Jim Jarmusch’s Favorite Books


Jim Jarmusch has developed a cult following over the past 2-3 decades, directing films such as Stranger Than Paradise, Mystery TrainBroken FlowersGhost Dog: The Way Of The SamuraiOnly Lovers Left Alive, and, most recently, Paterson.  Jarmusch’s favorite books showcase the eclectic tastes that make him one of Hollywood’s most unique and visionary filmmakers.  UPDATE (July 13, 2018): Jarmusch is currently filming his next film, The Dead Don’t Die, starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, and Selena Gomez.

For more information on Jarmusch’s favorite books, click on any of the images below (via Amazon).


Red Harvest

When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty–even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain. (Amazon).

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld

The basis of Martin Scorcese’s acclaimed 2003 film, The Gangs of New York is a dramatic and entertaining glimpse at a city’s dark past. (Amazon).

A Season in Hell & The Drunken Boat (English and French Edition)

Rimbaud originally distributed A Season In Hell to friends as a self-published booklet, and soon afterward, at the age of nineteen, quit poetry altogether. New Directions’s edition was among the first to be published in the U.S., and it quickly became a classic. Rimbaud’s famous poem “The Drunken Boat” was subsequently added to the first paperbook printing. Allen Ginsberg proclaimed Arthur Rimbaud as “the first punk” ― a visionary mentor to the Beats for both his recklessness and his fiery poetry. (Amazon).

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Laurence Sterne’s great masterpiece of bawdy humour and rich satire defies any attempt to categorize it, with a rich metafictional narrative that might classify it as the first ‘postmodern’ novel. Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate ‘hero’ Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations. The text and notes of this volume are based on the acclaimed Florida Edition, with a critical introduction by Melvyn New and Christopher Ricks’s introductory essay from the first Penguin Classics edition. (Amazon).

Madame Bovary

Unhappily married to a devoted, clumsy provincial doctor, Emma revolts against the ordinariness of her life by pursuing voluptuous dreams of ecstasy and love. But her sensuous and sentimental desires lead her only to suffering corruption and downfall. A brilliant psychological portrait, Madame Bovary searingly depicts the human mind in search of transcendence. Who is Madame Bovary? Flaubert’s answer to this question was superb: “Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” Acclaimed as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1857, the work catapulted Flaubert to the ranks of the world’s greatest novelists. This volume, with its fine translation by Lowell Bair, a perceptive introduction by Leo Bersani, and a complete supplement of essays and critical comments, is the indispensable Madame Bovary. (Amazon).

Sentimental Education

Based on Flaubert’s own youthful passion for an older woman, Sentimental Education was described by its author as “the moral history of the men of my generation.” It follows the amorous adventures of Frederic Moreau, a law student who, returning home to Normandy from Paris, notices Mme Arnoux, a slender, dark woman several years older than himself. It is the beginning of an infatuation that will last a lifetime. He befriends her husband, an influential businessman, and as their paths cross and re-cross over the years, Mme Arnoux remains the constant, unattainable love of Moreau’s life. Blending love story, historical authenticity, and satire, Sentimental Education is one of the great French novels of the nineteenth century. (Amazon).

Lost Illusions

Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1

Orlando Furioso

The Inferno

Impressions of Africa

The Woman Chaser

Three by Cain: Serenade, Love’s Lovely Counterfeit, The Butterfly

Lunch Poems

The Diaries of Adam and Eve

Coming Through Slaughter

The Factory of Facts

John Ashbery: Collected Poems 1991-2000

If you are unfamiliar with any of Jarmusch’s films, we strongly recommend checking out the following:

Coffee & Cigarettes

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Dead Man

Mystery Train


Broken Flowers

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