Bookish people tend to like a good list. A list of books by your favourite author, or even better selections of titles that they would recommend, the latest prize lists too. There are also books scribbled down on a piece of paper whilst in a bookshop and in my case the never-ending list of books that is my TBR. What is even better is being able to sneak a look at the list that other people have made, it is like being given an hour to examine their shelves in minute detail.
Alex Johnson has collected together a whole pile of lists (does anyone know what the collective term for a list of lists is?) of famous and some infamous people of books that they have loved or owned. Beginning with the books that we know so far from Bin Laden’s bookshelf, some are still secret, we venture forth into the literary realms of presidents, prime ministers, famous authors, pop stars and even a footballer, yes really. Libraries feature heavily as you’d expect, and there are lists of books from prisons, books from films, books in telephone boxes and even books that have never been written.
There is some overlap between the different lists, but each of them reflects the people or place that they represent, Each book list comes with a short and useful overview from Johnson about the individual and a little insight as to why those particular books appear on that list. I did like the fact that Scoot of Antarctic fame too an ‘essential’ 1000 books with him on one exhibition. It does have a certain charm and I now have a few more ideas for books to read.