A list of Nick Cave’s 50 favourite books

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A list of Nick Cave’s 50 favourite books

Nick Cave revealed the list in his blog, The Red Hand Files.

In September 2018, Nick Cave launched a blog called The Red Hand Files which sees him communicate with his fans and talk about theories behind his music as well as other interesting topics.

What a fan will ask, Cave will answer, and he does so in typical stately Cave fashion. Recently, in blog post #94, Cave was offered a plagiarism enquiry regarding his music and responded with class.

Catch up on the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

But for the 101st post on the blog, a certain Victoria asked Cave, “Would you consider compiling a list of 40 books that you love?”.

As the amicable Cave does, he went away and fulfilled the request and got a little bit excited, getting together 50 books in the process. The list spans everything from a book about the most notable Langston Hughes poems to reads from Michael Ondaatje, Sylvia Plath, Jerome Rothenberg and more.

While you might consider Cave’s excitement and content excess to be a product of a teeming bookshelf, that wasn’t the case.

“Normally, to answer this question I would simply go to my bookshelves and choose forty books,” Cave said in the blog post. “However, my bookshelves are completely empty. The 5000+ books I have accumulated over the years have been shipped to the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. They are now part of the completely mind-blowing, heart-stopping Stranger Than Kindness exhibition.

“Without my library in front of me, it is a little difficult to assemble a comprehensive list of my forty most-loved books. The best I can do is throw together a rather formless and incoherent grab bag of titles that come to mind at this moment that, for one reason or another, I have loved over the years.”

The list is as follows (in no particular order):

American Dreams – Sapphire
Break, Blow, Burn – Camille Paglia
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden – Denis Johnson
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor
I and Thou – Martin Buber
Straight Life – Art Pepper
The Bible – King James Edition
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
High Windows – Philip Larkin
The Conference of Birds – Attar of Nishapur
My Promised Land – Ari Shavit
The Christ at Chartres – Denis Saurat
King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild
America a Prophecy – Jerome Rothenberg
Ariel – Sylvia Plath
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page – Gerald Basil Edwards
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
Shaking the Pumpkin  – Jerome Rothenberg
The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
The Collected Works of Saint Teresa of Avila
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
The Mayor of Casterbridge  – Thomas Hardy
Mid-American Chants – Sherwood Anderson
Collected Works of Billy the Kid – Michael Ondaatje
American Murder Ballads and Their Stories – Olive Woolley Burt
Poems of W. B. Yeats – Selected by Seamus Heaney
The Good Lord Bird – James McBride
Consolations – David Whyte
Roget’s Thesaurus – Peter Mark Roget
Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer
Lives of the Saints – Alban Butler
Inferno/From an Occult Diary – August Strindberg
Poems 1959-2009 – Frederick Seidel
S.C.U.M Manifesto – Valerie Solanas
Complete Poems of E. E. Cummings
The Anatomy of Melancholy – Robert Burton
Dave Robicheaux Novels – James Lee Burke
Victory – Joseph Conrad
A Flower Book for the Pocket – Macgregor Skene
The Informers – Bret Easton Ellis
The Frog Prince – Stevie Smith
Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
Sanctuary – William Faulkner
Short Stories of Anton Chekhov
The Factory Series – Derek Raymond
The Dream Songs – John Berryman
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Walkabout – James Vance Marshall

Read the blog post here.