Our new lockdown game: judging famous people by their bookshelves

From the Duchess of Cambridge’s canonical classics to Jon Snow’s eclectic collection, social isolation has opened a window on celebrity libraries

Lockdown Britain has added a new dimension to one of readers’ favourite games: nosing around other people’s shelves. With broadcasters and politicians addressing the nation from their own front rooms, it has become easier than ever. Now we don’t even have to go to someone’s home (fortunate in these times) to judge them by their reading habits. Now the libraries of the famous are laid bare for us all to mock or admire.

What does it tell us about Boris Johnson, for example, that he has a collection of big, gold-lettered, red-spined hardbacks that look as if they’ve come straight from the fabled library of Alexandria? Or that Prince Charles keeps a hefty Dick Francis close at hand? MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt and the Washington Post’s White House reporter Seung Min Kim both arrange their books by colour, it seems. Joe Wicks has beautiful shelves with … no books on them. And a screenshot of the “first ever digital cabinet”, shared by the PM, suggests that Jacob Rees-Mogg has one of those dream libraries with dark wood shelves and ladders on wheels.

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