What Do Famous People’s Bookshelves Reveal?


Bibliophiles do not approach bookshelves lightly. A stranger’s collection is to us a window to their soul. We peruse with judgment, sometimes admiration and occasionally repulsion (Ayn Rand?!). With celebrities now frequently speaking on television in front of their home libraries, a voyeuristic pleasure presents itself: Are they actually really like us?

2. “Moscow 1937,” by Karl Schlögel: A portrait of the Soviet capital at the height of Stalin’s reign.

3. The Oxford English Dictionary: It’s 20 volumes. 21,728 pages. 171,476 words. And she owns them all.

2. “The Night Tiger,” by Yangsze Choo: Set in 1930s colonial Malaya, this 2019 novel is the kind of book reviewers like to call “sumptuous,” with a plot featuring the search for a severed finger and a supernatural tiger.

2. “Shattered,” by Dick Francis: From the master of the equine thriller, a novel of horse-racing and glassblowing.

3. “Kings in Grass Castles,” by Mary Durack: A 1959 Australian classic about the outback during the 19th century. He probably also owns the sequel: “Sons in the Saddle.”

3. “Peeves,” by Mike Van Waes: A children’s book about a boy who accidentally sets loose a bunch of irritating little monsters who wreak havoc.

2. “Naming Names,” by Victor S. Navasky: The classic account of the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigation of Hollywood for its supposed Communist allegiances. It’s all here, the cruelty, the back-stabbing, the moments of truth under the hot lights.

2. “The End of Food,” by Thomas F. Pawlick: Danger abounds at the grocery store in this 2006 expose of our current method of food production. Pawlick reveals that the vitamin, mineral and nutritional content of food is in shocking decline.

2. “Jude the Obscure,” by Thomas Hardy: The classic 1895 novel of a young, working-class man who yearns to become a scholar but is thwarted by society and love.

3. “Slave Day,” by Rob Thomas: From the creator of “Veronica Mars,” this Texas high school drama has a disturbing plot involving teens auctioning off one another. “Clueless” this is not.



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