A genre-spanning singer-songwriter with six Grammy wins, Brandi Carlile‘s unique blend of country, pop and Americana has garnered cult and commercial acclaim since the breakthrough success of her 2007 single “The Story.” In her new memoir, Broken Horses, she shares meditations on her dysfunctional childhood, religion and sexuality struggles, family life, and path to music stardom.

In a reading list for The Seattle Times, Carlile recommended four books that fascinate, educate, and inspire her. From the Bible to interviews with Dolly Parton, find her favorites below, and check out the bookshelves of other iconic musicians right here.

Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton by Randy L. Schmidt

“I picked it because I’m fascinated by Dolly Parton. I’ve read all the books written about her. I don’t even know which ones are authorized and which ones are not authorized, but I find her so fascinating. I could read about her endlessly. She has a lot of sides to her that you just wouldn’t think are there. That’s what’s most fascinating about her: She doesn’t give it all to the public. If you read Dolly on Dolly, you’ll learn more.” -BC

The Bible (also rec’d by Carl SaganLeonard CohenMartin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Mr. RogersNick Cave, Penn Jillette & Vincent van Gogh)

“I’m a big Bible enthusiast, both for its archival purposes and the way it affects the culture, both positively and negatively. I think there’s a ton of wisdom to be gleaned from the Bible about why people behave the way they do and why we have learned to behave the way we do over the last 2,000 years.” -BC

Blood by Allison Moorer

“Stunning — an absolutely stunning book. I’m not even going to go into what it is because I feel so strongly that it’s not my story to tell, but I promise you that if you read that book, you’ll be changed.” -BC

Educated by Tara Westover (also rec’d by Elizabeth Gilbert)

“I learned so much more than I thought I knew about unconditional familial love and the importance of educating yourself if you’re a woman in this world. I genuinely do believe that almost all the problems in this world can be solved, from poverty to aggression to climate change, by educating and empowering women, because they hold up half the sky. If the other half of the human race is empowered, then I think we could solve all our problems globally. So it at least starts there. Educated isn’t as high-minded as that, but it shows you how important it is and how you can overcome extreme adversity.” -BC

(via The Seattle Times)

Categories: Activists Musicians