Skip to content
News Book Club: Leonard Cohen’s ‘Book of Longing’

For nearly two years, we’ve posted discussions from our Book Club between lit-loving musicians — including members of Tegan and Sara, the Matches, Circa Survive, Anberlin, the Hush Sound — about their favorite works. The series even spawned a one-of-a-kind charity event last month that saw Tegan Quin performing side-by-side with Running with Scissors author Augusten Burroughs.

Under the guidance of Book Club curator Emily Zemler, we will continue to feature rockers talking about their favorite books. Each artist will describe the impact of each book on his/her life, and talk about the most essential themes in each work.

For this newest installment, Spelling and Grammar’s Elizabeth Seward selected Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing, a collection of the singer-songwriter’s lyrics, drawings, and insights. Watch her videos here — including an election-themed Sarah Palin impression — to find out more about her selection.

Why Elizabeth Picked It: “I guess some of us are just drawn to certain motifs in our readings. We cling to certain concepts that we can reach, and we sail away with them. Leonard Cohen has always presented to me those concepts that I could sail away with. Existentialism. Sexuality. Spirituality. Loneliness. Artistry.

“All of Leonard’s work has inspired me. Book of Longing, however, has struck so many familiar chords with me that resonate somewhere between my music world and my literature world that I knew this would be the book I had to share. No, it is not a novel. But there are strong themes that connect, and I hope that they mean as much to you as they continue to mean to me each time I read this book. Leonard has no hang ups about his own vulnerability. He lets you sink with him into a miasma of isolation and cold introspection without blinking an eye. I admire him for that.”

Stay tuned to the Book Club page for even more rockers talking literature!