Sage enlightenment and moody fantasy, chosen by a riveting performer.
Writer, singer, performer, and ringmistress of the “Brechtian punk cabaret” act The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer blends tongue-in-cheek theatricality and artful musical craft in her arresting stage act. Her 2008 solo record Who Killed Amanda Palmer proved a cult hit and her book of the same title — a collaboration with photographer Kyle Cassidy that staged Palmer as an appropriately exquisite corpse — also enlisted the prose of bestselling novelist Neil Gaiman. She shared with us three books that illuminate her unique aesthetic.
By Alain de Botton
“There are some writers out there, like Bill Bryson, who can write about any subject and you’ll simply want to read it. It takes a great writer to write a book about Proust, his bloody boring book, his crankiness and his relationship with his mother and make it fascinating reading about the nature of life, art and existence.”
By Seung Sahn
“A collection of letters between a crazy buddhist teacher and his students.Every time somebody comes to me with an existential crisis or an interest in meditation, I give them a copy of this book. My mentor gave me this book before I went on a street-performance trip to Australia when I was about 21 years old, and the mind-blowing revelations and practices that sprang off its pages actually saved me from getting arrested in a Woolworth’s. Long story.”
By Neil Gaiman
“Short stories. I’ve recently been delving into the collected works of Neil Gaiman (he’s also cute), and this book is by far my favorite. His imaginative and disturbing concoctions lie somewhere near the planets of some of my favorite short story writers (Kurt Vonnegut, JD Salinger, Ray Bradbury), but he manages to be so bizarre that I luckily can’t compare him to anything without feeling like it’s doing his work an injustice.”