Dave Stewart

A songsmith traces his storytelling roots.



As one half of Eurythmics, Dave Stewart topped the charts throughout the '80s with songs that combined haunting melodies with crystalline, layered instrumentation, including "Sweet Dreams" and "Would I Lie to You?" He later wrote and produced a string of hits for rock royalty, including Mick Jagger, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, and Bon Jovi. Along the way, he cultivated a devoted fan base as a solo act. His new album, The Blackbird Diaries, is rooted in country and blues with guest appearances by Stevie Nicks and Martina McBride. This week he points us to three books from his childhood that still resonate.


Buy Dave Stewart's new album, The Blackbird Diaries


Music by Dave Stewart


Music by Dave Stewart with Eurythmics



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

By Lewis Carroll


"This book was one of the first books that completely blew my mind. It really made a lasting impression on me, and when I saw it as a BBC-TV adaptation, it was one of the first times I got really frightened, and in kind of a surreal way. You see all of these incredibly dark characters, and that imagery had a lasting impact on me. As I got older, I drew on the surrealism of this book when making music or videos; in fact I played the Caterpillar in a video of a song I wrote with Tom Petty called 'Don't Come Around Here No More.' "



Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens


"I come from the northeast of England, from a town that when I was growing up, was in a depression. The coal mines had closed down, the ship yards closed down, and the town went through a very hard time. Later on when I went down to London at 15 years old I was wandering around, feeling like an orphan. Everything is so huge. Your eyes are wide open, but your mind is not, and you're just beginning to understand the perils you can get into. I met lots of Fagins in London and for a while had to become an 'Artful Dodger' myself. I still carry this book everywhere."



Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

By Mark Twain


"My dad would come upstairs and tell me to go to sleep, and I'd get under the covers and read Huckleberry Finn. I couldn't put it down. To someone like me in the northeast of England, these adventures were so exotic. But most importantly, it was told through the eyes of a young boy, and I was a young boy reading it. I got to understand more about segregation and slavery, all these things going on a world away in this phantasmagorical place. Even when I was down in Mississippi years later, making the film Deep Blues I remembered that feeling -- under the covers with my hardcover and my torch."


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.