The 430 Books in Marilyn Monroe’s Library: How Many Have You Read?

marilyn reading

If you’re a reader and user of social media, you’ve likely tested your lifetime reading list against the BBC Book Quiz.

Or perhaps you’ve allowed your worth as a reader to be determined by the number of Pulitzer Prize winners you’ve made it through.

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read, anyone?

The 142 Books that Every Student of English Literature Should Read?

The 50 Best Dystopian Novels?

Being young is no excuse! Not when the American Library Association publishes an annual list of Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners.

So… how’d you do? Or should I say how’d you do in comparison to Marilyn Monroe? The online Monroe fan club Everlasting Star used photographs, interviews, and a Christie’s auction catalogue to come up with a list of more than 400 books in her possession.

Did she read them all? I don’t know. Have you read every single title on your shelves? (There’s a Japanese word for those books. It’s Tsundoku.)

Feminist biographer Oline Eaton has a great rant on her Finding Jackie blog about the phrase “Marilyn Monroe reading,” and the 5,610,000 search engine results it yields when typed into Google:

There is, within Monroe’s image, a deeply rooted assumption that she was an idiot, a vulnerable and kind and loving and terribly sweet idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. That is the assumption in which ‘Marilyn Monroe reading’ is entangled.

The power of the phrase Marilyn Monroe reading’ lies in its application to Monroe and in our assumption that she wouldn’t know how.

Would that everyone searching that phrase did so in the belief that her passion for the printed word rivaled their own. Imagine legions of geeks loving her for her brain, bypassing Sam Shaw’s iconic subway grate photo in favor of home printed pin ups depicting her with book in hand.

Commemorative postage stamps are nice, but perhaps a more fitting tribute would be an ALA poster. Like Eaton, when I look at that image of Marilyn hunched over James Joyce’s Ulysses (or kicking back reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass), I don’t see someone trying to pass herself off as something she’s not. I see a high school dropout caught in the act of educating herself. If I saw it taped to a library shelf emblazoned with the word “READ,” I might just summon the resolve to take a stab at Ulysses myself. (I know how it ends, but that’s about it.)

See below, dear readers. Apologies that we’re not set up to keep track of your score for you, but please let us know in the comments section if you’d heartily second any of Marilyn’s titles, particularly those that are lesser known or have faded from the public view.

Marilyn Monroe’s Reading Challenge

(Thanks to Book Tryst for compiling Everlasting Star’s findings)

1) Let’s Make Love by Matthew Andrews (novelization of the movie)

2) How To Travel Incognito by Ludwig Bemelmans

3) To The One I Love Best by Ludwig Bemelmans

4) Thurber Country by James Thurber

5) The Fall by Albert Camus

6) Marilyn Monroe by George Carpozi

7) Camille by Alexander Dumas

8) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

9) The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt-Farmer

10) The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

11) From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming

12) The Art Of Loving by Erich Fromm

13) The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran

14) Ulysses by James Joyce

15) Stoned Like A Statue: A Complete Survey Of Drinking Cliches, Primitive, Classical & Modern by Howard Kandel & Don Safran, with an intro by Dean Martin (a man who knew how to drink!)

16) The Last Temptation Of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis

17) On The Road by Jack Kerouac

18) Selected Poems by DH Lawrence

19 and 20) Sons And Lovers by DH Lawrence (2 editions)

21) The Portable DH Lawrence

22) Etruscan Places (DH Lawrence?)

