Experts > Greil Marcus

Greil Marcus's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Greil Marcus recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Greil Marcus's favorite book recommendations of all time.



In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us—with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that’s all his own—how we really (no, really) live now.

In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the...
Recommended by Greil Marcus, and 1 others.

Greil MarcusThis is a new book by a writer in his mid-thirties, about all kinds of things. A lot of it is about the South, some of it is autobiographical, there is a long and quite wonderful piece about going to a Christian music camp. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Bestselling author Jonathan Lethem delivers a hilarious novel about love, art, and what it's like to be young in Los Angeles. Lucinda Hoekke's daytime gig as a telephone operator at the Complaint Line—an art gallery's high-minded installation piece—is about as exciting as listening to dead air. Her real passion is playing bass in her forever struggling, forever unnamed band. But recently a frequent caller, the Complainer, as Lucinda dubs him, has captivated her with his philosophical musings. When Lucinda's band begins to incorporate the Complainer's catchy, existential phrases into their... more
Recommended by Greil Marcus, and 1 others.

Greil MarcusThis is a short novel that Jonathan Lethem published a few years ago about a bunch of young people who form a band in Los Angeles. They’re writing songs and trying to rehearse. In the course of the book, before the band breaks up, they play maybe three times – once at a radio show, once at a party and one other time. That’s their whole performing career. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Funny, poignant, and totally original--this story of one girl's love affair with the Bay City Rollers is a brilliant portrait of an era.

'I loved them desperately. For four years I lived for them. It's not a pretty story.'

Bye, Bye Baby is the true tale of a passionate obsession with possibly the most untalented bunch of musicians in the history of rock and roll. Even in their heyday, Leslie, Eric, Woody, Alan, and Derek of the Bay City Rollers were hideously uncool among everyone but fourteen-year-old girls. Their tartan knickerbockers and striped socks...
Recommended by Greil Marcus, and 1 others.

Greil MarcusCaroline Sullivan is an American woman who became a completely obsessive fan of the Bay City Rollers, a Scottish group that dressed in all tartan costumes in the early to mid-seventies and were momentarily huge…is a hilarious and entertaining book about crazy fandom. It’s completely gripping and what it comes down to is: Will she ever sleep with one of them? (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Here is the book that Rolling Stone called "the first Doors biography that feels like it was written for the right reasons, and it is easily the most informed account of the Doors' brief but brilliant life as a group". less
Recommended by Greil Marcus, and 1 others.

Greil MarcusJohn Densmore was a drummer for The Doors, a band from Los Angeles of enormous depth and popularity in the late sixties. Their music has never been off the radio in 40 years. You may hear more Doors on the radio today than 20 or even 40 years ago. The staying power of their music is quite remarkable. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...



Volume One

"I'd come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else." So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career.

Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities -- smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are...
Recommended by Bill Gurley, Greil Marcus, and 2 others.

Greil MarcusDylan has had a career of extraordinary richness and variety. Yet here he is writing a memoir that completely ignores everything which made him a world figure. It ignores all of his most famous songs, it ignores all the periods in which he was a great star. It’s all about times when he was trying to learn, when he was confused and lost but absolutely alive with the thrill of discovering new... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read Greil Marcus's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.