Kim Churchill tells us his top 10 books
Australian songsmith Kim Churchill releases his new album Weight_Falls today. Because he’s quite the literary-minded fellow (and talented lyricist), we asked him to put together his Top 10 Books for us. Here they are…
I’m still trying to figure out how much of his story is reality and how much is fiction. But I don’t really care. It’s an amazing story about a man’s travels after escaping prison and fleeing to India. He’s a philosopher and a gambler with life. He loves others in a way that inspires me to do the same and commits to what he believes is right, even when it may well get him killed. It’s a beautifully real story with loads of action and incredible scenery.
2. The Life of Pi
My first discovery of the genre that is Magical Realism. It’s now my favourite genre by far. I love the idea that a mind may create surreal versions of reality in an attempt to deal with a pain that is unbearable. I love that we never find out whether he did travel across the ocean in a life boat with a tiger or not. Its moves me to consider what the reality might have been and leaves me in tears. But the story itself is that one should believe – it’s a surreal spoonful of psychedelic colours, violent truths, beautifully inspiring philosophy and a narrative that you simply can’t put down.
3. Practicing the Power of Now
This book completely changed my life. Many people have a lot to say about Eckhart Tolle and in my opinion; most of its rubbish. Whether they worship him as some kind of enlightened, spiritual guru or think of him as a con-man or a talker of nonsense. I found his basic concept of becoming the Watcher of my thoughts incredibly useful in my life. I’m far from enlightened, but reading this on a daily basis and understanding his philosophy has allowed me live a much richer life – more than anything because I am actually present enough to appreciate it all going down.
A breakdown of some of the world’s true masters and how/why they were able to become so skilled. It helps us understand that eventually we will enter again a childlike state of playful creativity which is where masterpieces are really born. He goes into the likes of Da Vinci through to Darwin, from to boxing trainers, metal work sculptors, jet fighter pilots to dance teachers. It’s so inspiring and realistically explains the process of achieving mastery in a field in a way that seems, at least to me, to be real and achievable for for anyone.
Hermann Hesse is by far my favourite author and will come about several times in my top ten. Demian was the first novel I read of his. Through his characters and their subtle surreality, he builds up philosophical ideas that make you feel like you’ve been living on the tip of an iceberg and are just gaining an understanding of its entirety. Then over the page it will multiply tenfold in its vastness and just completely blow your mind. He gives me the odd and powerful sensation of grasping something so minute it barely exists but at the time so vast it could never fully be grasped. Its power moves me to my core.
6. 100 Years of Solitude
It’s predominantly Garcia Marquez’s writing style that really blows me away. One of the most iconic magical realists; he blends the characters and the plot together in ways that leave you dizzy. He makes you question everything that is real and points at something at the core of humanity. I think it’s the reality that all our concepts and rules and grids and maps to understand the world are really just sad attempts at grasping something far too magical and complicated. What is left then, is a celebration of everything that is and everything that can be without labelling it or removing its mysticism.
Another of Hesse’s. I read it once or twice a year just to reconnect with the way it makes me feel. It’s a feeling that I am sure is at the core of who I am. I know myself by the end of the book. I’m peaceful within my own story and open to all the shit mistakes I’ll probably make – whilst at the same time I’m excited about all that I will become and give to the world. It makes me feel part of something eternal whilst understanding I’ll only exist for a blink of an eye. It puts both the light and the dark in perspective and allows me to move into either with a playful sense of excitement.
8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
I was born in 1990. What did you expect? I read this book about 20 times over when I was 10 years old and continued to do the same with each one. I lined up for hours to buy them from bookshops and I was the same age as Harry. One of the most moving dreams I ever had involved being Harry and being in love with Hermione and having to watch her die and become a bowl of ice-cream in the freezer. It left me in a dark place for days. The story got inside me somehow and is a part of who I’ve become. JK Rowling. You are something else!
9. Breakfast of Champions
Vonnegut just has to be in here. I love this one particularly because on the third page of the book he draws an asshole to help describe a point he’s making. The book is full of these little drawings and they all just make fun of the perceived laws of life and of creative writing. He enters the book himself at points and I love the way he just doesn’t care about where he takes things. Within this playful style he also makes very hard hitting brutally honest quips at the world and its problems and inspires me to make it ever so slightly better with my own actions and creative adventures.
The autobiography of Bob Dylan. I fell in love with Dylan when I was about 14. He shaped me in many ways and when this came out I read it again and again and again. He’s one of my biggest inspirations as an artist and his stories from his early years in New York inspired me to be a songwriter and a performer. He is as brutally honest and real as he is poetic and mystical. The two work together like black and white – one giving form to the other. He’s all time for me. Though I don’t really want to meet him. I think he might be a jerk.
KIM CHURCHILL AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
THURSDAY 14 SEPTEMBER – CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE
FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER – UNIBAR, WOLLONGONG
SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER– STREET THEATRE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER – THE JACK, CAIRNS
FRIDAY 22 SEPTEMBER – THE OFFICE, TOWNSVILLE
SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER – TIMBERFEST, MACKAY
FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE
SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER – KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT
SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER – SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE
THURSDAY 5 OCTOBER – FAT CONTROLLER, ADELAIDE
FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER – WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART
SATURDAY 7 OCTOBER – ROYAL OAK, LAUNCESTON
FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER – FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE FRONT LAWN, FREMANTLE
SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER – PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY
SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER – RED ROOM @ CLANCYS FISH PUB, DUNSBOROUGH
FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER – THE FACTORY, SYDNEY
THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER – SOLBAR, SUNSHINE COAST
FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER – SOUNDLOUNGE, GOLD COAST
SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER – THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE
Tickets on sale now from www.kimchurchill.com.