23) DH Lawrence: A Basic Study Of His Ideas by Mary Freeman

24) The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

25) The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud

26) Death In Venice & Seven Other Stories by Thomas Mann

27) Last Essays by Thomas Mann

28) The Thomas Mann Reader

29) Hawaii by James Michener

30) Red Roses For Me by Sean O’Casey

31) I Knock At The Door by Sean O’Casey

32) Selected Plays by Sean O’Casey

33) The Green Crow by Sean O’Casey

34) Golden Boy by Clifford Odets

35) Clash By Night by Clifford Odets

36) The Country Girl by Clifford Odets

37) 6 Plays Of Clifford Odets

38) The Cat With 2 Faces by Gordon Young

39) Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill

40) Part Of A Long Story: Eugene O’Neill As A Young Man In Love by Agnes Boulton

41) The Little Engine That Could by Piper Watty (with childish pencil scrawls at end, possibly MM’s)

42) The New Joy Of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer & Marion Rombauer-Becker (with some cut recipes, page markers, a typed diet sheet and manuscript shopping list, apparently in MM’s hand, laid in)

43) Selected Plays Of George Bernard Shaw

44) Ellen Terry And Bernard Shaw – A Correspondence

45) Bernard Shaw & Mrs Patrick Campbell – Their Correspondence

46) The Short Reigh Of Pippin IV by John Steinbeck

47) Once There Was A War by John Steinbeck

48) Set This House On Fire by William Styron

49) Lie Down In Darkness (William Styron?)

50) The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone by Tennessee Williams

51) Camino Real by Tennessee Williams

52) A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (with notes by MM)

53) The Flower In Drama And Glamour by Stark Young (inscribed to MM by Lee Strasberg, Christmas 1955)

American Literature

54) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

55) The Story Of A Novel by Thomas Wolfe

56) Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

57) A Stone, A Leaf, A Door (Thomas Wolfe?)

58) Thomas Wolfe’s Letters To His Mother, ed. John Skally Terry

59) A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

60) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

61) Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

62) Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

63) Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

64) The American Claimant & Other Stories & Sketches by Mark Twain

65) In Defense of Harriet Shelley & Other Essays (Mark Twain?)

66) The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

67) Roughing It (Mark Twain?)

68) The Magic Christian by Terry Southern

69) A Death In The Family by James Agee

70) The War Lover by John Hersey

71) Don’t Call Me By My Right Name & Other Stories by James Purdy

72) Malcolm by James Purdy

Anthologies

73) The Portable Irish Reader (pub. Viking)

74) The Portable Poe – Edgar Allen Poe

75) The Portable Walt Whitman

76) This Week’s Short Stories (New York, 1953)

77) Bedside Book Of Famous Short Stories

78) Short Novels Of Colette

79) Short Story Masterpieces (New York, 1960)

80) The Passionate Playgoer by George Oppenheimer

81) Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier

82) Evergreen Review, Vol 2, No. 6

83) The Medal & Other Stories by Luigi Pirandello

Art

84) Max Weber (art book – inscribed to MM by ‘Sam’ – Shaw?)

85) Renoir by Albert Skira

86) Max by Giovannetti Pericle

87) The Family Of Man by Carl Sandburg

88-90) Horizon, A Magazine Of The Arts (Nov 1959, Jan 1960, Mar 1960.)

91) Jean Dubuffet by Daniel Cordier

Biography

92) The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham

93) Close To Colette by Maurice Goudeket

94) This Demi-Paradise by Margaret Halsey

95) God Protect Me From My Friends by Gavin Maxwell

96) Minister Of Death: The Adolf Eichmann Story by Quentin Reynolds, Ephraim Katz and Zwy Aldouby

97) Dance To The Piper by Agnes DeMille

98) Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It by Mae West

99) Act One by Moss Hart

Christian Science

100) Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

101) Poems, Including Christ And Christmas by Mary Baker Eddy

Classical Works

102) 2 Plays: Peace And Lysistrata by Aristophanes

103) Of The Nature Of Things by Lucretius

104) The Philosophy Of Plato

105) Mythology by Edith Hamilton

106) Theory Of Poetry And Fine Art by Aristotle

107) Metaphysics by Aristotle

108-111) Plutarch’s Lives, Vols 3-6 only (of 6) by William and John Langhorne

Counter-Culture

112) Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie

113) The Support Of The Mysteries by Paul Breslow

114) Paris Blues by Harold Flender

115) The Shook-Up Generation by Harrison E. Salisbury

Foreign-Language Texts And Translations

116) An Mands Ansigt by Arthur Miller

117) Independent People by Halldor Laxness

118) Mujer by Lina Rolan (inscribed to MM by author)

