The Private Book Collections of 10 Famous Readers

Earlier this month, we stumbled across Carolyn Kellogg’s great article about Bernie Madoff’s book collection, parts of which are being sold slowly on eBay by the person who won Madoff’s books in an auction. Sure, the books someone has may not be as great an indicator of their personality as, er, some other things we know about them, but, nerds that we are, we tend to consider our libraries extensions of ourselves. So of course, we did a little digging, pouring through the collections of famous (or infamous) cultural icons and see what they were made of. After the jump, browse through our excerpts of the private libraries of everyone from Darwin to Houdini to Oprah, and draw your conclusions where you may.

Bernie Madoff

Purple America, Rick Moody
Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow
The Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood
Riding the Rap, Elmore Leonard
Black Money, Michael Thomas
When Genius Failed, Roger Lowenstein
Original Sin, P.D. James
The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr
Disclosure, Michael Crichton
Self Defense, Jonathan Kellerman
Nest of Vipers, Linda Davies
The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
Without Remorse, Tom Clancy
Deception, Philip Roth
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Plus: “There are big bestsellers by Leon Uris, Caleb Carr, David Baldacci and Sidney Sheldon, dictionaries and other reference books, and histories and biographies by David Halberstam, Walter Isaacson, David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Classics by Cervantes, Willa Cather and Mark Twain… Stacks of Philp Roth… Collections of poems by Emily Dickinson, Lord Byron and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Books by Norman Mailer and Elie Wiesel… The stories of Wallace Stegner.”

[via The LA Times]