75 Reads

75 Reads

Jo Bozarth and April Bowlby host the 75 Reads podcast / book club hybrid. We're reading the books that inspired the people who inspire you! Season 1 - David Bowie's reading list. Which songs were inspired by these books? Where is Bowie in the characters? Which of his songs would you pair with each read? What better way to get to know someone than by perusing his book case? Join us!... Show More

Episodes

March 17, 2020

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark is our latest read, and our last read before we take a few weeks off for spring break. One of us loved this book, and one of us really and truly did not, and that’s what makes for a fun book club chat!

Miss Brody is a progressive teacher at a rather formal and traditional girls’ school, who’s girls (the Brodie set) are being groomed to be the “crème de la crème. “ She’s in her prime, sh...

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One day in the early 1940s Douglas Harding, an English architect, was hiking in the Himalayas when he had a shocking realization…he had no head. He realized that we can’t see what he called the eight inch ball on the top of our body, except by looking at a photo or a reflection in a mirror. If we cannot see ourselves the way other people see us, how do we know who we are?

At the moment he realized this, all sense of time past and f...

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Silence by John Cage is a collection of lectures and stories. Some are written in vertical columns. Some have, let’s call it interesting, spacing. And some, as Cage will tell you, have piano accompaniments, street noises, and the like. There was a lecture where he gave himself one minute to tell each story. So if the story had three lines, he had to stretch it. If a story was long, he’d have to talk fast to fit it into a minute. Th...

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A “monkey girl”, sleepless people (one named David Jones - not our David Jones), water diviners, an author who was a channeled spirit, psychic detectives, and so many more “Strange People”. This collection of stories relayed by Frank Edwards will entertain, will make you wonder, and will sometimes tug at your heart. 

Perhaps the most heart wrenching story, and the story with the biggest Bowie connection, is that of Joseph Merrick, ...

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To start with, Laing states that the basic purpose of this book is to make madness, and the process of going mad, comprehensible.

The full title is The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness. Okay, what’s the definition of existentialism? It’s a philosophical movement that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for making meaningful, authentic choices in a universe seen a...

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If you follow us on Twitter you know that we’re reviewing All The Emperor’s Horses in one episode. And you know that this read is also found under the title Peking Story, which is the newer version with a chapter added at the end, which was written years after the original story was told. Intrigued? You should be!

The Emperor’s Horses is the story of a young American teaching and studying in China. He marries into the aristocratic ...

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October 22, 2019 22 min

We typically split our reads in half and record two episodes per book here on the pod, but Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse was such a quick read that we felt one episode would do the job.

The story is in the title, Billy is a liar. He’s a 19 year old who is living at home with his parents and grandmother, working at a job he hates, dreaming of being a comedy writer. Even though this book was published in 1959, it sounds like your ty...

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We’re wrapping up The Leopard, so you may wonder, “What the heck is that animal in the photo? It doesn’t look like a leopard.” You would be correct! It is, in fact, not a leopard. It is a serval. A much smaller feline, it is the symbol on the Tomasi di Lampedusa coat of arms. One of the serval’s few North African ranges is near Lampedusa. And, servals were (not very commonly) owned by some Sicillians as exotic pets. But, we suppose...

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The Leopard, by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, is an historical fiction novel centered around Prince Fabrizio (the leopard) and a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy in 1860 that is threatened by the forces of democracy and revolution. One of us swooned over The Leopard, and one of us chuckled, but by the end of the first half we were both looking forward to the rest of the book. Listen to find out why!

(Oh, and here’s a fun tid bit: The ...

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We’re wrapping up our journey with Sal and the gang with the second half of On The Road by Jack Kerouac. And we are a house divided. One of us liked it, one of us not so much. There were some beautiful life lessons, mostly learned by watching the supporting characters, the jazz musicians and the people encountered on the Mexico trip. Did we continue to see Bowie in the book? Mmmm, not really. Does the book hold up today? Well, geog...

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We’re going On The Road with Bowie as we read Jack Kerouac’s classic. And in some very specific instances, we did feel we were seeing a Bowie connection in one of the characters. For us, in the first part of the book, it was Dean, and we'll tell you why. Did you see it, too?? And we imagined another friend of Bowie’s as we traveled through the pages of this book, as well. We’ve also taken the liberty of suggesting a few songs t...

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We’re wrapping up The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, and yes, there are more case studies. Loads of them. And they’re actually quite interesting, but to inject a little fun into the second half of our discussion, we’ve decided to try something new. We’re playing a little game called, “Is This Still True Today?” If you play along, tweet us some of your answers and let’s discuss! You can find us on Twitter and Insta @75reads...

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We’re diving in to The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, an examination of how our thoughts and feelings are manipulated by advertisers and media. The book was first published in 1957 and is chock-full of case studies that took place in the 1950s. Yes, it’s dated. And yes, some of the phrasing makes us want to punch the author in the face, but the book does show how the manipulation of the American consumer began. The book cites ...

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We’re wrapping up A Grave For A Dolphin discussing some of the most beautiful and heart wrenching love stories we’ve come across. There’s the tale of young Hassib who is the most tragic character in a true love story we have ever read. From the book: “I had always thought that ‘to love to distraction’ was an idiomatic expression: an unlettered ragamuffin fourteen years old had taught me that it can also literally be true.”

And ther...

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Ten year old Alberto Denti di Pirajno met a man at a retirement party he attended with his mother who was celebrating fifty years of making Punchinello’s noses. Fifty years at this job. Making puppet noses day in and day out. Unimaginable! The author thinks perhaps this was partially at the root of his wander lust.

Alberto grew up to become a doctor, and the material for A Grave For A Dolphin came from his experience as a doctor an...

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We continue riding on Joe’s emotional rollercoaster. There’s true love. There’s loss. There are affairs and fights. And, some of the things that Joe says has us wondering if maybe we hate him. But, he knows who he is. He calls himself out on his flaws. He’s human. So maybe we still love him a little bit. One thing we’re both sure of is that we absolutely, positively love this book. We cannot recommend it enough! Listen to the episo...

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Okay, we know we said that our previous read was our favorite yet. Let’s just say that Room At The Top is our favorite fiction book on the list thus far. And a Bowie character clearly comes to mind while reading this book! Clearly. We see him in several of the characters actually, especially the protagonist, Joe. Which Bowie persona do we see? The Thin White Duke. He's everywhere in this book. Would love to know if you agree. T...

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What can we say? This is our favorite book, yet! By the end of The Outsider, we felt as though we could almost see Bowie’s thought process as he read it.

In part two of the book, we were introduced to more Outsiders, some of whom seemed to have it a little more together than the Outsiders from the first half of the book. And we formed an opinion about what type of Outsider we think Bowie might have been. Our conclusion was definite...

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At first we didn’t get it, then we got it…in a big way. There are bits of this book that feel very Bowie. In so many interviews, we can see that part of his genius was that he was always searching. So are the various types of Outsiders described in this book. Which type of Outsider was Bowie? Was he, in fact, an Outsider? Are you? Join us as we begin to figure it all out. www.75reads.com

 

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If you listened to our last episode you know that, while we knew ol’ Humbert Humbert was a horrible human being, we still found him humorous and quite sharp. Well friends, in part two H.H. has lost his charm. We see him for what he is, an incredibly cruel, horribly narcissistic pedophile.

Of course, one of the best death scenes ever written occurs at the end of this book. It alone makes part two worth the read.

Join us as we wrap u...

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