Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, Norma Jean

From the always crunchy Carolyn Kellogg, writer of the Los Angeles Times’ Jacket Copy blog, comes this gorgeous item:
Norma Jean Mortenson was born on this day in 1926 right here in Los Angeles; she would endure a difficult childhood and become screen star Marilyn Monroe.

Although she often played blond bimbos, Monroe was quite a reader. There’s a photograph of Monroe reading “Ulysses” by James Joyce in what looks like down time during a playground photo shoot. Of course, since it’s Marilyn, she’s wearing a bathing suit. Such is the price of pinup-dom.

When she died in 1962, Marilyn Monroe’s library included “The Fall” by Albert Camus; a book of lectures by J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atom bomb; stories by Chekhov; Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”; Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio”; two books by Theodore Dreiser; three books by Bertrand Russell; lots of plays; “Moses and Monotheism” by Sigmund Freud; and “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert. Those are all part of Marilyn Monroe’s library as catalogued by volunteers on the Web site LibraryThing.

In 2010, Farrar, Straus and Giroux released a book of Monroe’s own writings, “Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe.” In our review, Richard Schickel noted that the book showed how much Monroe “became a devoted reader of serious literature.”

Happy 85th birthday, Marilyn Monroe.
And speaking of good reading, installment 35 of my serial novel, Forget About It, is now up and ready to be enjoyed.

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