Library Thing’s
‘Dead People’s Books’

Any sane writer with a rare chance to tour a literary hero’s estate is going to sneak a hungry peek at the bookshelves. In few other places—among the polished chairs, antique vases and other stuffy artifacts—can you find such an authentic portal into the writing mind. What insights might we gain by seeing that James Bond creator Ian Fleming was a fan of Freud? Or that Darwin dug the more obscure works of Alexander Graham Bell (Memoir Upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race, anyone)?

At LibraryThing (librarything.com), tagged as “the world’s largest book club,” users can post their personal libraries online and connect with people who like the same books. Among them, a project titled “I See Dead People’s Books” gives you access to the personal libraries of notable figures ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Tupac Shakur.

We introduce our new InkWell feature by spotlighting selections from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stash of 322 books:

Dubliners by James Joyce, 1922
The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad, 1919 (inscribed by Zelda Sayre, and with two portraits in pencil)
Beginners’ French Conversation by Jules Helein, 1921
The Captive by Marcel Proust, 1929 (Fitzgerald’s copy with manuscript annotations)
Der Grosse Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1928
Esquire, Autumn 1933 to May 1934. Vol. I
Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx, 1937
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, 1919
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, 1925
North of Boston by Robert Frost, 1916
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 1915
Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald, 1932
Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, 1905
The Trial and Death of Socrates; Being the Euthyphron, Apology, Crito and Phædo of Plato by Plato, 1910
The Witch-Cult in Western Europe; a Study in Anthropology by Margaret Alice Murray, 1921
Works by Edgar Allan Poe, 1881
Where Paris Dines: With Information About Restaurants of All Kinds, Costly and Cheap, Dignified and Gay, Known and Litt by Julian Street, 1929

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