You can definitely tell, listening to Mr. Cave, that he is a well-read individual. Something I've been meaning to do for a long time is come up with some sort of definitive list of books/authors he either likes and/or has mentioned in his songs.
It is my goal to explore all of these at some point. Whether or not you are thinking of doing the same, please help me by submitting references from songs, interviews, etc. that I have missed. YAY!
To get things started, you must, as a Cave fan, read his own two books:
Now, here is what will be, I assume, a constantly-updated list of authors and novels mentioned by Mr. Cave. See something missing? Let me know!
In the Belly of the Beast by Jack Abbott1 Thank You by W.H. Auden1 Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire1 Collected Poems by John Betjeman1 American Murder Ballads and Their Stories by Olive Woolley Burt1 The Anatomy of Melancholy by Roger Burton1 Butler's Lives of the Saints1 Louis Wain The Man Who Drew Cats by Rodney Dale1 Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis1 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky5 George Eliot8 The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis11 Harlot by Jill Alexander Essbaum2 The Unvanquisher by William Faulkner1 Paul Gauguin3 The Odyssey by Homer7 High Windows and Selected Letters by Philip Larkin1,3 Federico Garcia Lorca and his concept of "duende"10 The Bad Seed by William March 9 Das Kapital by Karl Marx3 Paradise Lost by John Milton6 News From Nowhere by William Morris4 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 1 Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor1 The Collected Works of Billy the Kid edited by Michael Ondaatje1 The Cantos by Ezra Pound1 A Flower Book For the Pocket by Skene1 W.H. Auden a Tribute edited by Stephen Spender1 The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross1 The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila1 Inferno / From an Occult Diary by August Strindberg1 Dylan Thomas3 John Wilmot3 W.B. Yeats8 And, of course...The Bible
1 Shown in Stories, with a caption of "a selection of Nick Cave's favourite books." In the case of Lolita, Nick has mentioned numerous times his love for this book. He mentions Nabokov in "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" and in Nick Cave Stories [LINK], which is way over-priced, in my opinion (and I can say that since I own it).
2The picture at the top of this entry, which came from HERE.
3Mentioned in the song "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" from Abattoir Blues.
4One can only assume he is referencing this book with the song "More News From Nowhere". I have this book because of a utopia/dystopia class I took, but I've yet to read it.
5Here, among other places. His dad made him read it. (Thanks, scarletts-web!)
6As in "Song of Joy" and "Red Right Hand". (Thanks, Caroline!)
7From "More News From Nowhere". (Thanks again to Caroline.)
8From "No Pussy Blues," as pointed out by jutkacsak.
9Title of the band, duh. :) (Thanks, manilla-manish!)
10Nick Cave's Love Song Lecture [LINK], as pointed out by corpse-in-snow.