For London’s 2015 Meltdown festival, curator David Byrne shipped 200+ books over from his New York home to create a lending library for attendees. Having grown up in the suburbs of Baltimore, the Talking Heads frontman considers his hometown library a formative place – an access point to wider worlds, where he fostered a taste for avant-garde composers and far-flung folk acts.

The idea of reading books for free didn’t kill the publishing business, on the contrary, it created nations of literate and passionate readers. Shared interests and the impulse to create.

Keeping with this eclectic range of influences, Byrne’s lending library encompassed nearly every genre and aspect of music, from science and psychology to culture and art history. Thanks to the always-interesting Brain Pickings, find a full list of David Byrne’s lending library below – and complement with the reading lists of Brian Eno, St. Vincent and David Bowie.


40 Watts from Nowhere: A Journey into Pirate Radio by Sue Carpenter

A divina comedia dos Mutantes by Carlos Calado

A Photographic Record: 1969–1980 by Mick Rock

A Thelonious Monk: Study Album by Lionel Grigson

A Whole Room for Music: A Short Guide to the Balfour Building Music Makers’ Gallery by Helene La Rue

Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life by Brandon Labelle

Acoustics for Radio and Television Studios by Christopher Gilford

Africa Dances by Geoffrey Gorer

African Music: A People’s Art by Francis Bebey

African Rhythm and African Sensibility by John Miller Chernoff

Afro-American Folk Songs by H.E. Krehbiel

AfroPop! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music by Sean Barlow & Banning Eyre

All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman

Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café by Miguel Algarin & Bob Holman

An Illustrated Treasury of Songs by National Gallery of Art

And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey by Studs Terkel

Arranged Marriage by Wallace Berman & Robert Watts

Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music by Cristoph Cox & Daniel Warner

Austin City Limits: 35 Years in Photographs by Scott Newton & Terry Lickona

Bachata: A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music by Deborah Pacini Hernandez

Bandalism: The Rock Group Survival Guide by Julian Ridgway

Beats of the Heart: Popular Music of the World by Jeremy Marre & Hannah Charlton

Best Music Writing 2001 by Nick Hornby & Ben Schafer

Best Music Writing 2002 by Jonathan Lethem & Paul Bresnick

Best Music Writing 2003 by Matt Groening & Paul Bresnick

Best Music Writing 2006 by Mary Gaitskill & Daphne Carr

Best Music Writing 2007 by Robert Christgau & Daphne Carr

Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne

Black Music of Two Worlds by John Storm Roberts

Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacificby Heidi Carolyn Feidman

Blues Guitar: The Men Who Made the Music by Jas Obrecht

Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music that Seduced the World by Ruy Castro

Botsford Collection of Folk Songs Volume 1 by Florence Hudson Botsford

Botsford Collection of Folk Songs Volume 2 by Florence Hudson Botsford

Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie (also rec’d by

Bourbon Street Black: The New Orleans Black Jazzman by Jack V Buerkle & Danny Barker

Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship by Idelber Avelar & Christopher Dunn

Brutality Garden: Tropicalla and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture by Christopher Dunn

Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg

But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz by Geoff Dyer

Cancioneiro Vinicius De Moraes by Orfeu

Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music by Mark Katz

Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White

Chambers by Alvin Lucier & Douglas Simon

Chinaberry Sidewalks: A Memoir by Rodney Crowell

Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk by Deborah Harry, Glenn O’Brien & Shepard Fairey

Clandestino: In Search of Manu Chao by Peter Culshaw

Clothes Music Boys by Viv Albertine

Cocinando! Fifty Years of Latin Cover Art by Pablo Yglesias

Conjunto by John Dyer

Conversations with Glenn Gould by Jonathan Cott

Conversing with Cage by Richard Kostelanetz

Copyrights & Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Dancing in Your Head: Jazz, Blues, Rock and Beyond by Gene Santoro

Desert Plants: Conversations with Twenty-Three American Musicians by Walter Zimmerman

Diccionario de Jazz Latino by Nat Chediak

Diccionario del Rock Latino by Nat Chediak

Driving Through Cuba: Rare Encounters in the Land of Sugar Cane and Revolution by Carlo Gebler

Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion by Mickey Hart & Jay Stevens

Essays on Music by Theodor W. Adorno

Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond by Michael Nyman

Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2 by Negativland

Fela Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore

Fetish & Fame: The 1997 MTV Video Music Awards by David Felton

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954–1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim

