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 which you can find in full below. 

The actor was often remarked on for her otherworldly nature. The actor always manages 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 often 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 a 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. Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is also a pick for her dream reading list. 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. 

  • 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
  • The Essential P.G. Wodehouse by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Source: The New York Times / Refinery 29 / Radical Reads

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