Beloved for his unique blend of country, folk, and tropical rock, Jimmy Buffett became a pop culture icon in the 70s, with hit after hit epitomizing his laid-back, endless summer lifestyle. Born in Mississippi in 1946, he shot to fame with sophomore album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, before releasing the career-defining hit “Margaritaville” in 1977.
Outside of music, Buffett parlayed his “island escapism” philosophy into several successful business ventures, including the Margaritaville restaurant chain and investments in the hotel, casino, liquor, and retirement industries. He was also the author of three bestselling books, including fictional works Tales from Margaritaville and Where Is Joe Merchant?, which combined his passion for adventure, eccentric characters and idyllic landscapes.
In 1998, Buffett released the memoir A Pirate Looks at Fifty, reflecting on his life as a musician, sailor, and globe-trotter approaching his fiftieth year:
“Reaching this landmark was a shock to a lot of people, including me. What immediately came to mind was a trip around the world. Something on the scale of Mark Twain’s epic adventure, which he chronicled in Following the Equator.”
Later reiterating his love for Twain’s 1897 travelogue – “I can pick it up, turn to any page, and get lost in the story” – Buffett includes it on “a baker’s dozen of books I would have to take to a desert island.” From Hemingway’s masterpiece of machismo and morality to pioneering pilot Beryl Markham’s memoir, explore the complete list below. Check out the bookshelves of other legendary musicians here.
Jimmy Buffett’s Reading List
Following the Equator by Mark Twain
Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk
Winds from the Carolinas by Robert Wilder
One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty
A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The Complete Fables of Jean de la Fontaine by Jean de la Fontaine
A Collection of Poems by Pablo Neruda
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
(via A Pirate Looks At Fifty; photo by Bruce Glikas)
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