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Corey Taylor's Top 10 Books

Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor picks his favourite moments of literary genius

As the author of three distressingly well written books, Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor is a keen reader, devouring words almost as fast as he can spit them out. A fan of both fiction and non-fiction, he had trouble listing his top 10 favourite books – “Where do you even start with something like that?” – but after much consideration he narrows it down to the following, all of which you should probably read, too.


10) The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“I've just re-read that recently, and I'd forgotten how much I love those stories. It's just so good! I got turned onto that when I was a kid. When I was really young I was a huge fan of Encyclopedia Brown, that little kid who solves mysteries and shit, and then as I got older I was casting about trying to find something similar, and I just happened to see the movie adaptation of the non-Doyle story, where Sherlock tackles his cocaine addiction with the help of Sigmund Freud. It's a brilliant movie, and that kinda got me interested in Sherlock Holmes, so I went back and read pretty much everything. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes has everything, and a couple of years ago my wife got me a second edition print of that, in pristine condition, which is really awesome. You can actually write to 221b Baker Street and they write back to you as Sherlock Holmes, kinda like Santa Claus.”

9) Ghost Story – Jim Butcher

“I'm trying to think of which one of The Dresden Files I would go with, cos it's kinda like the Harry Potter series. The Dresden books are some of my favourites; they started off slow and got progressively more and more awesome. We'll go with Ghost Story, and I won't give too much away from it, but the thing I love about the writing of it, especially Dresden's character, is anything and everything can happen to him. Even though he's staring in the face of crazy odds, and he knows he's gonna get blow up or fucked up, he just keeps going, because he has that natural morality that keeps him grounded. Even though he knows the odds may be against him, he keeps doing what he knows is right, no matter what it does to him or, sadly, to some of his friends. Those books I read just as fast as I used to read the Potter books, which we'll get to.”

8) Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince – JK Rowling

“I've gotta work in one of the Potter books, obviously, because I just love that series. Me and Scott Ian would race to see who could finish them the fastest! He's like, 'Do you have it yet? No? Well, fucking hurry up, cos I can't wait!' We'd text each other as soon as we'd finished them! I'm gonna go with Half-Blood Prince because I love the twist that that story takes. All of the books are brilliant, but I haven't read the new one yet. I've gotta be honest, the movies were okay, but the books were so much better. The last one, they missed the whole point of what was great about that book. It bummed me out, so I was kinda glad that I read the book before I saw the movie. Fuck those movies, you need to read the books!”

7) Queen Of The Damned – Anne Rice

“It would not be a complete list if I didn't mention Anne Rice, just for the fact that what I thought was a trilogy became a whole string of vampire books, that I'm totally down with. I can remember when there were only really three: you had Interview With The Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and Queen Of The Damned. But I'd say those last two were probably the best she ever wrote, because they created a world that was so much bigger than you could have ever imagined. I guess I'll go with Queen Of The Damned, just for the fact that it really culminates with the cliffhanger that was left from Vampire Lestat. You kind of have to read Vampire Lestat to understand why it's so poignant, but for me it was all about those mythic characters coming together to fight this crazy evil. The movie's a joke! Don't do that to yourself! That's some form of masochism! But the book itself is brilliant.”

6) Hannibal – Thomas Harris

“Again, that's another book where the movie adaptation could have been so much better. I love Hannibal because it took all of those characters and turned it on it's head. Plus I love the fact that he made Hannibal an insane anti-hero again, and then the ending, which you just don't see coming… It really depressed me because it felt like they didn't have the balls to do it in the movie. That was such bullshit, and I guess the reason Jody Foster didn't come back to play Clarice was she didn't like the book, but then they soften the ending anyway. I love the book, and if they'd stuck a bit closer to the source material then the movie would have been a lot better, in my opinion.”

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5) Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72 – Hunter S Thompson

“Let's go with some non-fiction. I love how intricate and involved that book is, and it's actually the book that got me interested in following politics, because it was the first time that I felt there was a human side to politics that needed to be paid attention to; it wasn't just about statistics or voting records, there was real fallout and response. I didn't expect that from the author of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, which, until that point, was my favourite book of his. But Campaign Trail changed my perspective and my insight in such a way that it kinda started me on the way that I think now. For me it was a very pivotal book.”

4) Please Kill Me – Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

Please Kill Me, that's a great book. I consider it part of the trilogy of the punk movement, which would be England's Dreaming [by Jon Savage], Please Kill Me and We've Got The Neutron Bomb [by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen]. You've got the English punk scene covered in England's Dreaming, but Please Kill Me really starts with New York and the midwest, and then Neutron Bomb covers all of the west coast. I love because how Please Kill Me is the nucleus of the American punk movement, and it starts right where the bomb went off, before that scene even moved over to CBGBs. It talks about Iggy seeing The Doors for the first time, and then moves all the way up to Nico dying and stuff like that. It's such a great oral history, and I love the fact that it comes from interviews and stuff like that, so it really feels like you're listening to somebody tell you that story.”

3) Get In The Van – Henry Rollins

“It's tales from the road, and I read that right before I went out on my first tour. It kind of set my tone for what to expect, and the way that he roughed it, I was like, 'I don't know if I can fucking do that!' It was so gnarly, it almost put me off touring! But I love that blend of isolation and yet solidarity, because that's really is what touring is. It's coming together when you need to come together, but then you've got all those fucking hours just stuck in your own shitty head, to where you almost lose your mind. It's hard to relate to certain people, and certainly to 'normal' life. For me, that was my taste of getting a glimpse of what touring life was like, and the psychology of what it takes to be able to tour.”

2) How To Be A Man – Duff McKagan

“It's fucking brilliant! Duff's writing style is really good; he's one of the smartest dudes on the planet, but he's so unashamed of showing his quirks. It's genius! You should read his first book [It's So Easy (And Other Lies)] too, but How To Be A Man is just really good, because it's him trying to figure out what that means. It's really smart and funny, and his self-deprecation is one of the reasons he and I are such good friends; he doesn't give a shit!”

1) The Stand – Stephen King

“The last one has to go to my favourite book of all time, The Stand by Stephen King. It's post-apocalyptic, and it's one of the best fictions I've ever read that's a real look at sociology. You can really tell where The Walking Dead got it's ideas about humanity and what would happen after shit like that went down, and this pre-dates it by years! Trust me, it's amazing! I still have my original copy that I got in '88, when they put out the unabridged version, which has over 100,000 extra words, and I read it every year. It's my favourite story that I've ever read.”


Corey Taylor's Beats1 show A Series Of Bleeps With Corey Taylor broadcasts on Thursdays at 4pm UK time and On Demand thereafter.

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