Devendra Banhart: TOP TEN BOOKS


Born in Houston, Texas, and raised by his mother in Venezuela until returning to California as a teenager, the prolific musician Devendra Banhart is admired for his shimmering, folk-inflected psychedelia. “I can’t imagine anyone approaching art without the joy of experimentation,” he has said—an axiom borne out in his output. In a near two-decade career, Banhart has worked with Yoko Ono, Beck, and Caetano Veloso.  The self-described “very bad Buddhist,” and keen skateboarder, is also a visual artist and poet. His debut poetry collection, Weeping Gang Bliss Void Yab-Yum, was published in April 2019, and, like his songs, reflects a quirky, whimsical, at times melancholic sensibility. His most recent album is Ma, a collection of tender and elegant songs that speak to the Buddhist belief that everyone has been a mother at some point. Banhart is currently touring, and will be performing at Brooklyn Steel on December 5.

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


When Things Fall Apart

Pema Chodron
This is one of those books I like to stock up on, have a few copies ready to give a friend, it's just so helpful. Wisdom and compassion right there in each page. My current copy is heavily bookmarked and just feels like those “in case of emergency break glass” boxes.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I remember reading this twice, it's been a minute and I'm due for a third reading, I don’t think any other book has made me laugh out loud more.
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Michael Ende
It's that rare feat, a tremendous philosophical insight presented in a way that anyone, at any age can grasp! Wow. Of all my childhood books, The Giving Tree and Hope for the Flowers really did change my early world, but after reading Momo in my thirties, I thought, ‘Ahhhhhh this is the one book I wish I had read as a kid! Then re-read at every subsequent chapter of my life.’ Yes, this sounds cliche but I truly think this is essential reading for—here goes—children of all ages!
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Grist for the Mill

Ram Dass
Author of the timeless classic, Be Here Now (and hey, even if you’re not into all this spiritual stuff just get it for the art!!), this is a beautiful book that I don’t really know how to describe expect as a wonderful companion.
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The Guru Drinks Bourbon

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
An incredibly funny, accessible, and supremely wise guide to help one find a spiritual teacher!
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Turtle Island

Gary Snyder
This collection of poetry and prose is a little like going for a long hike out into the redwoods and coming upon a beautiful library, well lit, and cozy and there’s no one but you and all these amazing books that you are welcome to read as long as you treat everything with the respect it deserves. Wouldn’t that be an amazing experience?
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Blazing Splendor

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
The autobiography of a spiritual master, priceless.

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Mary Oliver
I read a few pages from this Mary Oliver selected compendium of poems spanning more than five decades every single day — often in the morning. It’s what I imagine a bird feels when they hop into a really beautiful birdbath with really clean water in it.
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In Love with the World

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Without telling anyone, Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche  steals away in the middle of the night from his own monastery and lives as a wandering yogi for four years…. Unbelievably useful, humbling, thrilling, inspiring, and fascinating!
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This Planet is Doomed: Poems of Sun Ra

Sun Ra
Visionary, transcendent, wise, and grossly under-appreciated poetry from one of the most important artists of all time!

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