Phoebe Bridgers' Favorite Books Are Just As Atmospheric And Moody As Her Music

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Whether reading for pleasure or learning, picking up a good book is a great pastime — and one that's keenly personal. Someone's taste in books can tell you so much about their inner lives and interests, illuminating facets of their personality that you may never have seen otherwise. For instance, who would have guessed that Amy Poehler's favorite reads are shockingly dramatic?


Even from heartfelt artists like Phoebe Bridgers, who regularly pours her truths and troubles into her songs, book recommendations are like a window into the soul. What kind of literature appeals to a tortured poet? Stories of loss? A dose of magical realism? Modern-day epics?

Phoebe Bridgers' music can be complex and unexpected, much like the woman herself — and, as it turns out, her varied taste in literature. The "Motion Sickness" singer gave an overview of her most-loved books to One Grand, a unique bookseller that shares curated reading lists from influential thinkers, artists, and celebrities. Looking over her selections, it turns out that Bridgers' favorite reads include a diverse and atmospheric array of fiction, self-development books, fantasy, and even a little practical witchery — in other words, just what you'd expect from the dark, introspective performer.


The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Let's be honest: We're all just trying to get by and be our best selves, whether that means improving our emotional maturity or reaching for self-help books to help jumpstart our careers. Even artists like Phoebe Bridgers are looking for growth and answers, and the "Scott Street" singer includes a self-development book among her must-reads.


"The Body Keeps the Score" by Dutch psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk is a deep dive into the real effects trauma has on us, from its impact on our physical bodies to the way it shapes our thought patterns. Better yet, it explores our potential to heal through therapy and self-understanding. "People have been trying to get me to read this book my entire life," Bridgers confessed to One Grand. "I hate when people think I will like something. Especially when that thing is about trauma and mental illness. But I finally read it at the beginning of this year, and I can't believe I made it this far without it."

It's no wonder that Bridgers has been inundated with recommendations. "The Body Keeps the Score" is massively popular, boasting a 4.8-star rating from more than 74,000 ratings on Amazon. Bridgers' one caveat echoes that of other readers: that going through this book can be triggering. "It is sort of traumatizing in itself," Bridgers said, "But it inspired me to finally set up a session with a good therapist."


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

With its undeniable status as a global phenomenon, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" probably has a place among many people's favorite books. The imagination, escapism, and relatability of Rowling's wizarding world make it one that many readers love to revisit time and time again. For Phoebe Bridgers, it also holds a special place as a childhood favorite. As she told One Grand, it was "the first book I ever really wanted to read on my own. I spent hours as a kid staring at different stuff in my room, trying to make something levitate."


Considering the air of mystery behind many of her songs, it's no surprise that Bridgers would value a little magic in her reading materials. Bridgers explained the lasting impact that "Harry Potter" has had on her life and point of view, even into adulthood. "To this day, when most people would reference the Bible to make a point about morality or whatever, instead of Judas or Jesus, I'm more likely to bring up Snape or Sirius. When I miss home on tour and can't get to sleep, I listen to the audiobooks." Referencing the narrator of a popular audio adaptation, she added, "My inner monologue is narrated by Jim Dale."

Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea

Phoebe Bridgers may not have managed to levitate anything in her childhood bedroom, but that doesn't mean that she's sworn off magic entirely. Instead, she turned her attention to practices like tarot reading. Of course, whether you're trying to learn the major arcana or understand what the different tarot suits represent, it's a process that takes a lot of time and study.


However, rote memorization can be a tough ask for such an intuitive practice — a burden with which Bridgers has apparently struggled. "I've loved tarot since I was a kid, but learning to read it has always seemed like a chore. And tarot books for the most part are just super boring," Bridgers told One Grand. So, what's a budding spiritualist to do? The "I Know the End" singer offers a solution in one of her favorite reads, "Modern Tarot" by Michelle Tea. "I love this book," Bridgers gushed. "Michelle Tea is a queer witch poet and author who does an incredible job of humanizing every card."

With the moody, evocative vibes of her music, it seems like a natural fit to imagine Bridgers with a tarot deck in hand. In fact, tarot — and this reference book, in particular — are so in Bridgers' wheelhouse that she carries them to work. As she recounted, "I brought it to the studio to kill time with my band between takes, and most of them bought copies."


Tenth of December by George Saunders

For anyone seeking a book that's impactful without requiring a hefty time commitment, Phoebe Bridgers' top picks also include a collection of award-winning short stories. "Tenth of December" by George Saunders takes a deep dive into the human experience, telling tales from all walks of life — from an ex-soldier struggling to find his place as a civilian and a suicidal cancer patient to a conflicted young boy who witnesses a kidnapping. Less about sweeping plots and more about the intimate details of existence, Saunders' short stories ruminate on love and death — and morality and society.


This kind of deep thought seems right in line with Phoebe Bridgers' own artistic sensibility, though she confessed awe at the way George Saunders carries out his vision. "The kind of book you finish and walk around in a weird fog for a couple days," Bridgers told One Grand. "The coolest thing to me about George Saunders is his ability to create wildly different characters and make you empathize with each one. As someone who writes pretty much exclusively from my own perspective, this is a mysterious gift."

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In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

"Harry Potter" may have been a childhood favorite, but it's not the only kid-friendly book to make Phoebe Bridgers' list of influential reads. Hearkening back even further, Bridgers cited her formative experiences with Maurice Sendak's surreal picture book, "In the Night Kitchen." In this story, Sendak — who also authored the popular "Where the Wild Things Are" — lets readers follow a boy named Mickey on his uncanny journey through a late-night cityscape, where he must escape being baked into a cake.


"Reading this with my parents is one of my earliest memories. I remember being fascinated by the naked body of a boy covered in dough. Probably the first penis I ever saw," Bridgers recalled to One Grand. Reflecting on her favorite bit of the tale, Bridgers said, "I remember he makes a plane out of dough to get milk, and the best line by far is when he falls in, 'I'm in the milk and the milk's in me.'" This book, like much of Sendak's work, has a strange sensibility — a dreamy abruptness and lack of logic that somehow captures the wild imaginings of childhood perfectly. In that sense, this pick makes a lot of sense for Bridgers, dovetailing with the often ethereal quality of her music.