Folk and Traditional Music of the Western Continents by Bruno Nettl

Folk Song Style and Culture by Alan Lomax

Folk: The Essential Album Guide by Neal Walers & Brian Mansfield

Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition by Iannis Xenakis

Fotografie in Musica by Guido Harari

Genesis of a Music by Harry Partch

Give my Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman by B.H. Friedman

Gravikords, Whirlies, & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments by Bart Hopkin

Guia Esencial De La Salsa by Jose Manuel Gomez

Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning by Gary Marcus

Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening, and Modernity by Veit Erlmann

Here Come the Regulars: How to Run a Record Label on a Shoestring Budget by Ian Anderson

He Stopped Loving Her Today: George Jones, Billy Sherrill and the Pretty-Much Totally True Story of the Making of the Greatest Country Record of All Time by Jack Isenhour

Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music and Graffiti by Steven Hager

Hit Men by Frederic Dannen

Hitsville: The 100 Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazines 1954–1968 by Alan Betrock

Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why by Ellen Dissanayake

Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture by Alice Echols

How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond by John Powell

Hungry for Heaven: Rock and Roll and the Search for Redemption by Steve Turner

I Have Seen the End of the World and it Looks Like This by Bob Schneider

I’ll Take You There Mavis Staples: The Staple Songers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway by Greg Kot

In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise by George Prochnik

Indian Music by B. Chaitanya Deva

It Ain’t Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues by Paul Myers

Japanese Music and Musical Instruments by William P. Malm

Javanese Gamelan by Jennifer Lindsay

Jazz by William Claxton

Knitting Music by Michael Dorf

La Traviata: In Full Score by Giuseppe Verdi

Laurie Anderson by John Howell

Leon Geico: Cronica de un Sueno by Oscar Finkelstein

Lexicon of Musical Invective by Nicolas Slonimsky

Light Strings: Impressions of the Guitar by Ralph Gibson & Andy Summers

Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music by Eric Weisbard

Listening Through the Noise: the Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music by Joanna Demers

Listen to This by Alex Ross

Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981–2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany by Stephen Sondheim

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Music Made New in New York City in the ’70s by Will Hermes

Love in Vain: The Life and Legend of Robert Johnson by Allen Greenberg

Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture by Tim Lawrence

Low by Hugo Wilcken

Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-dirty in Seventies New York by James Wolcott

Macumba: The Teachings of Maria-Jose, Mother of the Gods by Serge Bramly

Mango Mambo by Adal

Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song: MPB 1965–1985 by Charles Perrone

Max’s Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock and Roll by Steven Kasher

Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James and the Shondells by Tommy James

Miles by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe (also rec’d by Questlove)

Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an imaginary Soul Superstar by Dori Hadar

Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and “Inventor of Jazz” by Alan Lomax

Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture by Thurston Moore

Music by Paul Bowles

Music and Communication by Terence McLaughlin

Music and Globalization: Critical Encounters by Bob W. White

Music and the Brain: Studies in the Neurology of Music by MacDonald Critchley & R. A. Henson

Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr

Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations between Music and Possession by Gilbert Rouget

Music Cultures of the Pacific, The Near East, and Asia by William P. Malm

Music in Cuba by Alejo Carpentier

Music, Language and the Brain by Aniruddh D. Patel

Musica Cubana Del Areyto a la Nueva Trova by Dr. Cristobal Diaz Ayala

Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia with More than 4,000 Original Drawings by Ruth Midgely

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

My Music by Susan D Crafts, Daniel Cavicchi & Charles Keil

New York Noise: Art and Music from the New York Underground 1978-88 by Stuart Baker

Noise: A Human History of Sound & Listening by David Hendy

Noise: The Political Economy of Music by Jacques Attali

Notations by John Cage

Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds by David Toop

On Sonic Art by Trevor Wishart

Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Opera by Fred Plotkin

Patronizing The Arts by Marjorie Garber

Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music by Greg Milner

Pet Shop Boys: Literally by Chris Heath

Popular Musics of the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey by Peter Manuel

The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the Science of Song by Elena Mannes

Presenting Celia Cruz by Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte

Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs

Queens of Havana: The Amazing Adventures of the Legendary Anacaona, Cuba’s First All-Girl Dance Band by Alicia Castro

