Stevie Nicks's Favorite Books Are All About Dark Romance

As a legendary member of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks made a name for herself in the 1970s. When she went solo, she doubled down on not just how extremely talented she was as a lyricist and musician, but how iconic she was too. She is, after all, the woman who penned "Silver Springs," one of the most haunting breakup songs ever written, about the end of her relationship with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham.


"When people ask me about songwriting, that's what I tell them. Pay attention to your feelings. It can be anything. Everything," Nicks told The Creative Independent in 2016. "And yes, I can write a really super romantic song today even though I'm not really in a relationship nor have I been in one for a long time. I can take ideas right out of the air, but I have to be really inspired. It has to be something truly inspiring that pushes me to go and write a poem, and then that poem is something that, when I have the time, I will take to the piano. That has always been my process since I was 15 years old."

But where Nicks finds inspiration is constantly changing. As an avid reader, Nicks has commented over the years in a series of interviews about what helps her to come up with some of her music. To no surprise, the literature that moves her most is all a bit dark, but romantically so.


Out of Africa by Karen Blixen

When it comes to dark romance, there's nothing quite like the ones that leave you blubbering when you close the book — and that's exactly what you get with "Out of Africa." Published in 1937, the memoir covers the years that Blixen "had a farm in the Africa, at the foot of Ngong Hills" as she writes on the first page of the novel, as well as her love affair with Kenya and British big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton.


"When I saw the 1985 movie version with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, it just killed me and inspired me to read the book," Nicks has said of the memoir. "Both make me sob so much I can hardly breathe... The relationship between Blixen and the Safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton broke my heart. It's a book about finding and losing love." Nicks also went on to say that she'd stayed in the Karen Blixen suite "at the Hotel D'Angleterre in her native Copenhagen," further proving her love for Blixen's story. Blixen, also the author of "Babette's Feast," was an extraordinary writer, but it's her memoir that gives us a real glimpse of the devastation she faced in loving Finch-Hatton, something that would haunt her until she died in 1962.


The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Like a lot of people, when the first book of "The Twilight Saga" was published, Nicks found herself completely smitten with the love story between Edward and Bella. So much so that the book "New Moon" even inspired her to write a song in 2011. "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream), a song on my new album, was written about 'New Moon.' The song is about what happens when a relationship breaks down or, more specifically, when you are abandoned in some way," Nicks said of the series. "I could totally relate to that. I think that Meyer's stories are magnificent and I'm amazed at how she built her complex world. Writing a song seems much simpler than writing a novel — a song is just five verses and a chorus! I think the love story between Edward and Bella is going to live on forever, like Beauty and the Beast."


Meyer's series made a huge cultural impact when the books were published and continues to do so. Not only did it set in motion a major wave of vampire-themed books, television programs, and movies, but it also served as inspiration for the "Fifty Shades" trilogy. Which, in itself, had its own cultural influence.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"The Little Prince" isn't just one of the most beloved children's stories ever written, but it's also the second most translated book in the world — second only to the Bible — having been published in 380 languages. Through imagery and fantasy, author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry creates a world of love, friendship, and innocence lost all narrated by a pilot who has crashed his plane in the Sahara.


"I first discovered The Little Prince when I was in high school and fell in love with the book straight away," Nicks has said. "It's a sweet fable about the relationship between a little boy and his love for a rose. There is such a strong philosophy of love and loneliness running throughout the book that I can't help but return to it again and again." Although it's categorized as a children's book, "The Little Prince" speaks more to adults than kids. It's touching and beautiful, but as Nicks points out, there's a deeper truth to it that one can only understand with time and age.

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Tragically, Poe gets a misguided rap when it comes to his writing. His name has become synonymous with mad genius, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but he was far more than just that: he was also quite a romantic — a fact that can be easily understood if one were to branch out beyond "The Raven" and stories like "The Cask of Amontillado." Proof of that romantic nature can be found in his final poem "Annabel Lee," one that was put to music by Nicks on her 2011 album "In Your Dreams."


"I've read all of Poe's poetry as well as Lord Byron's and Oscar Wilde's. He is deep and brooding — you can make many songs from his poems," Nicks has said of Poe. "I like Byron for the same reason — his characters are dark and intense like Lindsey." Lindsey being her ex-partner Lindsey Buckingham of course.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

If there's anything to be taken from this list of books so far, it's that Stevie Nicks is a sucker for a brooding romantic. And no one does brooding romanticism quite like the Brontë sisters — Heathcliff in Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights" is a perfect example of this. He starts off a bit romantic for Catherine, then spirals into a vindictive monster, making him what they call in the literary world a Byronic hero. Charlotte Brontë created her own Byronic hero, Mr. Rochester, in her novel "Jane Eyre."


"I first read 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights' (written by Charlotte's sister Emily Bronte) when I was in college in California in the late 1960s," Nicks said. "They are two of my favorite books because they're just so brilliantly written. The beauty of both these classics is that they were fantastic when I was a teenager and they still appeal to me now as a 63-year-old woman." 

While this certainly isn't the complete list of Nicks's literary favorites, it's a great starting point for those hoping to be inspired by some of the darker themes and characters out there. After all, one can't sustain on Jane Austen alone.