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Nick Cave Names His 50 Favourite Books in New Fan Letter

“The best I can do is throw together a rather formless and incoherent grab bag of titles that come to mind at this moment,” Nick Cave wrote of his picks.

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Nick Cave has listed the likes of 'The Bible', 'Roget's Thesaurus', and more in a list of his 50 favourite books.

Kerry Brown/Nasty Little Man PR

Musician, songwriter, and acclaimed author Nick Cave has givens fans an insight into what would usually populate the shelves of his library, sharing a list of his 50 favourite books recently.

Sharing his reading list as part of the most recent entry into his Red Hand Files series of fan letters, Cave responded to a request to compile a list of the 40 books he loves. Choosing instead to pick an extra ten to round out the list, the musician noted he is currently without his sprawling library at the current time.

“Normally, to answer this question I would simply go to my bookshelves and choose forty books. However, my bookshelves are completely empty,” he explained. “The 5000+ books I have accumulated over the years have been shipped to the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. They are now part of the completely mind-blowing, heart-stopping Stranger Than Kindness exhibition.

“Without my library in front of me it is a little difficult to assemble a comprehensive list of my forty most loved books. The best I can do is throw together a rather formless and incoherent grab bag of titles that come to mind at this moment that, for one reason or another, I have loved over the years. I think I got carried away.”

As most would expect, the list in question is as varied and eclectic as the man himself. While classics such as the collected poems of Emily Dickinson and E.E. Cummings, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and works by Sylvia Plath, Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, and more are selected, there’s also a few interesting additions to the list.

Valerie Solanas’ controversial S.C.U.M Manifesto makes an appearance, as does The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, the King James Edition of The Bible, and Olive Woolley Burt’s American Murder Ballads and Their Stories, undoubtedly giving an insight into the influences used by Cave in his writings.

Notably though, the list also includes Roget’s Thesaurus by Peter Mark Roget, which indicates that linguistic skills like Cave’s don’t come naturally. Check out the full list of books below.

American Dreams – Sapphire
Break, Blow, Burn – Camille Paglia
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden – Denis Johnson
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor
I and Thou – Martin Buber
Straight Life – Art Pepper
The Bible – King James Edition
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
High Windows – Philip Larkin
The Conference of Birds – Attar of Nishapur
My Promised Land – Ari Shavit
The Christ at Chartres – Denis Saurat
King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild
America a Prophecy – Jerome Rothenberg
Ariel – Sylvia Plath
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page – Gerald Basil Edwards
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
Shaking the Pumpkin – Jerome Rothenberg
The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
The Collected Works of Saint Teresa of Avila
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
Mid-American Chants – Sherwood Anderson
Collected Works of Billy the Kid – Michael Ondaatje
American Murder Ballads and Their Stories – Olive Woolley Burt
Poems of W. B. Yeats – Selected by Seamus Heaney
The Good Lord Bird – James McBride
Consolations – David Whyte
Roget’s Thesaurus – Peter Mark Roget
Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer
Lives of the Saints – Alban Butler
Inferno/From an Occult Diary – August Strindberg
Poems 1959-2009 – Frederick Seidel
S.C.U.M Manifesto – Valerie Solanas
Complete Poems of E. E. Cummings
The Anatomy of Melancholy – Robert Burton
Dave Robicheaux Novels – James Lee Burke
Victory – Joseph Conrad
A Flower Book for the Pocket – Macgregor Skene
The Informers – Bret Easton Ellis
The Frog Prince – Stevie Smith
Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
Sanctuary – William Faulkner
Short Stories of Anton Chekhov
The Factory Series – Derek Raymond
The Dream Songs – John Berryman
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Walkabout – James Vance Marshall