Books galore! DIY’s 2024 Reading List

As chosen by a bunch of bookworm DIY regulars, including The Last Dinner Party, Bob Vylan, Big Joanie and more.

It’s probably no surprise that we’re avid readers here at DIY, but we reckon a collective new year’s resolution to expand our bookshelves isn’t a bad shout. And who better to recommend some titles than a load of our fave artists?

From Bob Vylan to Big Joanie, Speedy Ortiz to Antony Szmierek - here’s our music-lovers guide on what books you need to add to your reading pile in 2024.

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Chosen by: Abigail Morris, The Last Dinner Party

This is one of two that have been in my rotation since we’ve been on tour. It’s this insane Western Bible; he writes incredibly grim - but incredible - Old Testament character studies.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Ain’t I A Woman by bell hooks

Chosen by: Bobby Vylan, Bob Vylan

An incredibly detailed study on the effects of racism and sexism on Black women.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Chosen by: Antony Szmierek

It manages to juggle both humour and existentialism in the most accessible and least pretentious way possible. Impossibly sharp and witty. So good I named a song after it.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Penguin Science Fiction, edited by Brian Aldiss

Chosen by: Lily Fontaine, English Teacher

Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell and Command Performance by Walter M. Miller are my favourites from the collection - both lean away from the more space-war side of the genre and towards questions of existence, leaving the reader without closure but thoroughly satisfied in entertainment and inspiration.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park

Chosen by: Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz

It’s a feat of a novel which uses its converging narratives and massive research scope to touch on Korean history, American sci-fi, Buffalo hockey, literary resentments, and so many more miraculously intersecting threads - some true, some imagined. An ambitious and absorbing universe of its own, akin to the best of Bolaño or Pynchon.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

Chosen by: Estella Adeyeri, Big Joanie

It’s a book full of dark humour, a variety of villains, revenge and rooting for the anti-hero. For fans of thrillers, family drama and scheming!

DIY's 2024 Reading List

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Chosen by: Bill Ryder-Jones

I love how you spend much of the reading of this novel wondering what the wasp factory is. By the time you find out you’ve actually become so involved in the story that you’ve forgotten you needed to know.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

This Must be the Place by Jesse Rifkin

Chosen by: Ben Hozie, BODEGA

This 2023 book is a history of downtown (and north Brooklyn) NYC music venues, scenes, neighbourhoods, and gentrification. It starts with the Greenwich Village folk movement and hits many familiar beats (Max’s Kansas City, Paradise Garage, CBGB’s, A7, Danceteria, etc.) but refreshingly emphasises the economics and real estate realities behind key musical movements instead of focusing on key heroic figures. This is a hard recommendation for everybody out there who is making a scene today.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Cold Water Eden by Richie Fitzgerald

Chosen by: Colm O’Reilly, Sprints

It tells the story of Ireland’s first pro surfer - coming from humble beginnings in Bundoran on the west coast, to surfing some of the biggest waves ever surfed in history. Self-taught when there were only whispers of surfing in Europe and putting this small island on the map.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Chosen by: Joni Samuels and Karsten van der Tol, Fräulein

Octavia’s ability to build worlds and relationships between characters is unlike any other we’ve come across. And with her centring of other Black women as protagonists in the sci-fi genre, she writes some of the most beautiful, poignant and striking stories that we’ve ever read. Parable of the Sower is a story of a displaced young woman trying to recreate community on an Earth that’s being destroyed by climate change and social inequality. It’s a great entry into this author, and feels really relevant to today.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Chosen by: UPSAHL

This book is hot and sexy and sad and heartbreaking all in one. The kind of book that had me waking up in the middle of the night just to keep reading it.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Embrace Fearlessly The Burning World by Barry Lopez

Chosen by: Felix Mackenzie Barrow, Divorce

I came across Barry Lopez’s work in the winter of 2020, just a month before he died. This posthumous collection of some of his essays moved me deeply with their vital clarity, their urgent wisdom and the love in their descriptions of the multiplicity of human life and the natural world.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Y/N by Esther Yi

