It occurred to me that I could share a list here of a few books that I have read over the recent years that have really inspired me and have helped shape the way I think about the world. Inevitably, this must also have an effect on the sort of art I make.
I tend to enjoy books that make me feel uncomfortable. I like post apocalyptic, distopian novels, sci-fi, and experimental literature. I also like graphic novels, non-fiction stuff… even kids’ books that I read to my son, (who is 5).
Here’s the list, in no particular order.
Justin Cronin ‘The Passage’ and ‘The Twelve’ – I can’t wait for the third part of the trilogy to come out!
Dave Eggers ‘Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’, ‘What is the What’, and ‘The Circle’
Tao Lin ‘Bed’, ‘Richard Yates’, ‘Shoplifting from American Apparel’, ‘EEEEE EEE EEEE’
Patrick Gale ‘Notes from an exhibition’ (the artist in it does what sounds like shit art. But there aren’t many novels about how painting and having a family can clash.)
Ross Raisin ‘God’s Own Country’ (reminds me of growing up in rural North Yorkshire/Teesside with some of the semi-feral country kids I went to junior school with who enjoyed animal cruelty as an extra curricular activity)
Patrick Susskind ‘Perfume’ (which I probably read the first time because as a teenager I loved Nirvana, and Kurt Cobain ripped off the whole plot of the novel for ‘Scentless Apprentice’.
Everything by Brett Easton Ellis, though these days I am disappointed how all his books are basically the same.
Ditto Chuck Palahniuk! Read a lot of his books, but eventually realised they were sort of similar.
Viv Albertine ‘Clothes, Music, Boys’ (I totally thought it was called ‘Clothes clothes clothes music music music boys boys boys’ because that was what was written on the cover. I see that newer editions have a new cover so maybe I’m not the only one who misread the over enthusiastic graphic design! Totally awesome book though, again, about how being an artist/musician can’t really work well with family life. Sigh)
Hugh Howey ‘Wool’, ‘Shift’ and ‘Dust’ (a trilogy) and ‘Sand’ (basically the same as the previous three, only this time, set in a desert! But still good fun.)
M.R. Carey ‘The girl with all the gifts’ (I bloody LOVE this!)
Emily St. John Mandel ‘Station Eleven’ (So good!)
Marina Lewycka – all her dead good books.
At this point I dropped a can of Dr Pepper onto my iPad, and this blog post published itself by accident. ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Indeed! Here’s the rest of what I was going to write. And I was going to publish this another day, but hey ho!
Martin Harris ‘Cows, pigs, wars and witches: The riddles of culture’ (fantastic book looking at how religious beliefs such as not eating pork may have evolved from practical concerns and socio-economic conditions)
Ben Goldacre ‘Bad Science’
Lionel Shriver ‘We need to talk about Kevin’
Howard Buten ‘When I was five I killed myself’
Nick Cave ‘And the ass saw the angel’ (read this lots of times, I love it a lot!)
Derren Brown ‘Tricks of the mind’
Mark Z. Danielewski ‘House of leaves’
Caitlin Moran ‘How to be a woman’
Jacqueline Susann ‘Valley of the Dolls’
John Ajvide Lindqvist ‘Little Star’
Nassim Nicholas Taleb ‘Antifragile’
Graphic novel version of The Walking Dead.
So… There’s probably more but I now have a headache! Too much thinking about amazing books. I did consider adding links to all the Amazon pages for each of these, but I think instead I’ll go and have a nice cup of tea and a lie down!
The photo shows some of the books and magazines on my reading pile at the moment.