Professor Wu's Rulebook

Book obsessed: the 430 books of Marilyn Monroe’s personal library

To Marilyn Monroe, books were "a refuge and a companion" - and she collected over 400 volumes in her lifetime.
Marilyn Monroe, photographed by Eve Arnold, 1955.

What is the first photograph that comes to mind when you think of Marilyn Monroe? Sam Shaw’s subway grate photo, or Eve Arnold’s image of the superstar in a playground in Amagansett reading James Joyce’s Ulysses?

Of the two, we know which Monroe herself would have preferred you to remember – thanks to the collection of poems, notes and letters she wrote that have been collated together in Fragments, a book first published in 2010 and edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment.

As Sam Kashner, in a review of Fragments for Vanity Fair, notes:

“If some photographers thought it was funny to pose the world’s most famously voluptuous ‘dumb blonde” with a book—James Joyce! Heinrich Heine!—it wasn’t a joke to her. In these newly discovered diary entries and poems, Marilyn reveals a young woman for whom writing and poetry were lifelines, the ways and means to discover who she was and to sort through her often tumultuous emotional life. And books were a refuge and a companion for Marilyn during her bouts of insomnia.”

Indeed, it quickly becomes apparent, through both Fragments and other essays and articles available online, that Monroe was so much more than this “dumb blonde” image many men – including her husband, the playwright Arthur Miller – seemed to think she could never be more than. And it turns out that, despite “bowling over” novelist Saul Bellow during a dinner for the premiere of Some like it Hot with her intelligence and wit, Miller wrote in his diary that he was “embarrassed” and “disappointed” by her. 

Unlike men, however, books do not scrutinize; they do not judge. The cares of the world can melt away as you discover entire new universes. And so it seems that Monroe sought solace in the world of books – becoming close friends with writer Truman Capote and amassing a personal library of some 430 books.

Marilyn Monroe, photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

The photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt would capture Monroe in this happy literary cocoon for Life magazine, dressed in white slacks and a black top, curled up on her sofa in front of a shelf of some hundreds of her own personal books. In another photo, she reads the poetry of Heinrich Heine on a sofa bed.

Now, there’s still possibly something both voyeuristic and essentially condescending about any perceived fascination with photographs of Monroe reading. As Feminist biographer Oline Eaton writes (in a really top rant on her Finding Jackie blog):

“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.”

So, while you’re free to trawl through the some 18.4 million search engine results that you’ll find if looking for pictures of Monroe reading a book (and there are a couple in this article itself, of course), we wanted to focus instead on the literary world of Monroe herself.

There are countless booklists out there; entire sub-reddits full of them. And we all have our own mountainous ‘To be read’ piles of books waiting to be opened, some of which we never will (but may lie about having read anyway). So while we can’t be sure you’ll read every single one of the 430 books in Monroe’s personal library – or even fully sure that she read every single one herself (after all, have you read all the books on your bookshelves?) – we’ve gone through the various resources on the intranet that compile the full list and collated the list here.

The first 390 in the list are taken from auctioneer’s Christie’s, who, in 1999, sold these books from Marilyn’s personal library, a roster of classics ranging from Proust to Hemingway, which publicly solidified her intellectual identity and provided hard evidence against all those who claimed the plentitude of reading photographs were staged.

How many of Monroe’s books have you read? Cross-reference your reading history with Monroe’s books listed here below:

  • 1) Let’s Make Love by Matthew Andrews
  • 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
  • 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
  • 42) The New Joy Of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer & Marion Rombauer-Becker
  • 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
  • 50) The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone by Tennessee Williams
  • 51) Camino Real by Tennessee Williams
  • 52) A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • 53) The Flower In Drama And Glamour by Stark Young
    • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    • 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
  • 167) The Story Of Esther Costello by Nicholas Montsarrat
  • 168) Oh Careless Love by Maurice Zolotow
  • 169) Add A Dash Of Pity by Peter Ustinov
  • 170) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  • 171) The Mark Of The Warrior by Paul Scott
  • 172) The Dancing Bear by Edzard Schaper
  • 173) Miracle In The Rain by Ben Hecht
  • 174) The Guide by R.K. Narayan
  • 175) Blow Up A Storm by Garson Kanin
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 217) Three Famous French Romances
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 305) Prayer Changes Things
  • 306) The Prophet by Kahlil Bibran  
  • 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 (it seems Monroe had multiple copies of this book)
  • 309) His Brother’s Keeper by Milton Gross
  • 310) Christliches ergissmeinnicht by K. Ehmann
  • 311) And It Was Told Of A Certain Potter by Walter C. Lanyon
  • 312) Bahai Prayers
    • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    • 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
  • 389) The Short Novels Of Colette
  • 390) The Little Disturbances Of Man by Grace Paley
    • Here are a few other books which weren’t included on her shelves, 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
  • 392-403) Carl Sandburg’s 12-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln
  • 404) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  • 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
  • 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
  • 420) Psychology Of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud
  • 421) The Rains Came by Louis Broomfield
  • 422) The Rights Of Man by Thomas Paine
  • 423) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  • 424) To The Actor by Michael Chekhov
  • 425) Captain Newman, M.D.
  • 426) Songs For Patricia by Norman Rosten
  • 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 (Marilyn commented on the book, ‘He’s too impressed by power, in my opinion.’)
  • 430) The Rebel by Albert Camus

Finally, we’ll end with a quote from Monroe on how she came to choose the books that she stacked on her shelves:

“[On] nights when I’ve got nothing else to do I go to the Pickwick bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard,” she explained to a friend. “And I just open books at random—or when I come to a page or a paragraph I like, I buy that book.”

Perhaps an approach we could all take the next time we’re in a bookstore to help fill our lives with a little more literature.

Big thanks to the Everlasting Star community for pulling this list together.

7 comments

  1. I love that she was a closet bookworm with an incredibly high IQ…the male brain simply can’t deal well with smart women who also look like goddesses…I hope it has become easier for smart and beautiful women, but I’m not so sure.

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    1. Apparently she and a female friend once wrote a list of men they’d like to sleep with and top of her list was Albert Einstein. The patriarchy doesn’t want people to think it’s possible for women to be intellectually independent…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sold on that whole idea of a definable unit known as the patriarchy that oppresses women. The idea that all men are the same and all women are the same is patently ridiculous. But definitely, if she was born during our era, she would have been celebrated for her brains and her beauty.

    Like

  3. I am very appreciative that FRAGMENTS ,Marilyn”s personal poems created a safe harbour for MM works and a tribute to her lust for wonderful print worlds she navigated in .

    Liked by 1 person

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