Miranda July: TOP TEN BOOKS


Writer, director, and star of You, Me, and Everyone We Know, which won the Camera d’Or at Cannes, Miranda July is a multi-disciplinarian, who threads together film, fiction, monologue, and performance art. One art project, We Think Alone, involved soliciting famous friends like Kirsten Dunst to share previously sent emails with 100,000 subscribers. “I’m so interested in the way that people both yearn for connection and very much get in their own way,” she told the PBS podcast American Masters. July’s 2011 movie, The Future, was nominated for a Golden Bear at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, and her debut novel, The First Bad Man, came out in 2015.

Below are Miranda July’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


Rich and Poor: Photographs of Jim Goldberg

Jim Goldberg
The format of this book is part of what makes it so great — that the subjects, very rich people and very poor people, got to see Goldberg’s portrait and write a sentence upon looking at themselves. It’s easy to objectify a subject — but also really easy to simply invite them to speak.
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Tattered Cloak & Other Stories

Nina Berberova and Marian Schwartz
I don’t even know how I came across this book, but I read the title story every few years and just feel SO SAD. I thought my life would slip right through my fingers as it did for this narrator, and though it hasn’t…it also has. Super Russian.
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Photography & Film

Friedl Kubelka Vom Groller, Melanie Ohnemus, Andrea Picard
I got this book a couple years ago and since then two people have bought it for me — and they are right to! The very specific, imperfect femininity — the sense of one woman’s struggle to make art — that’s my bailiwick.

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The Diary of A Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures

Phoebe Gloeckner
I was in a unique position to be influenced by this book because my parents published it when I was in my twenties (long before Marielle Heller made it into a great movie). It is the most graphic of all the graphic novels I own — and all from the point of view of a teenage girl.
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The I Ching

I’ve been using the same I Ching since I was teenager when it was given to me by a fellow teenager; it seems too late to change now. I don’t use it often, but when I do it really does help. You can fool yourself, but not the I Ching.
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Studs Terkel
There’s no law against asking strangers about their lives and feelings, although sometimes it really feels like there is. This is the kind of thing I want to read all day long, on every aspect of life (and there’s more, Terkel collected oral histories on race, the great depression, movies and plays, etc.)
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The Famished Road

Ben Okri
I am a big fan of work in any medium that can take on death — being dead, being a soul — in a new way. It shares something with my favorite aspects of George Saunders in its matter of fact dealings with what might be considered supernatural.
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The Address Book

Sophie Calle
Sophie Calle taught me that art isn’t this thing apart from your life, your embarrassing life as woman, girlfriend, person who longed — all that could be art if you were smart and elegant enough to notice what makes something interesting.
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Tenth of December

George Saunders
There is something George Saunders said in an interview that I re-read many times while writing my novel. It’s too long for here but basically: characters don’t have to be articulate to be full human beings. He does this so well and I plan on doing it well.
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Birds of America

Lorrie Moore
Long before I started to write in earnest, Lorrie Moore taught me you could have a woman narrator who was funny and complex and even wrong-headed. She opened up a lot of space that me and a million other women rushed in to.
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