Tegan and Sara: TOP TEN BOOKS


Tegan and Sara

“Being a musician is like being an athlete,” Sara Quin—one half of the long-running Canadian pop duo Tegan & Sara—once told The Fader magazine. “We’ve just relentlessly sang and wrote, sang and wrote, for decades now.” In between, it’s clear that they both also read. Although this list reflects Sara’s favorite books, the duo’s nine albums revel in a literary sensibility and a love of language that distinguishes them from many of their contemporaries.  The sisters have just published a memoir, High School, detailing their coming of age in the 90s (coincidentally, their new album, “Hey, I’m Just Like You,” mines demos they originally recorded in the same period), and say they have learned as much about each other from the book as their fans are likely to. “It’s about how two people living in the same environment with the same circumstances can have very unique paths to discovering who they are,” Sara told Billboard magazine. Writing a book is one journey of discovery; reading books is another, as these ten titles attest.

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


The Vegetarian

Han Kang
Scarier than a horror film, I found that I could not read it alone at night. It was the closest I’ve come to giving up the flesh (of animals).
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Nick Drnaso
The story Nick Drnaso tells about the inexplicable violence perpetrated by a young man, filmed, uploaded, and then devoured on social media by the masses, kept me up at night. Even in the wordless frames, I sometimes wanted to cover my eyes or look away. Essential reading for our times.
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Heavy: An American Memoir

Kiese Laymon
So fresh and mesmerizing, Kiese Laymon’s writing reminded me of the thrill and speed of listening to a musician that reinvents a genre. Every page winded me.
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Patricia Lockwood
I recently emailed Patricia Lockwood to ask her a favor even though we do not know each other. That’s the kind of intimacy this excellent memoir about Patricia’s life, and family, fosters in its reader. I wouldn’t just bring this book to the desert island, I’d beg Patricia to shipwreck there with me.
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The Folded Clock 

Heidi Julavits
“To be melancholy is to be self-haunted, and among the many reasons this is an unsatisfactory explanation for living inside a jam jar inside an aquarium, foremost among them is that there are no good stories to tell of your bleak time in a beautiful place, and no specter to blame for the fact that happiness, though it should have been inescapable, evaded you.” - I want that quote chiseled onto my gravestone.
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The Flamethrowers

Rachel Kushner
I am not a cool person, and this book—daring and smart, with a protagonist so original and fierce—confirmed the above statement in spades. Please read if interested in any or all: motorcycles, New York City in the 1970s, artists, radicals, revolutionaries.
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Dept. of Speculation

Jenny Offill
There are sentences in this book that I’d tattoo on my skin forever.
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White Teeth

Zadie Smith
In my life, there is the time before White Teeth, and the time after White Teeth. Zadie Smith’s writing changed my view of the world, and no offense to Patricia Lockwood, but I would like to ask Zadie to come to the desert island too.
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The Invention of Solitude

Paul Auster
As I’ve struggled to understand the (older) men in my life, I’ve returned to this book often. For anyone with daddy issues.
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David Rakoff
Brilliant, clever, and heartbreaking essays. Especially marvelous if you know David’s voice from his work on the radio program This American Life.
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