Celebrities Reading: Why Book Lists and Private Libraries Fascinate Us


A really nice piece on Book Riot centred on A Book of Book Lists. Here's a snippet:
The first part of Johnson’s book focuses on understanding the motivations behind reading. More specifically, what the books people read/collected during their life can tell us about them. So, of course, the book opens with Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden was the last person I expected to be featured so prominently in a book like this, to be honest, but alas, he is. From the get-go, I was intrigued, fascinated that someone like the head of a terrorist organization who was always on the run would even care about owning books. And also, if at the end of the section, the breakdown of his reading list was entirely predictable. He read exclusively about military strategy and anti-U.S./anti-western political writers. But it got me thinking again about why we care about famous people’s libraries. I believe our eagerness to get a glimpse of someone’s bookshelf comes from a desire most readers have of empathizing or being closer to a famous figure.
You can read the rest at the link above.

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