119) The Havamal, ed. D.E. Martin Clarke

120) Yuan Mei: 18th Century Chinese Poet by Arthur Waley

121) Almanach: Das 73 Jahr by S. Fischer Verlag

French Literature

122) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

123) The Works Of Rabelais

124) The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust

125) Cities Of The Plain by Marcel Proust

126) Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust

127) The Sweet Cheat Gone by Marcel Proust

128) The Captive by Marcel Proust

129) Nana by Emile Zola

130) Plays by Moliere

Freud

131) The Life And Work of Sigmund Freud by Ernest Jones

132) Letters Of Sigmund Freud, ed. Ernest L. Freud

133) Glory Reflected by Martin Freud

134) Moses And Monotheism by Sigmund Freud

135) Conditioned Reflex Therapy by Andrew Salter

Gardening & Pets

136-137) The Wise Garden Encyclopedia, ed. E.L.D. Seymour (2 editions)

138) Landscaping Your Own Home by Alice Dustan

139) Outpost Nurseries – publicity brochure

140) The Forest And The Sea by Marston Bates

141) Pet Turtles by Julien Bronson

142) A Book About Bees by Edwin Way Teale

143) Codfish, Cats & Civilisation by Gary Webster

Humor

144) How To Do It, Or, The Art Of Lively Entertaining by Elsa Maxwell

145) Wake Up, Stupid by Mark Harris

146) Merry Christmas, Happy New Year by Phyllis McGinley

147) The Hero Maker by Akbar Del Piombo & Norman Rubington

148) How To Talk At Gin by Ernie Kovacs

149) VIP Tosses A Party, by Virgil Partch

150) Who Blowed Up The House & Other Ozark Folk Tales, ed. Randolph Vance

151) Snobs by Russell Lynes

Judaica (MM officially converted to Judaism upon her marriage to Miller).

152) The Form of Daily Prayers

153) Sephath Emeth (Speech Of Truth): Order Of Prayers For The Wholes Year In Jewish and English

154) The Holy Scriptures According To The Masoretic Text (inscribed to MM by Paula Strasberg, July 1, 1956)

Literature

155) The Law by Roger Vailland

156) The Building by Peter Martin

157) The Mermaids by Boros

158) They Came To Cordura by Glendon Swarthout

159) The 7th Cross by Anna Seghers

160) A European Education by Romain Gary

161) Strike For A Kingdom by Menna Gallie

162) The Slide Area by Gavin Lambert

163) The Woman Who Was Poor by Leon Bloy

164) Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson

165) The Contenders by John Wain

166) The Best Of All Worlds, Or, What Voltaire Never Knew by Hans Jorgen Lembourn (is this the same guy who later wrote ’40 Days With Marilyn’?)

167) The Story Of Esther Costello by Nicholas Montsarrat

168) Oh Careless Love by Maurice Zolotow (MM biographer)

169) Add A Dash Of Pity by Peter Ustinov

170) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (filmed as A Place In The Sun – MM admired Elizabeth Taylor’s performance)

171) The Mark Of The Warrior by Paul Scott

172) The Dancing Bear by Edzard Schaper

173) Miracle In The Rain by Ben Hecht (co-author of MM’s autobiography)

174) The Guide by R.K. Narayan

175) Blow Up A Storm by Garson Kanin (later wrote screenplay ‘Moviola’, featurning an MM-based character)

176) Jonathan by Russell O’Neill

177) Fowlers End by Gerald Kersh

178) Hurricane Season by Ralph Winnett

179) The un-Americans by Alvah Bessie (later wrote The Symbol, a novel loosely based on MM’s life)

