I recently received a comment inquiring 'What kind of books do rich people read?' But since every human being whether rich or poor is different in their tastes and interests, there's really no way to give a generalized answer, right? What I can tell you, however, is that rich people have books in their homes, and lots of them.
Most of us have bookshelves, whether we live in a small apartment, a modest home, or a mansion. But it's become fashionable among millionaires and billionaires to have an enormous private home library, with floor to ceiling shelves filled with thousands of books. Just check this Google Image link to see exactly what I'm talking about here.
These home libraries are certainly grand and beautiful to the eye. However, unless they're in the home of a professor or scholar, they don't really make sense, do they? Aside from using books as decorations, they are meant for one thing - to impress someone. They make the statement "We are respectable, grounded, intelligent, thoughtful, inquisitive and decidedly well read!"
But not necessarily true. These libraries are not a life-long collection of seriously-studied books that shape the owners' souls.They are created by interior designers who purchase the books by the yard to fill the empty shelves in these empty-headed rooms.
The upper shelves always have extensive collections of matching, color-coordinated encyclopedias, law books and such. Then lower down, there are yards and yards of exquisitely bound books on any topic under the sun. But on the eye-level shelves, the books are generally supposed to reflect the owners' real interests in life - hunting, traveling, music, pre-Colombian art, whatever. But the thing is, these shelves can easily be manipulated to impress people with embellished interests beyond the owners' true experience and exposure.
If you've been reading this blog for very long I think you'll agree that I'm not too often critical of the rich. But these phony libraries really get my goat. They are in fact a graveyard for books - never touched, never pulled out, never read. And they rarely provide a true glimpse into the owners' souls.
In the house where I currently work there is indeed one of these designer showroom libraries. But I'm relieved to tell you that upstairs in the private living quarters there are also floor-to-ceiling shelves carelessly crammed with books that are actually read. You'll find all the latest offerings from the New York Times Bestseller List and titles directly related to my employers' personal interests and business affairs. Non-fiction certainly seems dominant over fiction. And getting closer to an answer for "What do rich people read", in this house you won't find any of the popular genres such as romance novels, murder mysteries, westerns, horror or science fiction.
So I'm going to stick my neck out here, not extrapolating this to all rich people, and say that the reading habits of my current employers are seemingly on the serious side. Which is a good thing, in my opinion, as they present themselves as leaders and pillars of the community..
Thanks for stopping by tonight.
As a fan of reading myself, a passion that was engendered when I was at such an age the video I found to be delightful, as far as the books being just another mere piece of decor I was slightly torn between horror at the falsehood ad well as bemusement at the cheeky ploy.ReplyDelete
Another interesting read and I look forward to reading more, Weather is just starting to feel a break toward winter here, any big plan to prepare for the season forthcoming?
Hello, M. Barker,Delete
Thanks for sharing that. And "horror" is a good word to use regarding books being used to create a false image and impression. Abhorent is a good word too, ha!
My employers are not getting along these days, so I think the holiday events will be subdued this year. We'll see.
Thanks for visiting, and for your comment.
Thank you for writing about this. It may sound strange but I have ALWAYS wonder about this very thing. I've been some of those pictures you linked to and wondered, "How can they possibly read all those books? Are they even real? Does the decorator buy them?" and etc. Now I finally know!ReplyDelete
Hey, Andrew. How've you been?Delete
Glad to shed some light on the subject. Honestly, books-by-the-yard makes me sick to my stomach! Ha! How did we get to this place? And why?
Decorators apparently rule. Even Half-Price-Books has an online offering of books-by-the-yard. Dear God!
Thanks for stopping by. Always good to hear from you.
You know, as an avid reader and someone who dabbles in writing from time to time, I just find this almost perverse. It would be one thing if the decorator bought them because he/she thought they might appeal to them and they actually read them. If they're just sitting on a bookshelf collecting dust (Not literally, of course. I know you run a clean house!) it just seems like such a waste. That seems to be the recurrent theme though, huh? So much waste in the world of the rich.Delete
My feelings, as well. But book "re-printers" who manufacturer nicely-bound books to be "looked at" on designer shelves is a separate industry from legitimate publishers who print books to be read.Delete
Having said that, it's still a waste as you say, and annoys me no end.
After reading your post on family photos, I decided to take a peek on this post too, and am fascinated by the level of image manipulation the rich partake in.
Out of curiosity, what type of books do they display? Are they all hard-bound? Does paper back have a place in the lives of the rich, or is it limited edition all the way?
You're right, Karen. Image manipulation is a constant, ongoing struggle both for the rich and the super rich--just to stay on "top", whatever that means to them.Delete
As for the books: in the downstairs phony library, yes all the unread books are hard bound, with fancy illustrated spines. But in the private upstairs quarters, I'm happy to say the shelves are filled with paperbacks--all the latest from the NY Times bestseller list and other topics of interest to them and their careers.