From Virginia Woolf to Derek Jarman: Enjoy a selection of Tilda Swinton’s 32 favourite books
One of the most unique and creative actors you’re ever likely to come across, Tilda Swinton is a committed artist in all her endeavours. She adds an extra texture of intelligence to everything she does and that transcends into her dream reading list.
The actor was often remarked on for her otherworldly nature, always managing to hold the gaze of every room that she enters, not through sheer beauty or volume but through her magnetic charisma.
Often referred to as David Bowie’s gendered counterpoint, the androgynous star regularly called the singer her ‘North Star’, a guiding point on the horizon, she even described him as “the cousin [she] never had.” She has clearly been a fan for a while as Swinton has managed to adapt his ability to adopt personas like a chameleon.
In her wide range of roles, the actor has always managed to bring truth and authenticity to the most fantastical of roles—three of which feature in her reading list. First up is Alex Garland’s iconic pop-lit masterpiece The Beach which Swinton took on the role of the somewhat psychotic ‘Sal’.
It’s a role that was forever burned in our brains as impressionable viewers, while for younger readers Swinton’s role as The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia, which is also in her selection. The trilogy of C.S. Lewis clearly leaving an indelible mark on Swinton’s life and career.
The third and final choice of books in which Swinton has played a role for an adapted screenplay is Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. While the previous selections may have been included as doffs of her figurative cap to landmark moments in her life, Orlando clearly made a huge impression on her growing up.
About Orlando, she said: “In my adolescent fantasy I read this book and believed it was a hallucinogenic, interactive biography of my own life and future. For me, this trifle of phantasmagoria has always been a practical manual. A tourist guide to human experience, the best of wise companions. At least, it was my first: a message in a bottle from an imaginary friend.”
The remainder of the list is as far-reaching, eclectic, eccentric, and exciting as you would expect to come from someone like Tilda Swinton. From poetry to essays, to the most advanced prosaic work of recent times, Swinton is bringing you her dream reading list through numerous different interviews conducted throughout her career.
Enjoy the list, below.
Tilda Swinton’s Favourite Books:
Bento’s Sketchbook by John Berger
Gavin Maxwell: A Life by Douglas Botting
Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems by Mahmoud Darwish
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
A Time Of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Une Vie Exemplaire by Floc’h
The Beach by Alex Garland
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
The Operators by Michael Hastings
Modern Nature by Derek Jarman
Owning Your Own Shadow by Robert A. Johnson
Thumbsucker by Walter Kirn
My Old Man by Tedd Kessler
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Many Days: Selected Poems Of Norman MacCaig By Norman MacCaig
Collected Poems Of Sorley MacLean by Sorley MacLean
Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne
The Statement by Brian Moore
The Collected Poems Of Frank O’Hara by Frank O’Hara
The Essential Rumi by Rumi
Light Years by James Salter
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Young Adam by Alexander Trocchi
The Child, The Family, And The Outside World by D.W. Winnicott