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Baker's Dozen

A Life Turning Pages: Robert Forster's Favourite Books
Aug Stone , April 8th, 2020 09:22

The Go-Betweens founder takes Aug Stone through his 'eclectic even to himself' reading tastes

"London is a perfect city for reading," Robert Forster muses. "My reading really picked up in London in the 80s. The Go-Betweens lived here for five-and-a-half years. And I read a lot. The weather suited it. I was getting books out of the library, getting secondhand books, borrowing people's books. I did a lot of reading here, which flowed on from my life up until now. I used to go down to Islington Library and just get armfuls of books."

Forster explains that he didn't come from a reading family, that there weren't books or even records around the house. Sport was the main activity at home, so books first came to him through school, carried on by friend's recommendations and reviews. 'Quite scattered' is how he describes his tastes. "I just grab books here and there. Mainly I lean towards non-fiction, just things that interest me. One book will tip off another or a review will pique my interest. It's not a systematic 'I'm doing this author and everything they've written'. It's quite bits and pieces, all over the place."

Speaking about these novels, poetry collections, and biographies, Forster takes care over his word choice, as you'd expect if you're familiar with his lyrics. He also shows a fondness for the poetic which is at the same time down to earth, dealing with real life. In his own excellent memoir Grant & I, Forster tells of taking such a direct approach in recording his first two solo albums, Danger In The Past and Calling From A Country Phone, both remastered and out now.

Click the image of Forster below to behind reading through his selections