If you were American and in school during the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s, you would have seen the American Library Association’s series of promotional posters that paired a celebrity with his/her favorite book, and a simple command: READ. Need it be pointed out that the coolest of the batch, and one of the first to be shot for the series, was the one featuring David Bowie? (This also probably meant your librarian was cool too.)
The ALA continues to update the series with stars like Pharrell, Bella Thorne, and Octavia Spencer, but they also rereleased the Bowie poster in February in honor of the musician's passing the month before. Bowie looks like a teenager, dressed in his letterman jackets (from Canadian company Roots, by the way, still making such jackets). His pompadour is on point, not egregious like his Glass Spider Tour ‘do just around the corner. While other celebs in the series display their books like an award, he’s active, reading and jumping at the same time. (Not the best way to read, however.) And those bare feet (see the full poster here) are a nice touch, just a little bit of Bowie strangeness.
And though he’s reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, the book did not turn up on Bowie’s list of his 100 favorite books, printed in 2013. Perhaps it’s a reference to the album he co-wrote and produced with Iggy Pop?
You can buy your copy of the Bowie Read poster and support the ALA here. It costs $18 and measures 22" x 34."
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.