I think it’s safe to say that the year 2016 is starting off a little more bitter than sweet. Not only has the winter weather showed up with a vengeance, but there have been several shocking and heartbreaking deaths already this new year. Though this tribute is predominately focusing on David Bowie and his love for reading, I’d like to first recognize a few other individuals who also recently passed away.
The most recent passing being of the great, English actor Alan Rickman, who passed away last Thursday (the 14th) of Pancreatic Cancer. Though my favorite role he played will Always be Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, he was famous for many of his other films including Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Love Actually, and of course, Die Hard. No one will ever forget his voice either.
On a more personal note, this next individual that passed away on Jan. 12th is being mentioned because his death was felt by everyone in the Butler Bulldog community – a community I am very much a part of as a proud alumna. At the young age of 25, former Butler basketball player Andrew Smith passed away after 2 tough years battling Cancer.
I could go on about the tough fight Andrew put up, how strong his wife was throughout the battle (and how strong she still is), and what he means to the school, but you’d be reading forever, and as Brad Stevens (former Butler coach-turned Celtics coach) said “it still wouldn’t do him justice.” But I’ll simply say that my thoughts go out to his family and friends, and summarize his character with a message sent out from the school – “He is, was, and always will be a Bulldog.”
Sorry to take it down a notch, but like all lives, these are worth mentioning and remembering.
For the last tribute, I’m going to recognize innovative English musician, David Bowie. Bowie passed away on January 10th, just 2 days after his birthday and the release of his latest album, “Blackstar.“
As sad as I am at his passing like many others, I will halt here on my tribute to Bowie because if you are a regular follower of the Library’s Off-the-Shelf blog, you have already seen the beautiful tribute written by Bryan on January 11th. If not, click here to check it out. Instead, I’d like to share a few of Bowie’s favorite books via the Wilson Collection.
Like music and art, Bowie enjoyed immersing himself in a book; it was one of his favorite forms of relaxation. When he toured or was filming a movie, he had a large collection of books with him always. And, he was also one of the first celebrities to pose for the American Library Association’s series of READ posters. For the 1987 edition, you can find Bowie jumping for joy (it appears) while he reads Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
If you haven’t already seen the many shared articles and Twitter feeds, a list of Bowie’s top 100 favorite books was released (unsure of when and by whom initially). Though I wish we had every single one of them in the Wilson Collection, I was at least happy to find a few.
Here are 3 of his favorites:
Author: Gustave Flaubert
Water-Color Illustrations by: Gunter Böhmer
- This is a tragic story about Emma Bovary, the wife of a doctor, who indulges in adulterous behavior to escape her provincial life. I say “tragic” because the story ends with Emma taking her own life due to unhappiness.
- This book is not only considered to be a masterpiece, but is also a seminal work of literary realism. It received strong backlash when it was first published due to its controversial content.
- This copy of the book is signed by well-known German-Swiss illustrator, Gunter Böhmer. Though he was also known as a talented painter and draftsman, he was best known for his stylistic book illustrations.
Author: Hart Crane
Photographs by: Richard Mead Benson
- It is a long poem with varying scope and style and was written as an ode to the Brooklyn Bridge and New York City.
- Though he traveled around to different cities while writing the poem, Crane also spent time in an apartment that overlooked the famed bridge. What Crane didn’t know when he was living there was that the designer of the bridge also stayed there during the bridge’s construction.
- The photographs taken for the LEC copy were by talented photographer, Richard Mead Benson – a longtime admirer of New York’s geographical beauty.
Author: Giuseppe di Lampedusa
32 Photographs from the film by: Giovan Battista Poletto
Arion Press: 2015
- The story is based on the life of the author’s grandfather, Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi, who was Prince of Lampedusa. It follows the life of a family during the Italian Risorgimento, or Resurgence.
- Published posthumously after several failed attempts, The Leopard eventually became the top-selling novel in Italian history after initial political attacks, and is now also considered to be one of the most important literary works in the modern Italian literature.
- The book was also made into a film, the same film that the 32 photographs were taken from.
If you’re interested in visiting the Wilson Collection, you’ll find it on the 3rd floor of the Downtown Library in the East Reading Room (between the Fine Arts department and Non-Fiction). The hours are the same as the Main Library hours. If you’d like a personal tour of the collection where you’d get to see the books up close and even get to look through them yourself, either respond to this blog post or call either of the following numbers:
(615)880-2356 – leave a message for Liz.