A list of Nick Cave’s 50 favourite books
16.06.2020

A list of Nick Cave’s 50 favourite books

Nick Cave revealed the list in his blog, The Red Hand Files.

In September 2018, Nick Cave launched a blog called The Red Hand Files which sees him communicate with his fans and talk about theories behind his music as well as other interesting topics. What a fan will ask Cave will answer, and he does so in typical stately Cave fashion. Recently, in blog post #94, Cave was offered a plagiarism enquiry regarding his music and responded with class.

But for the 101st post on the blog, a certain Victoria asked Cave, “Would you consider compiling a list of 40 books that you love?”. As the amicable Cave does, he went away and fulfilled the request and got a little bit excited, getting together 50 books in the process. The list spans everything from a book about the most notable Langston Hughes poems to reads from Michael Ondaatje, Sylvia Plath, Jerome Rothenberg and more.

While you might consider Cave’s excitement and content excess to be a product of a teeming bookshelf, that wasn’t the case.

“Normally, to answer this question I would simply go to my bookshelves and choose forty books,” Cave said in the blog post. “However, my bookshelves are completely empty. The 5000+ books I have accumulated over the years have been shipped to the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. They are now part of the completely mind-blowing, heart-stopping Stranger Than Kindness exhibition.

“Without my library in front of me, it is a little difficult to assemble a comprehensive list of my forty most-loved books. The best I can do is throw together a rather formless and incoherent grab bag of titles that come to mind at this moment that, for one reason or another, I have loved over the years.”

The list is as follows (in no particular order):

American Dreams – Sapphire

Break, Blow, Burn – Camille Paglia

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden – Denis Johnson

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor

I and Thou – Martin Buber

Straight Life – Art Pepper

The Bible – King James Edition

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

High Windows – Philip Larkin

The Conference of Birds – Attar of Nishapur

My Promised Land – Ari Shavit

The Christ at Chartres – Denis Saurat

King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild

America a Prophecy – Jerome Rothenberg

Ariel – Sylvia Plath

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page – Gerald Basil Edwards

The English and Scottish Popular Ballads

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Shaking the Pumpkin  – Jerome Rothenberg

The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson

The Collected Works of Saint Teresa of Avila

Moby Dick – Herman Melville

The Mayor of Casterbridge  – Thomas Hardy

Mid-American Chants – Sherwood Anderson

Collected Works of Billy the Kid – Michael Ondaatje

American Murder Ballads and Their Stories – Olive Woolley Burt

Poems of W. B. Yeats – Selected by Seamus Heaney

The Good Lord Bird – James McBride

Consolations – David Whyte

Roget’s Thesaurus – Peter Mark Roget

Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer

Lives of the Saints – Alban Butler

Inferno/From an Occult Diary – August Strindberg

Poems 1959-2009 – Frederick Seidel

S.C.U.M Manifesto – Valerie Solanas

Complete Poems of E. E. Cummings

The Anatomy of Melancholy – Robert Burton

Dave Robicheaux Novels – James Lee Burke

Victory – Joseph Conrad

A Flower Book for the Pocket – Macgregor Skene

The Informers – Bret Easton Ellis

The Frog Prince – Stevie Smith

Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov

Sanctuary – William Faulkner

Short Stories of Anton Chekhov

The Factory Series – Derek Raymond

The Dream Songs – John Berryman

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

Walkabout – James Vance Marshall

Read the blog post here.      

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