180) The Devil’s Advocate by Morris L. West

181) On Such A Night by Anthony Quayle

182) Say You Never Saw Me by Arthur Nesbitt

183) All The Naked Heroes by Alan Kapener

184) Jeremy Todd by Hamilton Maule

185) Miss America by Daniel Stren

186) Fever In The Blood by William Pearson

187) Spartacus by Howard Fast

188) Venetian Red by L.M. Pasinetti

189) A Cup Of Tea For Mr Thorgill by Storm Jameson

190) Six O’Clock Casual by Henry W. Cune

191) Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong (the movie ‘Don’t Bother To Knock’ was based on this novel)

192) The Gingko Tree by Sheelagh Burns

193) The Mountain Road by Theodore H. White

194) Three Circles Of Light by Pietro Di Donato

195) The Day The Money Stopped by Brendan Gill

196) The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins (Hollywood-set bestseller, featuring a Jean Harlow-based character, Rina Marlowe. Marilyn’s secretary, Margerie Stengel, recalls that Marilyn was reading a Robbins novel in her New York apartment in 1961.)

197-198) Justine by Lawrence Durrell (2 editions, possibly read during filming of The Misfits)

199) Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell

200) Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

201) The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

202) The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett

203) Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog by Dylan Thomas (Marilyn met Thomas in Shelley Winters’ apartment circa 1951)

204) Hear Us O Lord From Heaven Thy Dwelling Place, by Malcolm Lowry

Modern Library

205) The Sound And The Fury/As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

206) God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell

207) Anna Christie/The Emperor Jones/The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill (Marilyn played Anna in a scene performed at the Actor’s Studio in 1956)

208) The Philosophy Of Schopenhauer by Irwin Edman

209) The Philosophy Of Spinoza by Joseph Ratner

210) The Dubliners by James Joyce

211) Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson

212) The Collected Short Stories by Dorothy Parker (Friend of Marilyn’s, lived nearby her Doheny Drive apartment in 1961)

213) Selected Works by Alexander Pope

214) The Red And The Black by Stendhal

215) The Life Of Michelangelo by John Addington

216) Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Niagara director Henry Hathaway wanted to film this with MM and James Dean. It was eventually made with Kim Novak and Laurence Harvey.)

217) Three Famous French Romances (W. Somerset Maugham?)

218) Napoleon by Emil Ludwig

219) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (a second copy?)

220) The Poems And Fairy-Tales by Oscar Wilde

221) Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass/The Hunting Of The Snark, by Lewis Carroll

222) A High Wind In Jamaica by Richard Hughes

223) An Anthology Of American Negro Literature, ed. Sylvestre C. Watkins

Music

224) Beethoven: His Spiritual Development by J.W.N. Sullivan

225) Music For The Millions by David Ewen

226) Schubert by Ralph Bates

227) Men Of Music by Wallace Brockaway and Herbert Weinstock

Plays

228) The Potting Shed by Graham Greene

229) Politics In The American Drama by Caspar Nannes

230) Sons Of Men by Herschel Steinhardt

231) Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin (MM auditioned for the movie, but Judy Holliday got the part)

232) Untitled & Other Radio Drams by Norman Corwin

233) Thirteen By Corwin, by Norman Corwin

234) More By Corwin, by Norman Corwin

235) Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill (a second copy)

236) Best American Plays: Third Series, 1945-1951

237) Theatre ’52 by John Chapman

238) 16 Famous European Plays, by Bennett Cerf and Van H. Cartmell

239) The Complete Plays Of Henry James

240) 20 Best Plays Of The Modern American Theatre, by John Glassner

241) Elizabethan Plays by Hazelton Spencer

242) Critics’ Choice by Jack Gaver

243) Modern American Dramas by Harlan Hatcher

244) The Album Of The Cambridge Garrick Club

European Poetry

245) A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Houseman

246) The Poetry & Prose Of Heinrich Heine by Frederich Ewen

247) The Poetical works Of John Milton, by H.C. Beeching

248) The Poetical Works Of Robert Browning (H.C. Beeching?)

