Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and it’s shared the results with Vulture. Today, musician Phoebe Bridgers, whose new album, Punisher, is out now, shares her list.
Reading this with my parents is one of my earliest memories. I remember being fascinated by the naked body of a boy covered in dough. Probably the first penis I ever saw. I remember he makes a plane out of dough to get milk, and the best line by far is when he falls in, “I’m in the milk and the milk’s in me.”
The first book I ever really wanted to read on my own. I spent hours as a kid staring at different stuff in my room, trying to make something levitate. To this day, when most people would reference the Bible to make a point about morality or whatever, instead of Judas or Jesus, I’m more likely to bring up Snape or Sirius. When I miss home on tour and can’t get to sleep, I listen to the audiobooks. My inner monologue is narrated by Jim Dale.
I’ve loved tarot since I was a kid (re: Harry Potter shrine in my bedroom), but learning to read it has always seemed like a chore, and tarot books for the most part are just super-boring. Still, I love this book. Michelle Tea is a queer witch poet and author who does an incredible job of humanizing every card. I brought it to the studio to kill time with my band between takes, and most of them bought copies.
I’ve read everything he’s ever published, but this one is still my favorite. Weirdly, it’s about his experience quitting smoking. I’m not a smoker but I think about the way he talks about addiction every day. And it’s mostly set in Japan, my favorite place on Earth.
The kind of book you finish and walk around in a weird fog for a couple days. The coolest thing to me about George Saunders is his ability to create wildly different characters, and make you empathize with each one. As someone who writes pretty much exclusively from my own perspective, this is a mysterious gift.
People have been trying to get me to read this book my entire life. My mom, various friends and partners, but I hate when people think I will like something. Especially when that thing is about trauma and mental illness. But I finally read it at the beginning of this year, and I can’t believe I made it this far without it. It is sort of traumatizing in itself, but it inspired me to finally set up a session with a good therapist.
True crime has always been a confusing and sort of reductive genre title to me. It makes me think more of the creepy exploitative TV shows and books on serial killers, instead of a total work of art like this book. The Golden State Killer was active in California in the ’70s and ’80s, before I was born. Michelle McNamara made it her life’s purpose to find out as much as she could about him and his victims, and she made incredible breaks in the case just sitting at home on her computer. She died unexpectedly in 2016, two years before the Golden State Killer was caught, and although the authorities didn’t officially give her credit for having a hand in catching him, the spotlight she shone on the case made an enormous difference at the very least.
Horny, spooky, sad, smart, queer, funny … maybe my favorite book of all time. And if you’re into Law & Order: SVU fanfiction, look no further.
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