Drooling Over Libraries


20 Celebrities with Stunning Home Libraries

Pictures of books make me sit up and pay attention.

I can critique libraries as enthusiastically as any fashionista can pan and praise the red carpet dresses.

Here are my favorites:


Nigella Lawson’s library is definitely used.

It could use a little order, but this picture makes me comfortable.

I understand the stacks.


The books look read. I like this. I like the guitar playing too.

Well done, Keith Richards!


Jimmy Stewart’s – I loved the books, but not the furniture.

Too much chintz, it that’s what it is.


Julianne Moore’s – Light and inviting space.  Good chairs.


Tory Burch’s – Comfortable. I could see some serious reading

at the table, and casual reading in the chairs.


Michael Jackson’s – Polished wood, fireplace, chairs.

What’s not to like?



I did not like:


Oprah’s – I know Oprah reads.

But, a designer did this library based on color.

So many linear feet of red books.

While I like the idea of books as decoration,

I don’t like it when they are *solely* for decoration.



Jane Fonda’s – The books do look read, but the space

is sterile and barren.


Sting’s – I love the idea of a two-floor library.

But. This looks like it is strictly for show.  No thanks.


How to Justify a Private Library


I could not resist posting an excerpt from this witty essay by Umberto Eco from How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays. (I separated some of the larger paragraphs for easier reading. The color and bold parts are also my doing. Just helping Umberto out.)  I can’t think why this one resonated with me.

…people who possess a fairly sizable library (large enough in my case that someone entering the house can’t help but notice it; actually, it takes up the whole place).

The visitor enters and says, “What a lot of books! Have you read them all?”

At first I thought that the question characterized only people who had scant familiarity with books, people accustomed to seeing a couple of shelves with five paperback mysteries and a children’s encyclopedia, bought in installments.  But experience has taught me that the same words can be uttered also by people above suspicion.

It could be said that they are still people who consider a bookshelf as a mere storage place for already-read books and do not think of the library as a working tool.  But there is more to it than that. I believe that, confronted  by a vast array of books, anyone will be seized by the anguish of learning, and will inevitably lapse into asking the question that expresses his torment and his remorse.

[Now] I have fallen back on the riposte: “No, these are the ones I have to read by the end of the month. I keep the others in my office,” a reply that on the one hand suggests a sublime ergonomic strategy, and on the other leads the visitor to hasten the moment of his departure.    ~ 1990