Bowie’s favourite 100 Books – Part 10

David Bowie’s 100 favourite Books

Part 10/10

Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi

Its famous opening lines present the single essential theme of Occultism and gives some of the flavour of its atmosphere: “Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvellous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed.”.

The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

The Gnostic Gospels is a landmark study of the long-buried roots of Christianity, a work of luminous scholarship and wide popular appeal. First published in 1979 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Gnostic Gospels has continued to grow in reputation and influence over the past two decades. It is now widely recognized as one of the most brilliant and accessible histories of early Christian spirituality published in our time. (Source: Goodreads.com)

The Leopard by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa

A love story, caustic social portrait, a political analysis with echoes of Machiavelli – Tomasi di Lampedusa, who finished his novel shortly before his death in 1957 and did not live to see it published the following year, has a lot to offer.

Inferno by Dante Alighieri

First published in 1472, Inferno is the first part of the epic poem “Divine Comedy” by the Italian writer Dante Alighieri. It is followed by the Purgatorio and the Paradiso. The Inferno describes Dante’s journey through hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, hell is depicted in the form of nine concentric circles of torment located within the earth; it is the “realm … of those who have rejected spiritual values by giving in to bestial desires or violence, or by perverting their human minds to deceit or malice against their fellow man”. As an allegory, the Divine Comedy depicts the journey of the soul to God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.

A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno

Alberto Denti di Pirajno was a Sicilian writer, doctor in North Africa and restaurateur. He belonged to the Italian high aristocracy and worked for decades in the Italian colonies – first as personal physician, later as head of the cabinet of the Duke of Aosta, the viceroy of Italian East Africa. From 1941 to 1943 he was governor of Tripoli. His collection of stories “The Girl on the Dolphin” (from 1956) provides deep insights into the world of the Arabs, Berbers and other African tribes of the former Italian colonial and mandated territories from Tripoli to Abyssinia.

The Insult by Rupert Thomson

It is a Thursday evening. After work Martin Blom drives to the supermarket to buy some groceries. As he walks back to his car a shot rings out… When he wakes up he is blind. His neurosurgeon, Bruno Visser, tells him that his loss of sight is permanent and that he must expect to experience shock, depression, self-pity, even suicidal thoughts before his rehabilitation is complete. But it doesn’t work out quite like that. And one spring evening, while Martin is practicing in the clinic gardens with his new white cane, something miraculous happens. (Source: Goodreads.com)

First Edition from 1996
First Edition from 1978

In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan

The collection of short stories is McEwan’s second book and was regarded by the author (along with his first collection “First Love, Last Rites”) as an opportunity to experiment and find his voice as a writer. In an interview with Christopher Ricks in 1979, McEwan commented, “They were a kind of laboratory for me. They allowed me to try out different things, to discover myself as a writer.” (Source: Wikipedia.org)

A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes

“A People’s Tragedy” is a comprehensive look at Russia’s journey through multiple governments at the turn of the 20th century. At every step, Figes reminds the reader where history could have gone differently if a proud general had not ordered a particular strategy or another politician with limited foresight had decided otherwise. We are also reminded of our privilege of hindsight. Figes concludes that after centuries of serfdom and autocracy, the Russian people were psychologically incapable of creating a system other than one of authoritarianism. One might call it, somewhat crudely, a generational inferiority complex. (Source: Goodreads.com)

Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

Journey Into the Whirlwind is a memoir written by Russian author Eugenia Ginzburg in 1967 which narrates her arrest during the Great Purges and her exile to a labor camp in the Kolyma Valley. It follows her journey as she moves from prison to prison, meets various convicts, and reflects on the nature of her situation and the Soviet Union’s political state.

Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo

Tadanori Yokoo is a Japanese graphic designer, poster artist and painter. Influenced by Pop Art, his works incorporate photographs, pieces from the traditional Japanese world, the Western world and Buddhism – often all in the same artwork. Yokoo has received numerous awards at home and abroad and was featured in an exclusive exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1971.

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