Marilyn Monroe was a revolutionary woman of her time and has remained an influential figure even 60 years after her death.
She became famous for one thing; being a sex symbol. Because of this, she struggled to be known as anything more. Women in her time were not able to be seen as sexy, but also intelligent; apparently, people could not comprehend that one could also be the other.
When Marilyn was photographed reading, people thought the photos were staged, that she didn’t actually know how to read. If you wish to read more about this in detail, click here.
As a woman 60 years after her time, I feel deeply for her. Thankfully I do not experience the intensity of these accusations but I no doubt understand the challenges and judgments that come along with being a woman.
Marilyn found comfort in the books she read. Her genres varied from Romance, Humor, Classics, to Sigmund Freud. Here are 5 iconic novels from her library.
1. Ulysses by James Joyce
Starting off with one of the great novels of the 20th century, Ulysses by James Joyce. This novel follows Leopold Bloom during his ordinary day around Dublin. Though the book is quite long, it only documnets one day, June 16th 1904; I find this feature to be the most unique part of the novel. Also, it parallels Homer’s poem the Odyssey thus making it a modern take on a classic.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
One of my all time favorites, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. We have now come to learn that Fitzgerald stole many of his stories from his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. So if you are able to seperate the author from his writing, it is a glorious novel of love, anguish and desperation set in the dazzling 1920’s. Marilyn herself was born in 1926, and though she was quite young, I can’t image having lived in the world described in this novel.
3. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Another favorite of mine, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I read this novel multiple times in university and wrote about it constantly. I found it extrodinary and was so exctied to see it apart of Marilyn’s library. Flaubert’s novel, follows Emma Bovary as she becomes increasingly more bored with her life and her marriage. It illuminates the struggles of a woman and mother in the 19th century. I would recommend this novel to any reader, as I am sure Marilyn would as well.
4. Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson
Another splendid classic in Marilyn’s library, the Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson. She not only enjoyed novels, but she also read a great deal of poetry. This collection of poems contain some of her most famous poems including “I’m nobody! Who are you?” and “Hope is the thing with feathers”. This a fantastic collection to have if you are just starting out as a poetry reader and enjoy classic writers as Monroe did.
5. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Last but not least, another literary and Disney classic, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This whimsical, thrilling novel can ensight childhood joy in even Marilyn Monroe herself. There is so much to it that a fantifal nature, however. It deals with growth and the personification of patrental roles, rules and adulthood that always loom over childhood years. Other Lewis Carroll novels in her library were Through The Looking Glass and The Hunting Of The Snark.
Though often thought of as “just a pretty face”, Marilyn Monroe was incredibly well read. Her library consisting of hundreds of books spanning all genres. As a lover of hers, she continues to impress and surprise me.
If you enjoy Marilyn as much as I do, click here to read and see more!