Lana Del Rey's Favorite Books Are As Moody As Her Music

If there's one thing Lana Del Rey has mastered, it's a moody, sometimes dark, often slow vibe. Her music is all about that aesthetic, and it turns out so is her reading list. The star has been open about her love of reading before, just like her pal and collaborator Taylor Swift, and is such a big fan of the written word that she's even penned her own poetry book. In 2020, the star released "Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass," which is packed full of her personal thoughts and feelings. "They are eclectic and honest and not trying to be anything other than what they are and for that reason I'm proud of them, especially because the spirit in which they were written was very authentic," she said of the poems.


And that sentiment seems to spill over into the books she reads as well. Del Rey has spoken out about a few of her favorite novels before — and it turns out they're just as moody as her music. So we're taking a deep dive into some of her recommendations.

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

Lana Del Rey has professed her love for the poetry book "Howl and Other Poems" by Allen Ginsberg. Del Rey explained her affinity for the collection to Fader in 2011, revealing that she first fell in love with the poem titled "Howl" as a teenager. "I found this poem when I was 15, and it was one of the first pieces of literature that ever resonated with me," she shared. "The fact that I related so closely to Ginsberg's manic, drug-fueled rantings was a sign of very dark but creative times to come."


The book first came to be in the 1950s and contains other moody poetry, including the likes of "A Supermarket in California," "Transcription of Organ Music," and "Wild Orphan." You can tell just by the titles that this is a moody one. The book covers a range of important and thought-provoking societal topics, including capitalism and materialism, and the notion of consumerism itself.

Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger

Lana Del Rey chose Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon" as one of her ultimate favorite books in an interview with Billboard in 2015. The "Young and Beautiful" hitmaker didn't elaborate on exactly why she loves it, but we can have a few guesses based on its content.


The book, first published in the 1950s, tells dark stories about what had been really going on outside of public view in Hollywood for the past few decades. Anger is a former child actor who went on to have a career making movies in the golden era of Hollywood, and he has no problem giving the world a peak behind the curtain at some of the seedy goings-on. Seeing as Del Rey's style is all about that underground Hollywood glamour with a dark twist, it's no wonder she's such a big fan of this salacious tell-all book.

Forbidden Gates by Tom and Nita Horn

Now, this may seem like somewhat of an odd choice for Lana Del Rey, but she chose "Forbidden Gates" by Tom and Nita Horn as one of her favorite books while speaking to Fader. Though, it actually makes more sense than you might think. The book details how to overcome the sense of darkness (hence the moody label) and discusses changes to spiritual welfare. 


Del Rey herself shared why she enjoyed the book so much, explaining, "[It's] an easy way to become familiar with some of the major advances we're making each year." She added, "We should all be aware of exactly how fast technology is developing — from understanding cybernetics, to learning that living organisms are now being created synthetically. In my world, life has always been more than music and art; it's about science and understanding where we come from." Just remember if you're planning to give this one a go, it's not a novel and leans more towards a textbook. So we'd recommend being in the headspace for a more challenging and scholarly read if you pick this one up.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lana Del Rey has made her affinity for the book "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov pretty clear, mainly through the references to the book in her music. In the song "Off To The Races," she uses the book's opening lines, "Light of my life, fire of my loins." She also makes a more obvious reference to the book in her son "Lolita," repeatedly crooning, "Hey Lolita, hey."


If you're planning to give "Lolita" a read yourself, though, just keep in mind that it has some dark content. The book was first released in 1955 and tells the story of a man who develops an obsession with a 12-year-old girl. He then becomes her stepfather, before kidnapping and abusing her. Because of its sensitive content, "Lolita" had previously been banned around the world. In the 1950s and 1960s, France, England, Argentina, and New Zealand all stopped the book from being read or produced for a few years.

The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel

This is another book that may not seem like Lana Del Rey's typical read, but she had an interesting reason for choosing Charles F. Haanel's "The Master Key System" as one of her favorite books. Though it's not "moody" in the traditional sense, the singer recommended this self-help book as a way of better understanding moods and feelings and coming to terms with why we might feel a certain way. So, think of it as a book of growth and looking inward to get a better understanding of ourselves and how our minds work. That is definitely in line with Del Rey's aesthetic.


"Essential Reading for anyone looking to find their own road to happiness and success in their lives," Del Rey told Fader while making her recommendations. "The Godfather of all books written on how to be successful and find peace," she added.