Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor’s list. His solo album Beautiful Thing is out April 20.
Patient, by Ben Watt
Like a lot of my most recent reads, I found a copy of this in my local Underground station book swap/donation area. It’s a very moving and insightful, disturbing and sometimes humorous account of Ben coming to terms with a rare illness, a massive change to his life, and the seemingly unending search for clarity about his condition, and an improvement in his health. It is gripping from the first page, and barely touches on his music career, focusing much more on family and his experiences with the NHS. I’ve not read anything else quite like it.
Photographs, by David Hockney
My friend Matt Connors sent me a copy of this fascinating book as I was researching the location of a specific Hockney painting for a video shoot and getting nowhere. The book shows Hockney’s own photographic workings — scrapbook-like, notes on paintings, wonderful pictures in their own right — they show both a working process and reveal what lies behind some of the most iconic images in modern art.
Gitanjali, by Rabindranath Tagore
This collection of devotional songs (or poems) is a very moving and insightful read. Tagore makes you feel his own sense of wonder at the ways in which he feels connected to God and also his distance from him in very personal and original ways. Will Oldham and Mick Turner set some of these to music and I have been very inspired by their readings. Going back to the original works again and again over the years is very rewarding.
Are We Still Rolling?, by Phill Brown
The most detailed and fascinating book about a recording engineer who worked on some of my favorite records. I wish there were more music books as good as this. Even though it seems impossible to know the final two Talk Talk albums and Mark Hollis’s solo album better than by listening to their murky, beautiful, sparse sound worlds, this series of firsthand accounts of the sessions — and those for Nilsson, Bob Marley, and others — is incredibly illuminating.