Review: Bowie’s Books by John O’Connell

Title: Bowie’s Books – The Hundred Literary Heroes Who Changed His Life

Author: John O’Connell

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

‘What is your idea of perfect happiness?’


‘What is the quality you most like in a man?’
‘The ability to return books.’

Three years before he died, David Bowie made a list of the one hundred books that had transformed his life – a list that formed something akin to an autobiography. From Madame Bovary to A Clockwork Orange, the Iliad to the Beano, these were the publications that had fuelled his creativity and shaped who he was.

In Bowie’s Books, John O’Connell explores this list in the form of one hundred short essays, each offering a perspective on the man, performer and creator that is Bowie, his work as an artist and the era that he lived in. Bowie’s Books is much more than a list of books you should read in your lifetime: it is a unique insight into one of the greatest minds of our times, and an indispensable part of the legacy that Bowie left behind.

The Review

Of all the deaths in 2016 (and let’s face it, there was a lot) it was David Bowie’s death that probably upset me the most. I loved Bowie. He was a musician who was way before my time but he was one that I sourced myself, without parental influence. So, it is of some comfort that even nearly three years after his death that fans can still learn new things about the man or feel his influence in a new different way.

With Bowie’s Books we get an insight into the literature that shaped the man he became. We are given access to his favourite books and in turn a stepping point if we enjoy the book then what you should read next. Along the way, we get stories of David Bowie’s life and it is littered with facts and anecdotes.

It really is just a joy to read.

Plus if David Bowie thought it was cool to read then who the heck are we to argue.

Bowie’s Books – The Hundred Literary Heroes Who Changed His Life by John O’Connell is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit

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