249) Wordsworth by Richard Wilbur

250) The Poetical Works Of Shelley (Richard Wilbur?)

251) The Portable Blake, by William Blake

252) William Shakespeare: Sonnets, ed. Mary Jane Gorton

253) Poems Of Robert Burns, ed. Henry Meikle & William Beattie

254) The Penguin Book Of English Verse, ed. John Hayward

255) Aragon: Poet Of The French Resistance, by Hannah Josephson & Malcolm Cowley

256) Star Crossed by Margaret Tilden

American Poetry

257 and 258) Collected Sonnets by Edna St Vincent Millay (2 editions)

259) Robert Frost’s Poems by Louis Untermeyer (Marilyn befriended Untermeyer during her marriage to Arthur)

260) Poe: Complete Poems by Richard Wilbur (a 2nd copy?)

261) The Life And Times Of Archy And Mehitabel by Don Marquis

262) The Pocketbook Of Modern Verse by Oscar Williams

263) Poems by John Tagliabue

264) Selected Poems by Rafael Alberti

265) Selected Poetry by Robinson Jeffers

266) The American Puritans: Their Prose & Poetry, by Perry Miller

267) Selected Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke

268) Poet In New York by Federico Garcia Lorca

269) The Vapor Trail by Ivan Lawrence Becker (inscribed to Arthur by the author, there is also a note to MM)

270) Love Poems & Love Letters For All The Year

271) 100 Modern Poems, ed. Selden Rodman

272) The Sweeniad, by Myra Buttle

273) Poetry: A Magazine Of Verse, Vol.70, no. 6

Politics

274) The Wall Between by Anne Braden

275) The Roots Of American Communism by Theodore Draper

276) A View Of The Nation – An Anthology : 1955-1959, ed. Henry Christian

277) A Socialist’s Faith by Norman Thomas

278-279) Rededication To Freedom by Benjamin Ginzburg (2 copies)

280) The Ignorant Armies by E.M. Halliday

281) Commonwealth Vs Sacco & Vanzetti, by Robert P. Weeks

282) Journey To The Beginning by Edgar Snow

283) Das Kapital by Karl Marx

284) Lidice by Eleanor Wheeler

285) The Study Of History by Arnold Toynbee

286) America The Invincible by Emmet John Hughes

287) The Unfinished Country by Max Lerner

288) Red Mirage by John O’Kearney

289) Background & Foreground – The New York Times Magazine: An Anthology, ed. Lester Markel (a friend of MM)

290) The Failure Of Success by Esther Milner

291) A Piece Of My Mind by Edmund Wilson

292) The Truth About The Munich Crisis by Viscount Maugham

293) The Alienation Of Modern Man by Fritz Pappenheim

294) A Train Of Powder by Rebecca West

295) Report From Palermo by Danilo Dolci

296) The Devil In Massachusetts by Marion Starkey

297) American Rights: The Constitution In Action, by Walter Gellhorn

298) Night by Francis Pollini

299) The Right Of The People by William Douglas

300) The Jury Is Still Out by Irwin Davidson and Richard Gehman

301) First Degree by William Kunstler

302) Democracy In America by Alexis De Tocqueville

303) World Underworld by Andrew Varna

Prayer

304) Catechism For Young Children (1936, so may be from Norma Jeane’s childhood)

305) Prayer Changes Things (1952, inscribed to MM – perhaps from Jane Russell?)

306) The Prophet by Kahlil Bibran (a second copy?)

307) The Magic Word L.I.D.G.T.T.F.T.A.T.I.M. by Robert Collier

308) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (a third copy?)

309) His Brother’s Keeper by Milton Gross (3-page extract from Readers’ Digest, Dec 1961)

310) Christliches ergissmeinnicht by K. Ehmann

311) And It Was Told Of A Certain Potter by Walter C. Lanyon (1922, so may be from childhood. Several newspaper poems and prayers tipped in.)

