Marianne Faithfull: TOP TEN BOOKS


Courtesy of Stéphane Sednaoui

From naïve ingenue at 17 to strung out junkie, the trajectory of Marianne Faithfull’s early career was paralleled over the course of her most famous songs — including her 1964 classic, “As Tears Go By,” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and the 1969 single, “Sister Morphine,” released toward the end of a drug-fueled relationship with Jagger. After defeating her demons, Faithfull reemerged with the spectacular rock album, Broken English, in 1984, and has since appeared in a multitude of film roles while continuing to perform. Now living in Paris, she was a recipient of France’s Ordre des Artes et des Lettres in 2009.

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


When Things Fall Apart

Pema Chodron
I get a lot of help from Pema Chodron. She is the student of Chögyam Trungpa, who was Allen Ginsberg’s guru, and it was Allen who taught me to meditate, along with many other lessons from Buddhism.
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Just Kids

Patti Smith
Simply brilliant. I am a friend of Patti’s, and a huge fan, and I loved it.
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Memoirs of Hadrian

Marguerite Yourcenar
A difficult book to read—it’s incredibly tragic—but I sort of managed it, and very nearly at the end now.
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Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels

John Updike
They’ve just been a delight to me as long as I’ve known about them. I’ve just read the last one, John Updike is brilliant.
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The Death of Bunny Munro

Nick Cave
One of Nick Cave’s many novels—very dark, of course, rather like his songs, but very good.
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The Pursuit of Love

Nancy Mitford
Nancy Mitford is one of my favorite writers. This is the first of her books that was successful. It’s delightful, it’s funny, it’s charming, and really witty! I read it again and again.
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The Gambler

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
It’s one of my favorite of Dostoyevsky’s stories, really frightening but it’s an incredible book.
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Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

Stephen Greenblatt
I love Shakespeare, and this is perhaps the best book that’s ever been written about him. It’s a fantastic way of talking about Will, and his whole life and career. Completely fascinating.
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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

Salman Rushdie
Salman is brilliant at fantasy (he’s also brilliant at reality), but I think this is my favorite fantastical magical book he’s ever written, but who knows what’s coming?
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Brave New World

Aldous Huxley
Obviously I read this when I was very young, with Heaven and Hell, and then years later, a friend of mine in Paris—a rare book dealer and musician—turned me on to all his other books, and I was just knocked flat. They are so good.
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