In honor of David Bowie, the American Library Association is re-releasing their classic 1987 poster of the musician who, in addition to being a beloved artist and actor, was also an avid reader. The iconic poster features Bowie in a letterman jacket leaping through the air while reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot—and looking more like a clean-cut 1950s teenager than a 40-year-old rock star. The poster adorned the walls of school libraries in the ‘80s and ‘90s and was one of the first in the ALA’s READ campaign, which has promoted literature since 1985.
Over the last three decades, the READ series has depicted celebrities in a range of fields posing with their favorite books. While many of the book choices have been unsurprising (like Orlando Bloom reading The Lord of the Rings, or Rachel McAdams reading The Time Traveler’s Wife), others have provided fascinating insights into the literary preferences of celebrities. Who, for example, would guess that Stephen Hawking would choose a biography of Marilyn Monroe, that Nicolas Cage would favor Siddhartha, or that Steve Martin would go for Mathematical Themes? Bowie’s interest in the dense, philosophical writings of Dostoyevsky, meanwhile, will likely seem unsurprising to anyone familiar with Bowie's 100 favorite books (even though The Idiot didn't make the cut).
Though many celebrities have posed for the posters over the years, Bowie’s remains one of the most iconic. The reprinted posters are now available to pre-order and will be shipped sometime in February.