312) Bahai Prayers (inscribed to MM, ‘Marilyn Monroe Maybeline. A gift for my darling Maybeline, with all my love, Charlzetta’ – dated 1961.)

Psychology

313) Man Against Himself by Karl A. Menninger

314) The Tower And The Abyss by Erich Kahler

315) Something To Live By, by Dorothea S. Kopplin

316) Man’s Supreme Inheritance by Alexander F. Matthias

317) The Miracles Of Your Mind by Joseph Murphy

318) The Wisdom Of The Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

319) A Prison, A Paradise by Loran Hurnscot

320) The Magic Of Believing by Claude M. Bristol

321) Peace Of Mind by Joshua Loth Liebman

322) The Use Of The Self by Alexander F. Matthias

323) The Power Within You by Claude M. Bristol

324) The Call Girl by Harold Greenwald

325) Troubled Women by Lucy Freeman (who later wrote ‘Why Norma Jean Killed Marilyn Monroe’)

326) Relax And Live by Joseph A. Kennedy

327) Forever Young, Forever Healthy by Indra Devi

328) The Open Self by Charles Morris

329) Hypnotism Today by Leslie Lecron & Jean Bordeaux

330) The Masks Of God: Primitive Mythology, by Joseph Campbell

331) Some Characteristics Of Today by Rudolph Steiner

Reference

332) Baby & Child Care by Dr Benjamin Spock (pub. 1958)

333) Flower Arranging For Fun by Hazel Peckinpaugh Dunlop

334) Hugo’s Pocket Dictionary: French-English And English-French

335) Spoken French For Travellers And Tourists, by Charles Kany & Mathurin Dondo

336) Roget’s Pocket Thesaurus, by C.O. Mawson & K.A. Whiting

Religion

337) What Is A Jew? by Morris Kertzer

338) A Partisan Guide To The Jewish Problem, by Milton Steinberg

339) The Tales Of Rabbi Nachman, by Martin Buber

340) The Saviours Of God: Spiritual Exercises, by Nikos Kazantzakis

341) The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran (4th copy?)

342) The Dead Sea Scrolls by Millar Burrows

343) The Secret Books Of The Egyptian Gnostics, by Jean Doresse

344) Jesus by Kahlil Gilbran

345) Memories Of A Catholic Girlhood, by Mary McCarthy

346) Why I Am Not A Christian, by Bertrand Russell

Russian Literature

347) Redemption & Other Plays by Leo Tolstoy

348) The Viking Library Portable Anton Chekhov

349) The House Of The Dead, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

350) Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

351) Best Russian Stories: An Anthology, ed. Thomas Seltzer

352) The Plays Of Anton Chekhov

353) Smoke by Ivan Turgenev

354) The Poems, Prose & Plays Of Alexander Pushkin

355) The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (not in the Christies’ catalogue. But friends of MM recall her reading it as a young actress, and she had hopes of playing Grushenka. Her own remarks in interviews make it clear that she had read the novel.)

Science

356) Our Knowledge Of The External World, by Bertrand Russell

357) Common Sense And Nuclear Warfare, by Bertrand Russell

358) Out Of My Later Years by Albert Einstein

359) Men And Atoms by William Laurence

360) Man Alive by Daniel Colin Munro (inscribed to Renna Campbell from Lorraine?)