Chosen by: Nuha Ruby Ra

It’s a hallucinatory account of fan fiction and deep fan obsession that’s firmly unrooted from reality. I enjoy surrealism in writing and this book has quite a special brand of poetic surrealism in some of the dialogue. It’s fandom to nihilistic extremes. Based on the agonising world of K pop fandom.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Brian by Jeremy Cooper

Chosen by: Paul Smith, Maximo Park

It’s a deceptively simple story about a solitary man whose life is enriched by nightly visits to the BFI cinema, subtly revealing the power of art and community.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Cloven Country: The Devil and the English Landscape by Jeremy Harte

Chosen by: Sean Harper, Folly Group

It’s about England’s - to quote the press release - “deceptively bucolic rolling hills”, and why so many of them are named after the Devil himself. Unsurprisingly, the answer always stems from one piece of folklore or another. It’s not a dark read, though. The Devil of English folklore is basically an idiot. Anyway, it really encourages me to learn more about my surroundings, particularly in my native Devon, and I’m sure it would do the same for anyone.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

Chosen by: Andy Bell, Ride

It’s a history book, and as I never learned any of this stuff in school, it’s incredibly interesting hearing about how different empires have ruled much of the world at different times, and how it all plays into current world affairs.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Chosen by: Albert Haddenham, KEG

This is a firm favourite in the KEG household. A great jape about friendship, boozing, stealing your friend’s trousers and selling them back to them.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Faith, Hope and Carnage by Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan

Chosen by: Hannah Joy, Middle Kids

This is a conversation turned into a book and it is such a privilege to be able to hear from Nick Cave at length in this way. He is an artist dripped in wisdom and love and grief and courage. Truly I have been so bolstered by his story!

DIY's 2024 Reading List

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Chosen by: Sean Murphy O’Neill, Courting

I just love how the writing flows so interestingly and keeps you on your toes without ever trying to mislead you.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Chosen by: Nate Amos, Water From Your Eyes

Picked up a copy of The Road at a goodwill on tour - I’d forgotten how much I love his writing style, I think I blew through it in two drives. Unconditional love in the face of it all.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

All the Devils Are Here by David Seabrook

Chosen by: Harrison Charles, Blue Bendy

A deranged biography of place where the Kent coastline is a character insipidly burying madness into its inhabitants. Seabrook writes about fascist Oswald Moseley to poet T. S. Eliot (on the verge of a breakdown setting down the first lines of The Waste Land); there’s relentlessly drunk Carry On star Charles Hawtree leading on from the insane, murdering artist Richard Dadd. It’s all written by an author infected by his subject’s madness. He’s watching over his shoulder, in danger himself. The past reflecting the present. We read him narrating his own exile. The book, a premonition. Seabrook died under mysterious circumstances after its publication. A book whose subject reflects its author in the strangest and most disturbing of ways.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Chosen by: Helena Deland

I was surprised by how funny Middlemarch is, and I value the insight it offered on Victorian society at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. Reading about previous generations’ discomfort in the face of change is fascinating at a time when we are constantly called to adjust. The love stories and inheritance drama makes it read like a page-turner.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Chosen by: Etienne Quartey-Papafio, Whitelands

Our debut album is named after a quote from the book - to be revealed soon! - as well as having our recent single ‘The Prophet and I’ referencing it. It’s a beautiful book that romanticises the human experience through its pain, its joys and the mundane. It’s a book that can really inspire grounding without being nihilistic. A guidebook unto how a human can be… human.

DIY's 2024 Reading List

Tags: Antony Szmierek, Big Joanie, Bill Ryder-Jones, Blue Bendy, Bob Vylan, BODEGA, Courting, Divorce, English Teacher, Folly Group, Fräulein, Helena Deland, Keg, Maxïmo Park, Middle Kids, Nuha Ruby Ra, Ride, Speedy Ortiz, Sprints, The Last Dinner Party, UPSAHL, Water From Your Eyes, Whitelands, Features

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