Adding to the Bowie Bookshelf

They’re heeeeeere!

The books honoring (capitalizing on) the recent death of David Bowie.

Philosophy professor and New York Times columnist Simon Critchley’s On Bowie . . .

On Bowie

. . . was published on April 1, less than three months after the Starman’s death. However, I strongly suspect this is simply a reprint of Critchley’s earlier Bowie since the 192 page count is identical and Serpent’s Tail ad copy for the new book quotes Rick Moody’s Salon review of the earlier one:

“A magnificent and deceptively slim book, in which no essay takes longer to read than it would take to listen to a Bowie song, but in which there is a cumulative sense of revelation as regards what made Bowie special, and why it is that his work seems to yield more, the more time you spend there. The book is delightful, highly readable … funny, moving and passionate.”

But I never read the earlier book and just found a cheap copy of the new one on ebay, so . . .

[Addendum on 7/16 — a few short chapters have been added at the end to address Blackstar and Bowie’s death.]

Rolling Stone contributor Rob Sheffield‘s identically titled On Bowie (also featuring the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt prominently on its  cover) . . .

On Bowie

. . . came out a few weeks ago. I recently finished his very impressive first book, Love Is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time (plus I got some Amazon gift cards for my birthday), so I ordered this, too.

Paul Morley and Simon Reynolds will also soon be adding to my Bowie library.

Paul Morley‘s Words about Music is one of the most eccentric, but best books ever written about pop music. So I am really looking forward to his The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference (due 8/9):

Age of Bowie

Simon Reynolds has shown himself a master at exploring pop trends and placing them within their social and historical contexts. If Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, From the Seventies of the Twenty-First (due 10/11) lives up to the high standard Reynolds set in books like Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture (AKA Generation Ecstasy), Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 and Retromania: Pop’s Addiction to its Own Past, it is sure to become the standard take on glam:

Shock and Awe

Not new, but  essential to any Bowie fan’s library is Peter Doggett‘s The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s, a song-by-song analysis of the music Bowie recorded during the 1970s:


It can be dipped into for nuggets about individual songs, but read in order the individual entries build to tell a much larger story of one of the greatest artists of rock ‘n’ roll.

ps — If you are interested in what Bowie himself read, check out his Top 100 Books.

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