361) Doctor Pygmalion by Maxwell Maltz

362) Panorama: A New Review, ed. R.F. Tannenbaum

363) Everyman’s Search by Rebecca Beard

364) Of Stars And Men by Harlow Shapley

365) From Hiroshima To The Moon, by Daniel Lang

366) The Open Mind by J. Robert Oppenheimer

367) Sexual Impotence In The Male, by Leonard Paul Wershub

Scripts And Readings

368) Medea by Jeffers Robinson

369) Antigone by Jean Anouilh

370) Bell, Book And Candle by John Van Druten

371) The Women by Clare Boothe

372) Jean Of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson

Travel

373) The Sawbwa And His Secretary by C.Y. Lee

374) The Twain Shall Meet by Christopher Rand

375) Kingdom Of The Rocks by Consuelo De Saint-Exupery

376) The Heart Of India by Alexander Campbell

377) Man-Eaters Of India by Jim Corbett

378) Jungle Lore by Jim Corbett

379) My India by Jim Corbett

380) A Time In Rome by Elizabeth Bowen

381) London by Jacques Boussard

382) New York State Vacationlands

383) Russian Journey by William O. Douglas

384) The Golden Bough by James G. Frazer

Women Authors

385) The Portable Dorothy Parker

386) My Antonia by Willa Cather

387) Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather

388) The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers (befriended Marilyn when she first moved to New York)

389) The Short Novels Of Colette (A second copy?)

390) The Little Disturbances Of Man by Grace Paley

Here are a few other books which weren’t included, but Monroe was reported either to have read or owned them. Most on the list are cited in the Unabridged Marilyn.

391) The Autobiography Of Lincoln Steffens (read during The Fireball)

392-403) Carl Sandburg’s 12-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln

404) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (Marilyn gave a copy to Joe after their wedding)

405) Poems Of W.B. Yeats (Marilyn read his poems aloud at Norman Rosten’s house)

406) Mr Roberts by Joyce Cary

407) The Thinking Body by Mabel Elsworth Todd

408) The Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavsky

409) The Bible

410) The Biography Of Eleanora Duse, by William Weaver

411) De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Study Of Human Bone Structure) by Andreas Vesalius

412) Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

413) Gertrude Lawrence As Mrs A, by Richard Aldrich

414) Goodnight Sweet Prince by Gene Fowler

415) Greek Mythology by Edith Hamilton

416) How Stanislavsky Directs by Mikhail Gorchakov (posted earlier by Felicia)

417) I Married Adventure by Olso Johnson

418) The Importance Of Living by Lin Yutang

419) Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (read during All About Eve)

420) Psychology Of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud

421) The Rains Came by Louis Broomfield

422) The Rights Of Man by Thomas Paine (read during some Like It Hot)

423) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

424) To The Actor by Michael Chekhov (Marilyn’s acting teacher from 1950-1955)

425) Captain Newman, M.D. (Novel based on Dr Ralph Greenson’s as an army doctor in Korea. Marilyn was said to be reading this on the week of her death.A film based on the book was released in 1963.)

426) Songs For Patricia by Norman Rosten (posted by Paju)

427) A Lost Lady by Willa Cather (Marilyn hoped to film this with her production company. But an earlier adaptation was so disappointing to the author, that she withdrew the film rights.)

428) Lust For Life by Irving Stone

429) The Deer Park by Norman Mailer (Hollywood-based novel. Marilyn commented on the book, ‘He’s too impressed by power, in my opinion.’ Mailer tried unsuccessfully to meet Marilyn, and after her death wrote several books on her.)

430) The Rebel by Albert Camus

via Booktryst

Ayun Halliday is an author whose Zinester’s Guide to NYC inspired a pretty great song of its own. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Related Content:

Marilyn Monroe Reads Joyce’s Ulysses at the Playground (1955)

Marilyn Monroe Reads Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1952)

Marilyn Monroe Explains Relativity to Albert Einstein (in a Nicolas Roeg Movie)


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Comments (19)
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  • andrekibbe says:

    “Feminist biographer Oline Eaton has a great rant on her Finding Jackie blog about the phrase “Marilyn Monroe reading,” and the 5,610,000 search engine results it yields when typed into Google”

    Methinks Eaton doth protest too much. The phrase “James Joyce reading” yields 59,100,100 Google search results. Are we to conclude that Joyce was an even greater idiot or novelty? Would she have married Arthur Miller if she had no literary interests?

    Pictures of women reading are inherently attractive to literate men. That’s the simpler explanation.

    • Guest says:

      Joyce Cary was a man, and therefore his book Mr Roberts should not be listed under Women Authors.

