Lana is an American singer and song writer. Her music has been noted for its cinematic sound and its references to various aspects of pop culture, particularly that of the 1950’s and 1960’s Americana. Musically, she draws influence from what she deems to be the masters of each genre, including Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, Nirvana, Janis Joplin, Eminem and other artists. She has also a tendency to reference film noir and some of literature’s greatest quotes in her song lyrics. So it only makes sense that Lana fans need their own reading list for this summer. Here are 5 great books to add to your shelf, and that she heartily recommends.
1. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The words and style exuded from Nabokov’s infamous novel about a forbidden romance between a young girl and a much older man make up a great part of Lana’s persona. She begins “Off To The Races” with the beginning lines from the book, “Light of my life / fire of my loins…” The dynamic of younger, submissive woman with an older, dominant man is heavily characterized in her songs and videos.
2. Love Me Back – Merritt Tierce
“Love Me Back” is essentially Lana Del Rey’s entire persona in one novel. The electrifying debut by Merritt Tierce tells the story of Marie, a single mother working as a waitress in a high class Dallas steakhouse, who loses herself in sex and drugs and her desire to please her customers.
3. Leaves Of Grass – Walt Whitman
On Lana’s right forearm she has the name Vladimir Whitman tattooed in honor of her two favorite writers Vladimir Nabokov and Walt Whitman. The singer has been known to use her skin to make tributes of her favorite things with permanent and temporary tattoos. In “The Body Electric”, one of her darker tracks from Paradise, Lana alludes to Whitman’s famous 19th century poem “I Sing The Body Electric” from his collection “Leaves of Grass”. In the song she references the poet by singing, “Whitman is my daddy /Monaco’s my mother / Diamonds are my best friend…”
4. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
In an interview with GQ UK Lana gave her own book recommendation. “Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – that will help you. I’m listening to audio books now. I’ve actually been listening to newscasts on this new movement in biology of creating human life through synthetic chemical compounds. I couldn’t believe that was really happening,” she said.
5. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Although Lana hasn’t directly referenced Anthony Burgess’ words from “A Clockwork Orange” in her lyrics, her album title Ultraviolence and the song are taken from the book itself. The novel’s 15-year-old main character Alex and his friends engage in behavior they call “ultra-violence” and the theme of the book centers around ideas between good and evil, similar to the balance Lana’s female characters struggle with often as these women have no interest in pleasing the audience, but instead are messy, realistic portrayals of women in love.