The Books in Marilyn’s Library


We know that you can find plenty of photos showing Marilyn Monroe all glammed-out in her Hollywood attire, but there may be even more of the sex symbol… reading. Even if you only take a cursory look at Monroe’s candid video footage and photo archives, one of the first things you will see is the ‘reader’ that she was.  Marilyn was very curious by nature, always asking, always searching, always learning.  A far cry from the ‘dumb blonde’ persona she put on for the public.  She once said that “It takes a smart brunette to play a dumb blonde.”  And, that was so true. Marilyn was smart.  She had a very high I.Q. and never backed away from reading, growing and learning.

According to OpenCulture, when Monroe died in 1962 she left around 400 books behind. Some time later, many of them were auctioned off by Christie’s in New York City.  Now on LibraryThing you can get a look at 262 of those books.  Some of her collection included Ulysses by James Joyce, Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie, The Roots Of American Communism by Theodore Draper (a risky title to keep around given the stance that J. Edgar Hoover was taking), The Bible, How To Travel Incognito by Ludwig Bemelmans, The Little Engine That Could, and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. She also had a number of books that appealed to her domestic side.  She had some books on cooking, including The Joy of Cooking; and she was ever hopeful for a child of her own one day and had the book Baby & Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock.


Upon the release of Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters in 2010, Sam Kashner wrote in Vanity Fair:

     “Several photographs taken of Marilyn earlier in her life—the ones she especially liked—show her reading. Eve Arnold photographed her for Esquire magazine in a playground in Amagansett reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. Alfred Eisenstaedt photographed her, for Life, at home, dressed in white slacks and a black top, curled up on her sofa, reading, in front of a shelf of books—her personal library, which would grow to 400 volumes. In another photograph, she’s on a pulled-out sofa bed reading the poetry of Heinrich Heine.

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.”

Some of the most cherished photos by a public who still love and adore her, are not of her standing over subway grates, but are  of her curled up with a good book, reading.  This is the essence of the Marilyn Monroe who is the center figure in our newest book, Fateful Night, book one of the What She Knew Trilogy.  The book is being published by Master Koda Select Publishing and should debut mid April of this year.  Book two, Darkest Day, will be out shortly after, mid May or so; with book three following closely behind.  Our Marilyn is real, raw and strong.  She lives through our historical fiction novel in a way we are sure will  thrill her fans and honor her legacy.

Fateful Night Syringe

Here is a sneak peek at the cover.  We’ll keep you posted on actual release dates, signings, and launch parties.


K.R. and T.L.

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Twitter – @whatsheknewbook

Facebook – whatsheknew


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