At a time when the world feels like a very strange place, as the pandemic continues to change the way we live, the arts and culture sphere has taken an unfair battering. With film production delayed, music album releases put on ice, tours cancelled and grassroots venues closing, fans have more time on their hands during the period of flux. To keep the creativity flowing, we’re dipping back into the archives to find an alternative source of entertainment and looking at this list of Phoebe Bridgers’ favourite books.
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been Phoebe Bridgers’ year, her superb sophomore album Punisher has been a saviour for people all over the world who have let the album soundtrack their quarantine filled days. Her music has been the perfect tonic for a year spent being locked inside and gazing out the window but there are unfortunately so many times that you can physically put yourself through the emotions that come from listening to Punisher on repeat. So, getting stuck into a good book is another perfect way of forgetting about all the noise and nonsense that’s going on elsewhere.
Bridgers’ music is emotive and has that ability to transport the listener’s mind straight into her world. Much the same way that a good book manages to do — letting us escape reality for a few pages at a time. She has a way of words that’s beyond her years which, when coupled with Bridgers’ ability to convey such deep, rich feelings, makes her one of the stand-out artists of her generation. An artist who is only improving with every passing release.
The way she writes lyrics is almost like a diary entry at times and her love of reading helped gift Bridgers her immense skill. It has played a part in her getting four Grammy nominations for Punisher as lyrically it is as potent as any book on the list below. Undoubtedly a par of her life for a long time, literature can be heard in every word she sings.
The first book which helped shape Bridgers become the person she is today was Maurice Sendak’s In The Night Kitchen and the children’s book provokes warm recollections from the singer, “Reading this with my parents is one of my earliest memories,” she recalls to One Grand Books, with whom she shared her selections.
“I remember being fascinated by the naked body of a boy covered in dough. Probably the first penis I ever saw. I remember he makes a plane out of dough to get milk, and the best line by far is when he falls in, “I’m in the milk and the milk’s in me,” the singer comedically noted.
Like most 26-year-old’s, the first book that she remembers reading came from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise and The Sorcerer’s Stone is the one which Bridgers holds closest to her heart: “The first book I ever really wanted to read on my own. I spent hours as a kid staring at different stuff in my room, trying to make something levitate.
“To this day, when most people would reference the Bible to make a point about morality or whatever, instead of Judas or Jesus, I’m more likely to bring up Snape or Sirius. When I miss home on tour and can’t get to sleep, I listen to the audiobooks. My inner monologue is narrated by Jim Dale.”
The book that is Bridgers’ ultimate favourite, however, is Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps To Score, which is all about dealing with trauma and the knock-on effects that childhood events can have later on in life, if you leave them to fester. “People have been trying to get me to read this book my entire life. My mom, various friends and partners, but I hate when people think I will like something,” she professed.
“Especially when that thing is about trauma and mental illness. But I finally read it at the beginning of this year, and I can’t believe I made it this far without it. It is sort of traumatizing in itself, but it inspired me to finally set up a session with a good therapist.”
That right there is the power of what a good book can do. It can force you to search within and reflect upon your own life. The same goes for music, it can make you have to deal with feelings that you had subconsciously buried away. This list of books help paint a picture of Bridgers life so far and what makes her the artist that she is today.
Check out the full list below and make your way through Phoebe Bridgers’ reading list.
Phoebe Bridgers’ favourite books
- In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
- Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
- Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
- Tenth of December by George Saunders
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
- Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
- The Idiot by Elif Batuman
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado