More to the Story: A.M. Homes

From the May/June 2006 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Behind every new book there is a stack of other books that directly—and sometimes indirectly or unconsciously—inspired its author. But writers do not live by words alone. In this occasional feature, we ask authors to list the movies, music, artwork, and, of course, the books that inspired, educated, or simply entertained them during the course of writing their new books. For this inaugural installment, we asked A.M. Homes, whose fifth novel was published by Viking last month, for her list. This Book Will Save Your Life is the story of a middle-aged divorcé in Los Angeles who has wrested so much control over his life that he needs no one. He is blissfully unaware of his isolation until two dramatic incidents force him to step outside his antiseptic lifestyle and confront the beautifully unpredictable reality of living in southern California.

The White Album (1979) by Joan Didion
White Noise (1985) by Don DeLillo
A Natural History of California (1992) by Allan A. Schoenherr
Shakey: Neil Young's Biography (2002) by Jimmy McDonough
Bodhi Tree Bookstore's catalogue

The White Album (1968) by the Beatles
Kind of Blue (1959) by Miles Davis
Blue (1971) by Joni Mitchell
"Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On" by Leonard Cohen, performed by David McComb and Adam Peters on I'm Your Fan (1991)
Surrealistic Pillow (1967) by Jefferson Airplane

Monterey Pop (1968), a documentary by D.A. Pennebaker

David Hockney's pool paintings
Ed Ruscha's California paintings
Man Ray's Los Angeles photographs