St. Vincent shares her 34 favorite books

Annie Clark lists the works of literature that inspired her songwriting

St. Vincent
St. Vincent

Annie Clark loves reading as much as she does listening to and making music. It’s why she named her musical persona St. Vincent after the hospital where poet Dylan Thomas died, after all. (Or, at least, why she named herself after the Nick Cave lyric that mentions said hospital.) It’s also why she’s appeared on KLRX Radio’s Unbound Book Club podcast numerous times discussing her favorite works of literature. Now, thanks to Radical Reads, you too can follow in Clark’s literary path by perusing a list of her 34 favorite books.

The list runs the gamut from classic works (Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger, Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises) to tales of rock and roll (Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk). Theatrical works also make the list, like The Collected Plays by Tennessee Williams; “I was a lusty kid who loved Tennessee Williams plays,” says Clark. “Sexy plays.” She even throws love on Tina Fey (Bossypants) and shade on Scientology (Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, And The Prison Of Belief by Lawrence Wright).

Find the complete list below, including a few episodes of Unbound Book Club in which St. Vincent discusses the books she loves.

White Girls by Hilton Als
Malcolm X At Oxford Union: Radical Politics In A Global Era by Saladin Ambar
A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes
Mythologies by Roland Barthes
The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges
The Night of the Gun by David Carr
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
The White Album by Joan Didion
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Magus by John Fowles
Just Kids by Patti Smith

The Journals of Spalding Gray by Spalding Gray
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti
Animal Love by Werner Herzog
The Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog
Air Guitar by David Hickey
The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain

The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain
Bark by Lorrie Moore
Birds Of America by Lorrie Moore
I Am the New Black by Tracy Morgan
The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning by Maggie Nelson
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan
The Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas
Submission by Michel Houellebecq
When Marina Abramovic Dies
by James Westcott
The Collected Plays by Tennessee Williams
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, And The Prison Of Belief by Lawrence Wright