Best known as cofounder of pioneering post-punk band Joy Division – reformed as New Order after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis – Peter Hook now plays his legendary basslines with The Light, notable for performing his earlier bands’ landmark albums in their entirety.

Before starting the North American leg of the band’s 2019 Technique/Republic tour, Hook spoke with Brooklyn Vegan about his favorite books to take on the road. From classics and political thrillers to rock bios and his own memoir, find Peter Hook’s reading list below. Then dive into the bookshelves of other iconic musicians right here.

The World According To Garp by John Irving

“John Irving’s plots have a great depth with many strands and it’s interesting how he can lead you down one avenue and then deliver a completely different ending to what you might have been expecting. Then he pulls it all together at the end, absolutely superbly. I find with some books they lead you down a path but then fail to pull it together satisfactorily at the end which usually lets a lot of books down. John Irving is really a master of the craft. I’ve never read a bad one yet. The World According to Garp was the first John Irving book I ever read. It’s a wonderful look at family and friendships with some truly shocking events throughout the book that literally take your breath away. I’ve gone onto read all of his books after that and they all demonstrate a wonderful insight into life. Garp is a mind-blowing read, it really is.”  -PH

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (also rec’d by Cate Blanchett)

“It just goes to show how complicated love is and, in a funny way, how you can love more than one person at one time. It’s a terrible story of temptation, foolishness and the fickleness of men in a wonderful setting, the South Of France, which suits it perfectly. There’s strong women characters and it’s wound up being the only book I’ve re-read many times. You end up being dragged into the middle of a terrible situation and I’m always struck by the predicament the central character finds himself in. It tuned into me and I’ve actually used it to write two songs, Leave Me Alone by New Order and Tender Is The Night by Monaco so that’s how much of an effect it had on me.” -PH

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

“My god, this is a harrowing tale and it just shows you how lucky some people can be, whether it’s fate, design or whatever, the thing is you have to decide that for yourself. The greatest testament I can give to this book is I was flying from Manchester to Cork and the engine went out. So the captain came on and made an announcement and everybody of course started to panic and become a little scared. The plane was listing from side to side and making some unusual sounds we ended up making a really weird bad emergency landing in Dublin. As we landed there was an announcement saying ‘Welcome to Dublin’ and a woman looked up from reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz and said ‘Oh, why are we in Dublin? I wanted to be in Cork?’ She had been totally engrossed by the book and not noticed a thing!” -PH

Jack Reacher: The Hard Way by Lee Child

“I came into Jack Reacher late and I’ve seen caught up at an alarming speed and viewing the remaining titles I have to go with some trepidation. Lee Child is a fantastic writer. His technical know-how for anything to do with guns, tanks, the American Army, the psychology of the Army and anything to do with that is entirely breathtaking, it really is. The detail is what makes it fascinating for me. Jack Reacher is a wonderful character. He seems like a gentle, fine man but when he sees injustice he has to react. He’s like a decent vigilante if you like, and the stories are so complicated and have threads that go all over the place with many different aspects, all exciting and then he, like Updike, also has the knack of bringing it all together at the end which is truly an art.” -PH

The Lights of Manchester by Tony Warren

“Tony Warren created ‘Coronation Street’ and to my knowledge he didn’t write many books. The Lights of Manchester someone recommended to me because it was about Old Salford and about many of the places from my childhood that disappeared. The streets and districts that were razed to the ground in the ’70s for all the newbuilds that went on in Salford. It’s a very heartwarming tale of a young lady’s adventures in and around Manchester. He certainly had a knack for writing which is very unusual but very readable so i’ll certainly recommend that to anyone.” -PH

Monster Planet by David Wellington

“Anyone who knows me well knows that lately I’ve become a bit of a zombie addict and it’s bordering on an obsession. I watch them as much as possible. You never seem to run out of zombies, it’s fantastic, just like in the games I suppose. Although I watch them all the time on tour, when it comes to night, I can’t watch them. My friend had got into reading about zombies and he said that I should too, so you don’t get that excitement from the blue screen etc. So I’ve just started reading this one which I think has a particularly interesting slant on the way zombies and the mystery virus can be in a funny way spiritual and otherworldly. David Wellington’s take on it is very interesting and quite novel.” -PH

King Of Clubs by Peter Stringfellow

King Of Clubs was given to me by Rob Gretton, New Order’s manager, to show me that we weren’t the only ones who had made monumental errors in the club world. Peter Stringfellow pretty much emulated what we had done. Hopeless naivety, trusting people you shouldn’t, being taken advantage of, having a good time doing it and nothing stopping you doing it. It is a great book. Very few books have been written about clubs and I’m proud that I stand there with Peter Stringfellow with The Hacienda book, two monumental failures that both worked out well for different reasons.” -PH

Peas & Queues by Sandi Toksvig

“Sandi Toksvig is a TV presenter in the UK and she’s written this guide to manners and etiquette. You see, I’m forever having an argument with the wife at restaurants — the food is served and she always insists on waiting until everybody is served until we begin eating. I do it differently, so she got me this book and Sandi actually explores it really well. There’s a lot of common sense in it but also a lot of history as to where manners originate from, why they’re important and why they came about.” -PH

Diary Of A Rock & Roll Star by Ian Hunter

“This was recommended to me as a great rock and roll book. I read it very early on, way before I ever thought of writing one myself. It’s very warm, chummy and written in a friendly way. It’s not removed from what you consider to be normal life. He sounded like a normal guy enjoying his job, getting into scrapes like we all do and the band are all getting on in it. He captures a good time in Mott The Hoople.” -PH

Substance: Inside New Order by Peter Hook

Substance I use now as a reference book. A lot of the things I’m doing with the LPs now as I go through, I need to know facts. I did put a lot of detail in all the books simply because I hate rock and roll books that don’t list the records, don’t talk about the tracks. I actually use Spotify as I read through the book to hear certain tracks, which I heartily recommend. Although if you’re reading the Motley Crue book don’t bother doing that. The story is far more interesting than their music…” -PH

(via Brooklyn Vegan)

Categories: Musicians

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