Phoenix photographed by Emma Le Doyen

One of France’s most successful rock bands, Phoenix is best known for its platinum-selling single “1901” from its Grammy-winning 2009 album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. That album catapulted the band to international fame, including appearances on Saturday Night Live, Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel, among others. Like fellow electropop darlings Air and Daft Punk, the band’s sound is rooted in a kind of kinetic whimsy that feels distinctly French. In June the band—composed of Thomas Mars, Deck d’Arcy, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz—released its sixth album, “Ti Amo,” recorded during a dark period in recent history in which France was left reeling from terrorist attacks and riven by insurgent right wing populism. But although it sprung from a time of tumult, “Ti Amo” retains the band’s signature note of cheeriness and fun. You can also hear Phoenix on the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s latest movie, “The Beguiled.” It’s not the first time that Coppola, who is married to frontman Mars, has turned to Phoenix to score music for her films. Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring, Marie Antoinette, and Somewhere all have a little Phoenix in their musical DNA.  

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


Everything and Nothing

Jorge Luis Borges
There's more to life than Jorge Luis Borges' books, but not much more! I've read Borges so many times that I feel he's a member of the family. And when the lonely darkness of a generic hotel room sets in, I play his DVD of interviews on repeat in the background and it instantly feels like home. - Branco
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Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

Rene Girard
The most powerful grand theory of the 20th century. At the crossroads of literature, anthropology, psychology, and theology, this review of Girard's deceptively simple grand theory helped me crack the code of many mysteries of human existence. - Branco
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Romain Gary
I have always felt a special connection with Romain Gary since reading “Promise at Dawn" in high school. This, however, is a different story, one about aging, the loss of libido and suicide. The kind of story they wouldn't recommend in any high school in Versailles, where I grew up —Sex Ed didn’t exist, and suicide rates were off the charts. This is my favorite of Gary's books, because it deals with his darkest demons: Can you leave someone because you love them too much? Very French! - Thomas
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The Secret Life of Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali
It starts like this: "At the age of six, I wanted to be a cook. At seven, I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing ever since." I read this autobiography a long time ago, but only visited Dali's house in Port Lligat last summer and understood that, of his many masterpieces, the greatest might be his life in this house on the Mediterranean sea. - Branco
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My neighbor happens to be a retired Italian philosophy teacher, and I would sometimes see his silhouette through the curtains writing at his desk late at night. We eventually became friends and I asked him for some lessons. "We must start from the beginning," he said, and that was Heraclitus, also known as The Obscure — rightly so: three years laters we're still studying this book. (I recommend Marcovitch's 1967 edition. Of all the books I own, this might be my favorite.) - Branco
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A Moveable Feast

Ernest Hemingway
During the recording of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Philippe Zdar (our producer) talked a lot about Hemingway’s techniques to be creative. There are few tricks revealed that we’re still using. I live in the same Paris area that he’s describing all through the stories; it’s the best book about my neighborhood that I know. - Christian
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La Conquête Récits Aztèques

Georges Baudot and Tzvetan Todorov
History books are written by the winners, but these extraordinary accounts come from people who lost it all. This compilation of texts (mainly the Florentine and Tlatelolco codexes) relays the Spanish conquest of the Americas from the perspective of Aztec writers — the sublimely tragic story of a great civilization on the edge of annihilation. - Branco
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The Essays

Michel de Montaigne
I discovered “The Essays" at 17 at school, and instantly felt this was about me, dealing with my issues, friendship, death, experimenting, education, morals, etc. I'm not a particularly big reader, but I’ve never stopped going back to “The Essays" since then, and hopefully won't, as this extremely accurate, honest, pragmatic self-description of the author's mind offers a way to know yourself a bit better each time you pick up that book, and as a consequence, live a better life. - Deck
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Manufacturing Consent

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
When the night is dark and the compass is broken, Noam Chomsky should be our northern star. - Branco
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Please Kill Me

Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil
I chose this one because I read a bad review about it in the New York Times when it came out. WTF NYT? This highly entertaining, uncompromising history of Punk music is a classic. Iggy's stories are my favorites. Raw power. - Thomas
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