It’s only books ’n’ shelves but I like it
SHHH! Keith Richards, the grizzled veteran of rock’n’roll excess, has confessed to a secret longing: to be a librarian. After decades spent partying in a haze of alcohol and drugs, Richards will tell in his forthcoming autobiography that he has been quietly nurturing his inner bookworm.
He has even considered “professional training” to manage thousands of books at his homes in Sussex and Connecticut, according to publishing sources familiar with the outline of Richards’s autobiography, which is due out this autumn. He has received a reported advance of $7.3m (£4.8m) for it.
The guitarist started to arrange the volumes, including rare histories of early American rock music and the second world war, by the librarian’s standard Dewey Decimal classification system but gave up on that as “too much hassle.” He has opted instead for keeping favoured volumes close to hand and the rest languishing on dusty shelves.
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In his autobiography, Life, due to be published in October, Richards will reveal how, as a child growing up in the post-war-austerity of 1950s London, he found refuge in books before he discovered the blues.
He has declared: “When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser.”
I didn't think it was possible to revere Keith Richards any more than I already did. I was wrong!
And now I learn that Keith will be appearing at the New York Public Library, speaking in the Celeste Bartos auditorium on Fifth Avenue, as part of the promotion for his memoir Life. Remind me why I left New York again? While you think of an answer, I'll check my October calendar.