Carrie Brownstein’s Reading List: How Many Have You Read?

by Hanna Lustig

Our love for Carrie Brownstein burns brighter with each passing day. She’s a Sleater Kinney band member, an actress, a feminist, a former BUST cover girl, and a total bookworm. I even have proof! (And more proof! Further proof! Proof beyond the shadow of a doubt!). 

So it makes sense she’d curate a reading list for One Grand, a bookstore-inspired project by Aaron Hicklin. Believing staff picks are always “the best part of bookstores,” Hicklin asked scads of people he admires – the likes of Tilda Swinton, Annie Lennox, Ryan McGinley, Sarah Waters, and Ta-Nehisi Coates ­– to name the ten books they couldn’t live without, should they be stranded on a deserted island. Those titles are currently available at the One Grand pop-up inside Whisper Editions on Fulton Street until the end of August, but come fall, Hicklin will also have a One Grand bookstore in Narrowsburg, NY.

The books a person loves, Hicklin explained, are like “signposts” through our lives and if annotated, they become a “biography” of the person themselves. Carrie’s memoir Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl happens to be rolling out October 27th, but you can peruse Carrie’s desert island summer reading list now. Hicklin shared the Grand lists with T Magazine, and they’re releasing them one at a time, starting with hers. What luck! 

“The Devil Finds Work,” James Baldwin

“Baldwin is one of my favorite writers and cultural critics. His work always feels both relevant and revelatory. This book-long essay on film and moviegoing is part memoir, part homage to cinema, and also an exploration of the ways corrosive ideas seep into the collective imagination.”

“Collected Poems,” Philip Larkin
“‘On me your voice falls as they say love should, / Like an enormous yes’ (‘For Sidney Bechet’). Such spare and soaring prose to examine stunted, anxious lives.”

“Birds of America,” Lorrie Moore
“Moore is one of the best short story writers of all time. She is a strange, wondrous and occasionally unmerciful storyteller while also being incredibly profound.”

“The Waves,” Virginia Woolf
“An impressionistic, experimental novel that is filled with an immense and delicate beauty. Told in soliloquies, the book explores a vast and tender interior landscape.”

“The Professor and the Madman,” Simon Winchester
“One of my favorite history books. It’s a story about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary and of an epistolary and academic friendship between two men, one of whom (unbeknownst to the other) was an inmate at an insane asylum.”

“Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” Joan Didion
“A seminal book of essays. A meditation on the mythologies of the West and on America itself. Trenchant, prescient, timeless.”

“We the Animals,” Justin Torres
“Ruminations on family, brotherhood, and the ways we are simultaneously — sometimes devastatingly — both different and similar to our kin.”

“Ballad of the Sad Café,” Carson McCullers
“‘The most outlandish people can be a stimulus for love.’ A Southern Gothic novella on the eccentricities and vicissitudes of the heart.”

“Other Voices, Other Rooms,” Truman Capote
“A dizzying, almost surreal bildungsroman about a search for a familial love that is just shy of non-existent.”

“The Argonauts,” Maggie Nelson
“One of my favorite books of the last few years. It’s both a memoir and an ontological exploration. In some ways, this book is a life-changer in that it posits new spheres of both being and togetherness.”

Image by Ramona Rosales for BUST

Read more at 

Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker Answer Hard Questions From Teenagers

Carrie Brownstein Understands All Your Feelings

The Broad City Sleater-Kinney Interview Is Everything

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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