Tilda Swinton: TOP TEN BOOKS


The Oscar-winning actress and muse and collaborator with such iconoclastic directors such Derek Jarman, Wes Anderson, and Luca Guadagnino, Swinton has left her mark in a string of memorable films, including OrlandoThe Deep End, Burn After ReadingI Am Love, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Grand Budapest HotelSnowpiercer, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. In September 2020, she was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival. In addition to her acting career, she is known for her installation piece, The Maybe, in which she presents herself as a museum exhibit in a glass case, and for a festival, The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams, that she conceived and hosted in Nairn in Scotland, where she lives.

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


Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems

Mahmoud Darwish
Darwish, Palestinian poet of the Resistance, writes like breath. His passion for the essence of homeland is universal as well as painfully particular. A true master, a poet and a heart for the ages.
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Bento’s Sketchbook

John Berger
A reflection by one great lens-grinding thinker and revolutionary humanist on another: John Berger—our contemporary—writes on Benedict Spinoza, the 17th century philosopher so influential for the Enlightenment, but he also writes on drawing, on living, on life, and on living life now. For those not familiar with one or both, this is a great introduction to the company of two seminal souls.

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The Complete Essays

Michel de Montaigne
Should, in my humble opinion, replace Gideon in hotel bedside tables the world over. An examination of what it means to be alive, an essay for every possible constituent part of the human experience, built upon the endearing and radically joyous motto “what do I know?” An uplifting and companionable fellow traveler for us all. A timely reminder of how toxic doubtlessness can be. Straight from the 16th century into the now. Forever and ever.
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The Driver's Seat

Muriel Spark
Completely sick. In all the right ways.
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Ring of Bright Water

Gavin Maxwell
One of the greatest Scottish writers, probably the most affecting prose witness to the unique spirit of the Highland wilderness there has ever been. This book, chronicling life lived with otters on the remote west coast of Scotland, was made into a classic children’s film by Disney in the sixties, but the book has depths and breadth untapped by the movie. Our Walden of the Hebrides. Beautiful.
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Love In a Cold Climate

Nancy Mitford
Lady Montdore: one of the greatest creations in English literature. Uncle Matthew: another. Cedric: yet another. The dottiness and passions of the English aristocracy pretty much nailed in one.
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The Collected Poems of Norman MacCaig

Norman MacCaig
Scotland’s preeminent poet both of the mountain and of the capital’s pavement. Doubleness is a Scottish art: the Passion and The Calvinism, the west and the east. The highlands and the lowlands. MacCaig embraces this split with true affection and verve (See also: The Strange Tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson…)
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Auntie Mame

Patrick Dennis
Mame: who did you ever dream of being adopted by??
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A Time of Gifts

Patrick Leigh Fermor
For anybody who has ever fantasized about walking across Europe with a back pack - aged 18 in the 1930s. Written by a great writer and a proper hero amongst men.
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Great Expectations

Charles Dickens
Faces you will never forget: and a lesson to treasure all your life: be prepared to be surprised... Cherish life as it finds you. And love Joe Gargery with all your heart.
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