1984
Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey, 1984
Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky, 1971
On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding, 1961
On the Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes, 1976
The Outsider, Albert Camus, 1942
The Outsider, Colin Wilson, 1956
Passing, Nella Larsen, 1929
A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, 1980
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 18901924, Orlando Figes, 1997
The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, 1944
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, 1961
Private Eye (magazine), 1961–
Puckoon, Spike Milligan, 1963
The Quest For Christa T, Christa Wolf, 1968
Raw (a ‘graphix magazine’), 1980–1991
The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell, 1937
Room at the Top, John Braine, 1957
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, Yukio Mishima, 1963
Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara, 1974
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia, 1990
Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage, 1961
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, 1986
The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillete, 1970
Strange People, Frank Edwards, 1961
The Street, Ann Petry, 1946
Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick, 1986
Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders, 1975
Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage, 2007
Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual, Eliphas Lévi, 1896
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, 2001
Vile Bodies, Evelyn Waugh, 1930
Viz (magazine), 1979–
The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot, 1922
White Noise, Don DeLillo, 1984
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon, 1995
Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed. Malcolm Cowley, 1977
Zanoni, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1842

(Source: "Special Feature: How to Read Like Bowie - David Bowie's Top 100 Books," Open Book, September 26, 2013)

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