Patti Smith, writer, performer, and visual artist, gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. Her books include Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award in 2010, Witt, Babel, and more. So what does this "punk poet laureate" read? Find out below in our latest Author's Bookshelf! Shop:
  1. A Happy Death by Albert Camus
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    A Happy Death was the first novel by French writer-philosopher Albert Camus. The existentialist topic of the book is the "will to happiness," the conscious creation of one's happiness, and the need of time to do so.
  2. The First Man by Albert Camus
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    The First Man is Albert Camus' unfinished final novel. On January 4, 1960, at the age of forty-six, Camus was killed in a car accident in the Luberon area in southern France.
  3. Astragal by Albertine Sarrizan, (Preface) Patti Smith
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    As alive as a Godard movie, this lost classic of ’60s French literature is back. As if the reader were riding shotgun, this intensely vivid novel captures a life on the lam. “L’astragale” is the French word for the ankle bone Albertine Sarrazin’s heroine Anne breaks as she leaps from her jail cell to freedom.
  4. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
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    "Howl" is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955, published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled Howl and Other Poems, and dedicated to Carl Solomon. Ginsberg began work on "Howl" as early as 1954.
  5. The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Antonio Tabucchi
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    The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro is a 1997 crime novel by the Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi. It is set in Porto, Portugal, and follows a murder investigation after a headless body has been found.
  6. A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud, (Preface) Patti Smith
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    A Season in Hell is an extended poem in prose written and published in 1873 by French writer Arthur Rimbaud. It is the only work that was published by Rimbaud himself.
  7. The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace
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    An enchantingly imagined romance inspired by the true story of the typewriter's invention. Carolina Fantoni, a young contessa in nineteenth-century Italy, is going blind.
  8. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
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    The Adventures of Pinocchio is a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi, written in Florence. The first half was originally a serial in 1881 and 1882, and then later completed as a book for children in February 1883.
  9. An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by Cesar Aira
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    An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by César Aira was first published in 2000. Chris Andrews’ English translation was published by New Directions in 2006.
  10. The Musical Brain by Cesar Aira
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    The Musical Brain & Other Stories consists of twenty stories about oddballs, freaks, and crazy people from the writer The New York Review of Books calls “the novelist who can't be stopped.”
  11. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
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    After an unspecified family disaster, the protagonist Lucy Snowe travels from England to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette to teach at a girls' school, where she is drawn into adventure and romance.
  12. Agua Viva by Clarice Lispector
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    In 1973, Lispector published the novel Água Viva. The book is an interior monologue with an unnamed first person narrator to an unnamed "you," and has been described as having a musical quality, with the frequent return of certain passages.
  13. Wittgenstein’s Poker by David Edmonds, John Eidenow
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    Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers is a 2001 book by BBC journalists David Edmonds and John Eidinow about events in the history of philosophy involving Sir Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein, leading to a confrontation at the Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club in 1946.
  14. Men of Mathematics by E.T. Bell
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    Men of Mathematics: The Lives and Achievements of the Great Mathematicians from Zeno to Poincare is a book on the history of mathematics published in 1937 by Scottish-born American mathematician and science fiction writer E. T. Bell.
  15. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
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    The story of unfortunate lovers Heathcliff and Cathy who, despite a deep affection for one another, are forced by circumstance and prejudice to live their apart.
  16. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
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    Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938 and later adapted for film in 1947 and 2010. The novel is a murder thriller set in 1930s Brighton.
  17. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
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    At the Mountains of Madness is a novella by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in February/March 1931 and rejected that year by Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright on the grounds of its length.
  18. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
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    Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.
  19. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll
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    The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, Or: How Violence Develops and Where It Can Lead was written by Heinrich Boll, one of Germany's most prolific postwar writers. In this novel he tells the story of pretty, bright, young Katharina Blum, who becomes the center of intrigue with a big city newspaper when at a carnival party she falls in love with a young radical lawbreaker.
  20. The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell
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    After killing a man in the line of duty, Kurt Wallander resolves to quit the Ystad police. However, a bizarre case gets under his skin
  21. The Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell
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    When retired policeman Herbert Molin is found brutally slaughtered on his remote farm in the northern forests of Sweden, police find strange tracks in the snow — as if someone had been practicing the tango. Stefan Lindman, a young police officer recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, decides to investigate the murder of his former colleague, but is soon enmeshed in a mystifying case with no witnesses and no apparent motives.
  22. The Death of Virgil by Herman Broch
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    It is the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and Publius Vergilius Maro, the poet of the Aeneid and Caesar's enchanter, has been summoned to the palace, where he will shortly die. Out of the last hours of Virgil's life and the final stirrings of his consciousness, the Austrian writer Hermann Broch fashioned one of the great works of twentieth-century modernism, a book that embraces an entire world and renders it with an immediacy that is at once sensual and profound.
  23. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
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    A sailor called Ishmael narrates the monomaniacal quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, a white whale which on a previous voyage destroyed Ahab's ship and severed his leg at the knee. Although the novel was a commercial failure and out of print at the time of the author's death in 1891, its reputation as a Great American Novel grew during the 20th century.
