As a 5-year-old piano prodigy, Tori Amos was the youngest student ever admitted to the Peabody Conservatory of Music – before being expelled for “musical insubordination” by the age of 11. The alt-rock singer-songwriter caught her break as a solo artist in the early 1990s, with emotionally intense songs tackling a wide range of topics, including sexual violence, religion, politics, and feminism.
Sharing the books of her life in an interview with The Guardian, Amos spoke on befriending Neil Gaiman, finding solace in Rebecca Solnit, and dreaming of Edgar Allan Poe. Find her reading list below, and complement with the bookshelves of Alanis Morissette, Carrie Brownstein, Chrissie Hynde, Kim Gordon and Liz Phair.
“Sarah Kendzior has been studying Central Asian autocrats for decades. She has a podcast called Gaslit Nation with Andrea Chalupa that has been exposing the ties of the Trump administration to the Russian mafia. Currently, I am reading her new book Hiding in Plain Sight.” -TA
“In 1990 I discovered Neil Gaiman’s comic book series The Sandman and wrote a song that references the Dream King and Neil. He called me up saying he really liked it, and we’ve been pals now for almost 30 years.” -TA
“Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me not only underscored my experience as a female singer-songwriter in the music industry but probably rang true for most women globally. I wish I could have written any of her books.” -TA
“As a teenager I was required to read Mythology by Edith Hamilton. Little did I know that would spark a passion for all myths.” -TA
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Jean-Yves Leloup
“The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, in a translation of the original Coptic Gospel of Mary by Jean-Yves Leloup, was the gospel that my mother Mary and I read together. We found another layer of Jesus’s teachings through her. My father, the Rev Dr Amos, was not so keen on my mum being so inspired by this gospel, so we kept it sacred and close to our hearts and between us.” -TA
Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel
“Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel cracked me wide open. Her memoir filled with ghosts, from unfinished stories to unborn children, cut straight to my heart and rattled my bones.” -TA
“Laughing is sometimes the only medicine that pulls me from the gloom. Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman is pure gold.” -TA
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer (also rec’d by Kathy Griffin)
“My mother would read ‘The Raven’ from her well worn collected works of Edgar Allan Poe to send me off to the land of dream.” -TA
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
“The definition of comfort for me is inspiration. Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks has been my travelling companion on more than one journey.” -TA
(via The Guardian)