Book Fetish

THE BOOK RIOT 50: #10 Libraries of the Rich and Famous

To celebrate Book Riot’s  first birthday on Monday, we’re running our best 50 posts from our first year this week. Click here for the running list. This post was originally a three-part series that ran in March and April of this year.

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As I’ve been unpacking boxes and realizing that I don’t even have enough bookshelves to put my books on, I decided to torture myself and look at homes of people who can dedicate an entire room to being a library (most likely with the help of an uber-expensive designer to organize and make it look scrumptious). Would you like to be tortured too? Brace yourself…

Karl Lagerfield’s Personal Library: Not as cozy as I would pick for my own, but I would pay money to look through those titles… that’s a LOAD of books, folks! Aren’t you the least bit curious what is on those shelves?

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Diane Keaton’s Personal Library: Loving the lighting, loving the colors, the writing on the wall is pretty cool — but where are the chairs? I like to be able to sit down while perusing (or reading, for that matter). 

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Woody Allen’s Personal Library: Although I’m highly disgusted when someone marries their daughter (please, people… he helped raise her – adoptive/step-daughter/what-ever-kind-of-name-you-put-in-front-of-the-word daughter equals daughter), his library rocks. It’s comfortable, cozy, and old-school east coast-looking; love it. 

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Keith Richards’ Personal Library: This is a sweet personal library, but really… what did we expect from Keith Richards. I would really like to know what he has on his shelves. 

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William Randolph Hearst’s Library: This is a dream of a library.  If it was mine, I would invite all of my friends over and we would have a big library party; everyone would be offered something to nosh on and then instructed find a place in the room and be super quiet while we all enjoyed devouring the books. Rocking party, I know… that’s how I roll. 

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Here we are again… you didn’t think I’d leave you hanging with only one installment of fabulous libraries did you? What if we pooled together money and created a house where there were no rooms what-so-ever beside libraries? All different, all wonderful, all ours? Divine. Let’s get going on that, shall we? In the meantime, grab a napkin because you’re about to be drooling over these lovelies…

Thanks to a reader from last week pointing out Neil Gaiman’s library to me. HELLO, this man reads. Think he’s read all of these, or might some of these be his to-be-read shelves?!?

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Sting’s library at the top of his staircase in London is beautiful. Very law school-philosophy vibe going on here… I dig it. Do you?

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Um, yes please! This is the library of designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka’s in their weekend house. I’ll take the weekend house and the library. The black painted wood adds a modern twist to this library, and I enjoy that they combined an eating area with their books. In fact, I think this would inspire me to have a reading dinner party. Wine, books, friends, and a game guessing passages from books? I’m there.

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Here is Julia Child’s personal library from when she lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This cozy, warm, neutral-toned library makes me want to curl up next to that fireplace and get lost in a book — or possibly a conversation with Julia and Paul about the books they own. Can you imagine the books that must be in that library? Paul was known as a very smart, well read man… I’m sure they have some treasures in there. If the walls could speak.

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This by far is my favorite library we’ve featured, and probably my favorite personal library that I’ve ever seen. It belongs to Professor Richard A. Macksey. Macksey is an author in his own right along with being a well-known, beloved professor at Johns Hopkins University, and co-founder of the university’s Humanities Center. He is the owner of one of the largest personal libraries in the state of Maryland, with over 70,000 ($4 million worth) books and manuscripts along with art work. Macksey’s course on Proust is famous among underground students at Johns Hopkins, and he is known to hold graduate level courses in his famous library.

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Apparently Parts One and Two weren’t enough for you – you wanted more. Don’t we all? More books, more nooks, more time to read. Here are four more extravagant libraries to whet your appetites. Now, if I could just figure out how to get inside of one of these grand ladies, I’d be a happy girl. 

Harlan Crow, real estate magnate from Dallas, Texas. It is said that he has a collection of over 8,000 books and 3,500 manuscripts, along with a collection of artwork, photographs, and correspondence. His library also contains a deed to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, as well as a silver tankard created by Paul Revere. US History fanatics… welcome to heaven. 

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Welcome to Skywalker Ranch – a residence of director and producer George Lucas. “A filmmaker’s retreat.” Lucas conducts a large portion of his business on his land. The home also boasts man-made Lake Ewok, a 300-seat theater, and its own fire station. The ranch is not open to the public, so we’ll all just have to hold our breath until we garner an invitation to read. 

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Readers from the last two posts have called out for this personal library to be showcased. Jay Walker is an inventor, entrepreneur, and chairman of Walker Digital. The founder of Priceline didn’t take price into account when building his personal library (bad pun?), did he? It’s said that Walker’s home was built around his library! Now that’s my kind of architecture. It would be a disservice to not lead you to an in depth article about this library. Caution: don’t forget to breathe while looking at the photos. 

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This is the library of the Biltmore House, the largest privately owned home in the United States. This is a Vanderbilt house (are you surprised?) built by George Washington Vanderbilt II. In a house that boasts 135,000 square feet and 250 rooms, I’m sure it would be easy to find somewhere quiet and cozy to read if this ornate room isn’t your style. 

 

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