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What do Tupac and F. Scott Fitzgerald have in common?

May 2, 2008 |  2:32 pm


The classic novelist and iconic rapper were both avid readers, and both of their libraries have been publicly catalogued. Now volunteers have added them to the library-sharing site Librarything. Other authors who've gotten the treatment are John Adams, Sylvia Plath, John Muir and Ernest Hemingway; in-progress are the book collections of James Joyce, Charles Darwin and Rembrandt.

Librarything is a lot like goodreads; although it isn't as technically showy, it came first and seems to be a little more fun. The people who started the famous-persons-libraries project have named their group "I See Dead People['s Books]." Nice.

Sadly, Fitzgerald and Shakur didn't have any books in common. Tupac's collection reflects an interest in African American poetry, spiritual searching (books on Buddha, the Kabbalah, the Tibetan "Book of the Dead") and practical guides for the music business.  Fitzgerald -- whose collection of 322 books is hard to categorize -- apparently read some contemporaries (Sherwood Anderson) while avoiding others (Ernest Hemingway). Hmm... bad blood? Competitive? A question of taste?

Librarything is like going to a cocktail party at someone's house and wandering off to check out their books. Thanks to the Very Short List for showing me the way.

Carolyn Kellogg