Recordando a Tito Puente: El Rey del Timbal by Steven Loza

Reflections on Macedonian Music: Past and Future by Dimitrije Buzarovski

Remembering the Future by Luciano Berio

Repeated Takes: A Short History of Recording Music and Its Effect on Music by Michael Chanan

Revolution in the Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties by Ian Macdonald

Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans by John Broven

Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Pay: The History of Politics in the Music Industry by Steve Shapple & Reebee Garofalo

Rock Archives by Michael Ochs

Rock Images: 1970–1990 by Claude Gassian

Rock Lives: Profiles and Interviews by Timothy White

Salsa Guidebook for Piano & Ensemble by Rebeca Mauleon

Salsa: The Rhythm of Latin Music by Gerard Sheller

Salsiology: Afro-Cuban Music and the Evolution of Salsa in New York City by Vernon W. Boggs

Samba by Alma Guillermoprieto

Sonic Transports:New Frontiers in Our Music by Cole Gagne

Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear by Steve Goodman

Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture by Kevin Phinney

Sounding New Media: Immersion and Embodiment in the Arts and Culture by Frances Dyson

Soundings by Neuberger Museum

South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous by John Broven

Spaces Speak, Are You Listening: Experiencing Aural Architecture by Barry Blesser & Linda-Ruth Salter

Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music by Angelique Kidjo

Starmaking Machinery: The Odyssey of an Album by Geoffrey Stokes

Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer by Jonathan Cott

Stolen Moments: Conversations with Contemporary Musicians by Tom Schnabel

Stomping the Blues by Albert Murray

Tango: The Art History of Love by Robert Farris Thompson

Text-Sound Texts by Richard Kostelanetz

The ABCs of Rock by Melissa Duke Mooney

The Agony of Modern Music by Henry Pleasants

The Anthropology of Music by Alan P. Merriam

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

The Beatles: Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn

The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Dougherty

The Brazilian Sounds: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil by Chris McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha

The Faber Book of Pop by Hanif Kureishi & Jon Savage

The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places by Bernie Krause

The Human Voice by Jean Cocteau

The Kachamba Brothers’ Band: A Study of Neo-Traditional Music in Malawi by Gerhard Kubik

The Last Holiday: A Memoir by Gil Scott-Heron

The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States by John Storm Roberts

The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Quasar of Rock by Charles White

The Merge Records Companion: A Visual Discography of the First Twenty Years by Merge Records

The Music Instinct by Philip Ball

The Music of Brazil by David P. Appleby

The Mystery of Samba: Popular Music and the National Identity in Brazil by Hermano Vianna

The New Woman Poems: A Tribute to Mercedes Sosa by Néstor Rodríguez Lacorén

The Performer Prepares by Robert Caldwell

The Rational and Social Foundations of Music by Max Weber

The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl by Trevor Schoonmake

The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg

The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross

The Rolling Stone Interviews: The 1980s by Various

The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice by Greil Marcus

The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World by Trevor Cox

The Sun and the Drum: African Roots in Jamaican Folk Tradition by Leonard Barrett

The Thinking Ear by R. Murray Schafer

The Traditional Music of Japan by Kishibe Shigeo

The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art by Tim Blanning

The Veil of Silence by Djura

The Wilco Book by Dan Nadel

This Business of Music: The Definitive Guide to the Music Industry by M. William Krasilovsky & Sidney Shemel

This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

Through Music to Self by Peter Michael Hamel

West African Rhythms for Drumset by Royal Hartigan

What Good are the Arts? by John Carey

White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960’s by Joe Boyd

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History 1955–Present by Gail Buckland

Whose Music? A Sociology of Musical Languages by John Shepard, Phil Virden, Graham Vulliamy, Trevor Wishart

Why is This Country Dancing: A One-Man Samba to the Beat of Brazil by John Krich

Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

The Rough Guide to World Music: Latin and North America, Caribbean, India, Asia, and Pacific: An A-Z of the Music, Musicians and Discs by Simon Broughton & Mark Ellingham

The Rough Guide to World Music: Salsa to Soukous, Cajun to Calypso by Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, David Muddyman & Richard Trillo

World: The Essential Album Guide by Adam McGovern

Yakety Yak: The Midnight Confessions and Revelations of Thirty-Seven Rock Stars and Legends by Scott Cohen

(via Brain Pickings)

Categories: Musicians

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