The incredible museum exhibition David Bowie Is included a list of 100 books that were not necessarily his favorites but rather those that influenced him the most. Author John O'Connell used that list as the basis of his own book, Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie's Life, containing plot summaries, analysis, and his thoughts on how each text connects to Bowie. From John Quin's review at The Quietus:
O'Connell rightly reminds us that Bowie was a Mod and that his literary taste was consistently modernist: Camus, Eliot, Lawrence and Kerouac all feature here amongst others….
There are plenty of surprises here such as his love for true crime classics like Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and travel narratives such as Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines. We learn more about Bowie's friendships with writers like Hanif Kureishi and William Boyd. It's also good to be reminded that Bowie loved a laugh and rated Keith Waterhouse. Humour features strongly with Viz, Private Eye, and Spike Milligan's Puckoon all making the cut…
The singer's Berlin years, the time of Low and 'Heroes', are linked with the inclusion of Berlin, Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin with its lowlife nightclubbing. There's pleasure too in hearing that Bowie liked the revival of forgotten classics such as John Kennedy Toole's wonderful A Confederacy of Dunces. And Bowie's interest in modern art is underlined by the inclusion of Richard Cork's book on David Bomberg and Arthur C. Danto's thinking on Warhol in Beyond the Brillo box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective.
"Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie's Life" (Amazon)