Patti Smith says reading Mark Twain made her throw up

The punk icon has admitted she couldn't finish a particular title by the celebrated American writer

Patti Smith has admitted that reading Mark Twain gave her anxiety and made her throw up.

In a new interview with The Guardian, the author and musician was asked a series of literature-related questions in order to promote the release of her new book, Year of the Monkey.

Asked to name a book she was unable to finish, Smith replied by naming The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.


“It gave me such anxiety that I threw up. I never finished it – and still can’t bear to.”

Elsewhere, Smith revealed that Little Women was the book that changed her life and that the book she wish she had written was The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian writer Carlo Collodi.

“[It’s] the perfect book for any age,” she said of Collodi’s book that later became the basis for the 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio. “It addresses creation, the war between good and evil, redemption, and transfiguration in one beloved tale. I have loved it since age seven and have long wished to write something similar.”

Meanwhile, an interview with Patti Smith from 2010 has been shared online in full for the first time.

Smith – speaking to Membranes frontman John Robb in Sheffield during a tour in 2010 – speaks in the interview about her memoir Just Kids, her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe and the proto-punk scene in New York – as well as her own poetry and music.


Earlier this year, R.E.M., The Who and Patti Smith were among the artists auctioning off setlists from classic shows for charity.