It doesn’t sound like something that would be that interesting, in fact it doesn’t even sound like something that’s even real, more like some over-extended McSweeney’s bit, but the list of every book Art Garfunkel’s ever read, as highlighted in The New Yorker* this week, makes for compelling reading. It feels at once like endorsed voyeurism and a public record.
I quite like the idea that, should I run into Mr. Bright Eyes himself, I can now go in for a series of conversational gambits armed with the knowledge that we’ve read some of the same books. I’ve certainly not read as extensively or profoundly as Paul Simon’s afroed sometime nemesis/confidant but just knowing that we could rap about Mao II or Bonjour Tristesse whilst strolling through Greenwich Village together makes me feel h’alright.
In many ways, this list is a middle-aged man’s version and forerunner of things like MySpace and Facebook. This is the kind of transparency we could share with the notable and talented without feeling tawdry. I’d sooner leaf through a list of every film Paul McCartney’s ever seen than be confronted with the minutiae of his divorce, for example.
Other lists I’d like to see would be Brian Eno’s record collection, every film Cary Grant ever watched, and every restaurant Elvis ate in. Maybe these could replace the surfeit of badly thought through autobiographies knocking about?
*(Further to what the article states, Garf has read three biographies of Simon & Garfunkel, something which I find charmingly human.)