Jarvis Cocker 3For the latest in our podcast series, recorded just before the Library building closed, we are delighted to welcome musician, broadcaster and editor Jarvis Cocker. 

Jarvis’s music career has spanned three decades, including major hits with the band Pulp, which he founded while still at school. A regular radio presenter he has also been involved in recent years with publishing house Faber & Faber and books and reading have always been part of Jarvis’s life.

For his podcast, Jarvis introduced five books that that have been particularly influential to him:

The first is Grimm’s Household Tales. For Jarvis there was something particularly appealing about the way the tales were collected rather than written from scratch.

In complete contrast is Richard Brautigan’s Sombrero Fallout, a chance find picked up in a secondhand book shop.

Jarvis’ next choice The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, made an equal impression as characters imagine their lives away from the drab world they inhabit, and find ways to relate and pour out their feelings.

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari “haunted me for quite a time”. Jarvis had chosen it on holiday “but it isn’t beach reading and it actually really frightened me”.

Jarvis’s final podcast choice is The Book of the Secrets by Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh. He had been fascinated by the lurid Netflix documentary The Wild, Wild Country - about the movement creating a lavish settlement in Oregon. But he was more intrigued about the unanswered question of why the movement was so popular and what it had to say about approaching the mental overstimulation of 21st century life.

During his podcast, Jarvis reflected on a visit he made to The London Library recently and comments on how discovery, chance finds and serendipity have always informed Jarvis’ reading and helped fire his imagination. His podcast gives a fascinating and highly absorbing insight into some of the books he has found along the way.

Listen here