      Sorry this was not intended as a reply to andrekibbe but as a separate comment in its own right.

  • gary says:

    Joyce Cary was a man, and therefore his book Mr Roberts should not be listed under Women Authors. An easy mistake to make though.

  • HM8432 says:

    I saw an article once that discussed how Marilyn Monroe and Carl Sandburg were close friends, to the point of it being a father-daughter type relationship. If that’s true, it’s curious she only had his Lincoln biography, and not any of his poetry collections.

  • Balint Kornel says:

    The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens has been a favorite of mine, and would be up for props from me.

  • crazygemini12 says:

    Wow. This list is the opposite of diverse. I’d rather broaden my horizons, thanks.

  • Oliver says:

    Excellent Library – I’d be interested in purchasing her two copies of Madame bovary

  • Eric Bourland says:

    >>>74) The Portable Poe – Edgar Allen Poe

    Allan

  • janflora says:

    I was a huge Marilyn fan when I was a teen. I remember trying to read Anna Karenina then because she was such a fan of it (but I did not get far at age 13:) She wanted to play that role, but was basically told it was over her head. Which was wrong, because she was also a great dramatic actress, though we remember her more for her comedies. Acting involves intelligence, and frankly, Norma Jean Mortensen’s greatest performance was the role of Marilyn Monroe. She tricked everyone.

  • goldmourn says:

    I think Marilyn probably read a good number of the books she owned, in likelihood, given how often she was seen to be reading, to be photographed reading, to have a book in her hands in downtime. She wasn’t doing it for her image – she was quite intelligent from what I’ve read of her. I love the photographs of her reading.

  • therantguy says:

    That’s horrible photoshop job on the book she’s holding.

  • sara says:

    Joyce Cary was a man, “hanialtanbour.com/books” and therefore his book Mr Roberts should not be listed under Women Authors. An easy mistake to make though.

  • manuel says:

    Rafael Alberti and Federico Garcia lorca are American poets? OMG!!!… they are spanish poets… Spain, the european country!!

  • manuel says:

    …and Rainer Maria Rilke is -just a little- Austrian… not American… in Europe, too.

  • Julie says:

    I’m about to get started.

  • John Barnwell says:

    “Some years before her death (in Dec. ’64), Dame Edith (Sitwell) had spent a winter in Hollywood. A meeting between the poet and Marilyn was arranged by a monthly magazine. It was thought their ‘opposite’ personalities would throw off some journalistic sparks. No one could have foreseen that they would become immediate friends, nor could anyone have known that their deaths would be marked in an almost identical way — while their legends were growing in their lifetimes, they had been taken seriously by too few, too late.

    “By the time she met Dame Edith, Marilyn had come a long way. If she had not been moving in an atmosphere — much of it self-created — so removed from her beginning, they might have had nothing in common. But when the introductions were over, these new and unlikely friends were left alone and began talking of Rudolf Steiner, whose personal history, “The Course of My Life,” Marilyn was reading at the time. Dame Edith was to remark later on Marilyn’s ‘extreme intelligence.’”

    in: “Norma Jean: the Life of Marilyn Monroe,” by Fred Lawrence Guiles, McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, 1969 (pgs. 331-332)

  • kariann says:

    Marilyn was reportedly a voracious reader. Due to her high IQ, she didn’t always finish books after she had surmised its meaning because she could predict its conclusion.

  • Jim Coates says:

    316) Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander NOT “Alexander F. Matthias.”

    322) The Use Of The Self by F. Matthias Alexander NOT “Alexander F. Matthias.”

  • Linda Miller says:

    The list is, not surprisingly, incomplete. It contains only a few of the volumes of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”, and, notably, not the first (“Swann in Love”). I am so happy for her that she read this most perfect work of art, as its author would be. Many years ago when I was looking for inspiration for something to read I decided to go through the titles on MM’s bookshelves. Thanks MM. And thank you openculture.com for adding to the list. xo

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