We’re taking a look through the great Fleetwood Mac singer and solo star Stevie Nicks and a selection of her favourite books as the singer shows off her wide literary knowledge and how it affected her work too.
The undoubtedly gifted lyricism of Stevie Nicks is steeped in the kind of romantic peril and modernist musings that only an avid reader could have. As part of Fleetwood Mac, the soft-rock sunshine of the seventies, Nicks would add a literary flourish to their pop-rock sound and the musical world would benefit because of it.
The singer has become synonymous with the otherworldly, not least because of her talented vocal performance but also her connection with the fantastic and poetic. It’s an element of her songwriting that is mirrored in her selection of favourite books, a list of which you can find below. With lockdown never-ending, a list of good books is something we all need.
One of Stevie Nicks’ most famous songs with Fleetwood Mac, ‘Rhiannon’, was inspired by Welsh folklore which saw Rhiannon, a Welsh goddess, meandering through the valleys. One of her selections, American author Evangeline Walton also had a connection with Rhiannon. Having written, The Prince of Annwn, The Children of Llyr, The Song of Rhiannon and The Island of The Mighty had Nicks feeling as though the two artists were deeply connected.
“Someone sent them to me back in 1978 because I’d written a song called ‘Rhiannon’ 5 years earlier,” the ethereal singer recalled. “Walton started her work around 1934 and finished in 1974, which was right around the time that I wrote ‘Rhiannon,’ so I felt like when her work ended, mine began.”
There’s also a clear affection for the trailblazing feminist work of the Brontë sisters. Not only did she include the defiant work of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre but also her sister, Charlotte’s, seminal work Wuthering Heights. She noted once, “The beauty of both these classics is that they were fantastic when I was a teenager and they still appeal to me now as a 63-year-old woman.”
She even found room on her essential list, the ‘prequel’ to Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea which focusses instead on Mrs Rochester, the ‘wild woman’ who features in Brontë’s novel. Stevie once said of Sargasso, “Jean Rhys wrote this book as a precursor to Jane Eyre because of her love for the Bronte novel. I saw the film adaptation of the book in the early 1990s and it inspired me to write the song of the same name on my album.”
There’s also some room on the list for Nicks’ favourite poets. Namely, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron, and Oscar Wilde, quite the triumvirate of literary forces. Nicks proclaims that much of Poe’s work can be transferred into songs, saying, “I like Byron for the same reason—his characters are dark and intense like Lindsey. Oscar Wilde’s work is more flamboyant, but he was a really good storyteller.” A noted love for a poet who shines brightly with romance and danger in equal measure.
Nicks may reach the heights of the literary world with the last few selections on her list but theirs still a mainstream appeal to her work. A populist punch was still to come as she also finds room on her essential reading list for Stephenie Meyer’s massive young-adult lit behemoth Twilight.
Nicks said of the mega-hit, “I think the love story between Edward and Bella is going to live on forever, like Beauty and the Beast.” While we will reserve judgment on that particular selection, the rest of the list is a fine assortment of books and a perfect addition to anybody’s library.
Truth be told, Stevie Nicks could suggest pretty much anything to us and we’d give it a read, listen, or watch. We’re just very happy to see that Nicks has as good a taste in books as she does in music and songwriting.
Stevie Nicks’ favourite books:
- The Mabinogion Trilogy – Evangeline Walton
- Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
- The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
- Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
- Out of Africa – Karen Blixen
- Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
- The Twilight Series – Stephenie Meyer
- Wheel of Fortune – Susan Howatch
- The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs
- The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- On The Road with Janis Joplin – John Byrne Cooke
- Lord Byron: The Complete Poetical Works