David Bowie, Waugh Fan

A list of singer/songwriter David Bowie’s 100 favorite books includes Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 novel Vile Bodies. The list appears in an Independent newspaper article that was published in conjunction with the exhibition David Bowie is at the Victoria & Albert museum, which ran for several months last year, closing in August.

Bowie is described as a “voracious reader.” For example, when he travelled to the desert to make the film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he was accompanied by a trunkful of books. Three books by Waugh’s contemporary George Orwell appear on the list, making Orwell Bowie’s favorite writer. Among these is 1984 which is the title of one of the songs on his 1974 album Diamond Days. Bowie once proposed to turn Orwell’s novel into a rock musical but was refused permission. Other books on Bowie’s list by writers of the interwar generation include Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood, Blast by Wyndham Lewis, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The exhibition moved from the V&A to Toronto and will travel (via stops in Sao Paulo and Berlin) to Chicago next September where it will be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the only US venue.

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