Lilian Min
July 30, 2015 11:45 am

While it’s common now for artists in one creative field to tackle many others (writing, recording, acting, and modeling all come to mind), sometimes it can be, err, difficult to take those cross-career endeavors seriously. But if there’s one thing Carrie Brownstein, of the legendary rock band Sleater-Kinney and the hilarious sketch comedy show Portlandia, knows besides music and making people laugh, it’s books. Which is why we’re taking her recommendations for the top ten books she can’t live without to heart.

Brownstein herself has a memoir coming out later this year, but she’s an avid reader with impeccable taste. No seriously, she reads all the books we read and love too. So when Aaron Hicklin, the editor-in-chief of Out magazine, decided to pick literary-minded friends to contribute to his new bookstore concept One Grand, he smartly tapped Brownstein for her literary contributions.

One Grand is based on a simple question with a multitude of answers: “If you were stuck on a desert island, which 10 books would you bring with you, and why?” Hicklin asked famous friends like Tilda Swinton, Tom Ford, and Ta-Nehisi Coates for their top ten books, and while most of their titles are only available at their temporary NYC pop-up, Brownstein shared hers with T Magazine. Some of our favorites of her favorites are below:

“The Devil Finds Work,” James Baldwin

“Baldwin is one of my favorite writers and cultural critics. His work always feels both relevant and revelatory. This book-long essay on film and moviegoing is part memoir, part homage to cinema, and also an exploration of the ways corrosive ideas seep into the collective imagination.”

“Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” Joan Didion

“A seminal book of essays. A meditation on the mythologies of the West and on America itself. Trenchant, prescient, timeless.”

“The Waves,” Virginia Woolf “

An impressionistic, experimental novel that is filled with an immense and delicate beauty. Told in soliloquies, the book explores a vast and tender interior landscape.”

“Other Voices, Other Rooms,” Truman Capote

“A dizzying, almost surreal bildungsroman about a search for a familial love that is just shy of non-existent.”

“The Argonauts,” Maggie Nelson

“One of my favorite books of the last few years. It’s both a memoir and an ontological exploration. In some ways, this book is a life-changer in that it posits new spheres of both being and togetherness.”

Read the entire list over here. Now, we just have to wait until October 27 for Brownstein’s own memoir.

Related reading:

These pioneering women in music are releasing memoirs

An Interview with Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein

(Images via here and here.)

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