  24. Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse
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    Journey to the East is written from the point of view of a man (in the book called "H. H.") who becomes a member of "The League", a timeless religious sect whose members include famous fictional and real characters. A branch of the group goes on a pilgrimage to "the East" in search of the "ultimate Truth".
  25. The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
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    Set in the 23rd century, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).
  26. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J.D. Salinger
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    Like many of the other Glass family stories, Raise High is narrated by Buddy Glass, the second of the Glass brothers. It describes Buddy's visit on Army leave (during World War II, in 1942) to attend the wedding of his brother Seymour to Muriel and tells of the aftermath when Seymour fails to show.
  27. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
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    Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up or Peter and Wendy is J. M. Barrie's most famous work, in the form of a 1904 play and a 1911 novel.
  28. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
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    A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines is a book by Janna Levin which contrasts fictionalized accounts of the lives and ideas of Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing.
  29. Children of the Game by Jean Cocteau
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    It concerns two siblings, Elisabeth and Paul, who isolate themselves from the world as they grow up; this isolation is shattered by the stresses of their adolescence.
  30. The Thief’s Journal by Jean Genet
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    The Thief's Journal is perhaps Jean Genet's most famous work. It is a part-fact, part-fiction autobiography that charts the author's progress through Europe in a curiously depoliticized 1930s.
  31. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
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    Heart of Darkness is a novella by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Marlow.
  32. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
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    The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.
  33. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by the English author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley about the young science student Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.
  34. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
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    The Master and Margarita is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, written between 1928 and 1940, but unpublished in book form until 1967. The story concerns a visit by the devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union.
  35. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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    Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
  36. Le Corbusier: The Architect on the Beach by Niklas Maak
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    An Atlas of Modern Landscapes examines Le Corbusier’s relationship with the topographies of five continents, in essays by thirty of the foremost scholars of his work.
  37. No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
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    No Longer Human is a Japanese novel by Osamu Dazai. Published after Run Melos and The Setting Sun, No Longer Human is considered Dazai's masterpiece and ranks as the second-best selling novel in Japan, behind Natsume Sōseki's Kokoro.
  38. The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde
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    The Happy Prince and Other Tales is a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde first published in May 1888.
  39. A Night of Serious Drinking by Rene Daumal
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    A Night of Serious Drinking (1938) is an allegorical novel by the French surrealist writer René Daumal detailing what is ostensibly an extremely simple plot in which the narrator overly imbibes alcohol; what unfolds however is a novel which explores the extremities of heaven and hell.
  40. Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson
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    Robert Bresson's Notes on the Cinematographer are working memos which the great French director made for his own use. In all of them, Bresson reflects with a craftsman's insight on techniques and their philosophical and aesthetic implications. Not surprisingly, these acute reflections will not only sharpen a filmmaker's sensibility but that of any artist in any medium. Bresson makes some quite radical distinctions between what he terms "cinematography" and something quite different: "cinema."
  41. A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
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    A Child's Garden of Verses is a collection of poetry for children by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. The collection first appeared in 1885 under the title Penny Whistles, but has been reprinted many times, often in illustrated versions.
  42. 2666 by Roberto Bolano
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    Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of SantaTeresa--a fictional Juárez--on the U.S.-Mexico border, w
  43. Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, (Introduction) Haruki Murakami
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    Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin Ryünosuke Akutagawa is one of Japan's foremost stylists—a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humour. "Rashömon"and "In a Bamboo Grove" inspired Kurosawa's magnificent film and depict a past in which morality is turned upside down, while tales such as "The Nose," "O-Gin" and "Loyalty" paint a rich and imaginative picture.
  44. Day Out of Days by Sam Shepard
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    Made up of short narratives, lyrics, and dialogues, Day out of Days sets conversation against tale, song against memory, in a cubistic counterpoint that finally links each piece together. The result is a stunning work of vision and clarity imbued with the vivid reverberations of myth—Shepard at his flinty-eyed, unwavering best.
  45. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
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    A brilliant collection of poetry by Sylvia Plath, one of America’s most famous and significant female authors. It is characterized by deep, psychological introspection paired with ambiguous scenes and narratives. This edition restores Plath’s selection and order of poems, eschewing her husband’s revisions in favour of the author’s pure, unmodified vision.
  46. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
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    Hans Castorp is 'a perfectly ordinary, if engaging young man' when he goes to visit his cousin in an exclusive sanatorium in the Swiss Alps.What should have been a three week trip turns into a seven year stay. Hans falls in love and becomes intoxicated with the ideas he hears at the clinic - ideas which will strain and crack apart in a world on the verge of the First World War.
  47. Nikolai Gogol by Vladimir Nabokov
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    ikolai Gogol was the most idiosyncratic of the great Russian novelists of the 19th century and lived a tragically short life which was as chaotic as the lives of the characters he created.
  48. After Nature by W.G. Sebald
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    A haunting vision of the waxing and waning tides of birth and devastation that lie behind and before us, it confirms the author’s position as one of the most profound and original writers of our time.
  49. Queer by William S. Burroughs
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    Set in Mexico City during the early 1950s, Queer follows William Lee's hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to bar in the American expatriate scene.
  50. Wild Boys by William S. Burroughs
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    The Wild Boys is a futuristic tale of global warfare in which a guerrilla gang of boys dedicated to freedom battles the organized armies of repressive police states.