Marilyn Monroe Read Black Literature?

A friend of mine was kind enough to upload a few books onto my iPad. One of them happened to be The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli. I didn’t expect to be this engrossed in, nor have I ever read a Monroe biography, nor would I have picked this up on my own. I have, however, read a few biographies by Taraborrelli, specifically Call Her Miss Ross (which I loved) and Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness. If you didn’t know, I’m a fan to a few Motown biographies.

What’s funny about this particular read is that I continue to come across recent Monroe articles and news stories online. As a matter of fact, Monroe’s birthday was yesterday, June 1, 1926. Fascinating that I’ve taken such an interest in this book right around the time of her birth. Anyway, I’ve learned some interesting things about Monroe. Of course, I didn’t grow up in this time period, and again, I’ve never read any other biographies on the entertainer, so I’m nearly a clean slate. In the course of my reading I’ve learned that the maternal side of her family is crazy, she grew up without a father and never really knew for sure who he was, and she was once a prostitute. To go on, her first husband dubbed her a sex freak (but turned out to be a liar supposedly) and he also tried to end her future in modeling with talks of baby making. That’s just to name a few tidbits. But of good note, Marilyn had an interest in books.

In a recent article titled, “Marilyn Monroe: Actress, Icon, and Bibliophile,” the author mentions:

Her not-so-casual reading habits (along with her marriage to Arthur Miller) have contributed to our suspicion that Marilyn was a hard-core bibliophile. In honor of her birthday, we decided to find out the extent of her love affair with books. Turns out, it was no casual fling. Her passion for the written word was her most deep and enduring relationship. So, in honor of her birthday, we’ve chosen a few highlights from her extensive personal library for your summer reading list. (Click here to view the full list of her books, recently auctioned off, among other personal effects, by Christies). If the selections seem a little daunting for a beach read, keep in mind that Marilyn would not have allowed herself to consume fluff in her leisure time. So neither should you.

Topping the mentioned list of books appears a copy of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Who would have thought? And with over 400 books in a previously auctioned collection, all with their original binding and her notations, I’m sure that there were other books by African American authors in that stack. Maybe? Like most of her past, we can only suspect.

Happy reading, y’all.


8 thoughts on “Marilyn Monroe Read Black Literature?

  1. Pe inace and Blessings to you, This is interesting. I just thought Marilyn was a sex symbol with nothing going on in the mind. But i was wrong to judge the book by the cover, No pun intended. I’m impressed to know she was an intelligent woman with a thurst for knowledge. I’ve always been inrersted in J. Randy Taborelli’s work as a writer, Being a hughe Michael Jackson and Jackson Five fan. Read the Marvin Gaye Divided Soul, Michael Jackson the music the madness. I have Invisable Man on my list of many books to read. I will now be checking for more Marilyn Biographies. Thanks for the post. Looking forward to more. Like this blog.


  2. Sounds interesting although I’m not a fan of non-fiction. Have you read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates? I think she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. It’s about Marilyn but I gather there is a twist to it.


      1. Just finished reading Unbroken. It’s about an American WWII hero, who was captured in the Pacific. He really survived some stuff! That will be enough realitty for me for a while.


  3. I definitely want to know more. I wish you could share a few more tidbits. I’m not particularly interested in her, but I’m interested in facts about people. I’m not sure if that makes any sense at all. Anyways, great post!


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