Amanda Palmer: TOP TEN BOOKS


Thanks to an explosively theatrical performance style, Amanda Palmer has carved a niche for herself as one of America’s most galvanizing musicians, both as one half of The Dresden Dolls and in her solo career. She has said, “What I do comes from a deep desire to be seen and to see others.” Her now famous Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her second solo album, Theater is Evil, raised $1.2 million, giving rise to a TED talk and a bestselling book, The Art of Asking.

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


Dropping Ashes on the Buddha

Seung Sahn
This was one of those life-changing books that finally popped the light off in my little brain, when I read this at 24. These are mostly letters to students, and Seung Sahn writes in this funny, broken-invented English way that screams off the page to be understood; there is nothing clever. I gave it to all my friends. This led us to start email chains for the past few years that now sign off: "ALL THE TIME JUST SAY: DON'T KNOWWWWW" (to be read in Korean accent).
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The Hotel New Hampshire

John Irving
The first book I ever read that made me jump up and down in bed and pump my fist while reading. It was a physical reaction. I could not help it. I love this book, love this family, love this man's writing. The film's not bad, either. It's a supplement.
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Hermann Hesse
When I was 15, I was in love. At 17, I told him I'd probably sleep with another man if given the chance. He left me in that moment, on the town green, after two years of non-stop passion. He moved to Prague. Seven weeks later, a blank brown packaged arrived with a book in it. No dedication. Another life-changer. Now that I'm married to a fantasy author, I'm not sure why this book isn't filed in fantasy. I was tricked; I don't read fantasy. But this book has a fantastical realism that pierces to the bottom of the psyche. I've re-read and re-read this sucker every five years since then, and I always read a different book.
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Blood and Guts in High School

Kathy Acker
This book made me want to write, to write more honestly than I had ever written before. No other book has done quite that.
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Not the End of the World

Rebecca Stowe
Dark as fuck. And not what you think. Not quite a young adult book, but maybe. I don't remember how this book came into my life, but I read it as a teenager and completely related to the discovery of Trauma In Suburbia.
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A Collaboration with Nature

Andy Goldsworthy
When I found this book on a friend's table in Seattle, I fell in love. Just open it, I'll shut up.
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The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams
A book about what love is. A classic, but oh man. As I age, every time I read this aloud I cry a little harder.
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How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran
The new feminist manifesto.
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Dirty Plotte

Julie Doucet
I only read one comic when I was young. It was this. It changed everything.
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Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin

Mel Gordon
We take so much for granted, dude. Mel didn't have to find these images and compile this book; but he did. So much of this would have been lost. I stole at least 9 of these images for band posters back when I was doing all of the concert-promoting and CD-burning (remember CDS?) for my first band, The Dresden Dolls. The aesthetic inspired.
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