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Credit: Bill Gordon


Avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson picks her 10 favourite books


The American musician and avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson adds a surplus of intellectual textures into her work. It’s not surprising then that her favourite books of all time include some cerebral classics.

Anderson’s work across a ridiculously wide range of different art plains, saw her be widely loved across the New York art world. A composer, musician, and film director Anderson has had huge acclaim for her work in performance art, pop music, and multimedia projects.

Though Anderson was initially a trained violinist during the creative crucible of 1970s New York, she developed both her sculpting and her performance art to shine a light on language and technology through her physical and visual imagery.

It’s safe to say that she is a virtuoso of expression and an undeniable powerhouse of pulsating artistry. While Anderson’s best work is more visually driven her reading list is that of a person with literature flowing through her veins.

In an interview with LitHub, the artist highlighted the importance of books “Some books need music built in and you need to go into that room and sit in the visual room and look around. Then you can listen to the story. But you’re going to be someplace… It’s really hallucinatory. Books were, for me as a tiny kid, they were a world. So to fall into that world… they would be all around me. I can still walk into a book and be there, but it’s in a different way now, and I really wish I could still do it as a child.”

In this list, created with One Grand Books, Anderson selects her 10 favourite books of all time and offers a window into her literary soul and possibly at some of the inspiration for her work. There are a number of utterly engaging reads on Anderson’s list, one classic being Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, the artist said of that pick “I fell in love with this book. The words were songs, the flow embraced the way we actually think. Backtracking, looping, jumping.”

There are also wonderful titles such as Nabokov’s Pale Fire, Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron all of which show the mark of an avid consumer of words. The latter of which we will leave you with as it exemplifies the power books and great writing can have.

“Reminds me that disasters can be positive. Reminds me to accept whatever happens and to make it my friend. Grounded in disaster, it leads to the comfort and understanding that we — and only we — can bring to ourselves. Reminds me that we all have broken hearts.”

See Laurie Anderson’s 10 favourite books below

  • Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
  • Within The Context Of No Context by George Trow
  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
  • Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Well-Tempered City by Jonathan F.P. Rose
  • Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Source: One Grand Book