Most people who come across this photo of Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses are bound to have one of two reactions. If you’re the kindly sort, you’ll say ‘Huh. Good for Marilyn. I wonder if she finished it…’ But if you’re as cynical as I am, it’s not hard to imagine a photographer handing her the book as a prop and saying ‘Here. Pretend you’re reading this. That’s it. Now turn to the left.”
Now, I’m not saying people actually read everything they’ve got on their bookshelves, but it turns out ol’ Marilyn was a little more bookish than she’s given credit for. Only 250 of her books were catologued when her estate went up for auction a few years ago, but those 250 titles have been entered in over at LibraryThing for the rest of us to peruse. There are more than a few surprises in there for those of us who tend to stereotype the dumb blonde: Lectures by Oppemnheimer, Essays by Einstein... Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Checkov and Tolstoy- and that's only looking at the first 50 or so. Take a look.
It kind of reminds me of this wonderful snapshot of Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart: