The Bernie Madoff book collection
It’s always interesting to find out what books people own, it gives you a small window into someone’s life and places their interests, passions, and sense of humor on display. Most of my colleagues and I have admitted that when we get invited into someone’s home, we will often scan over our hosts bookshelves, just to see what makes them tick.
I also have a soft spot for famous people who are noted collectors, such as Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Johnny Depp. Since these folks are usually so private I feel like this is a somewhat less intrusive way to get to know what they are like. Which is why I found the story in todays LA Times so facinating; it seems that Bernie Madoff was a book collector of sorts. After being convicted for heading up a Ponzi scheme which defrauded investors of millions of dollars, Madoff was sent to prison and had many of his belongings sized and auctioned off in lots by U.S. Marshalls, and now a number of books from those lots are finding their way to online auction sites allowing us to see the books he owned.
Apparently Madoff had lots of fiction by authors like Philip Roth, E.L. Doctorow, Norman Mailer, Elie Wiesel, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Margaret Atwood as well as poetry collections by Emily Dickinson, Lord Byron and Edna St. Vincent Millay. But as always a little irony goes a long way to create some good humor, Madoff also owned:
Riding the Rap by Elmore Leonard
Black Money by Michael Thomas
When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein
Original Sin by P.D. James
The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
Disclosure by Michael Crichton
Deception by Philip Roth
and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky