18 August 2014

Anne Baxter's book choice

In 1978, staff members of the Marshall District Library (located in Marshall, Michigan) sent letters to celebrated people in literature, politics, television etc. asking them about their favourite books and authors. One of the many people who responded to the library's letter was actress Anne Baxter. Baxter, best known for her roles in  "All About Eve" (1950) and "The Ten Commandments" (1956), was an avid reader, and in the following letter she shares with us some of her favourite books.

Anne Baxter in one of the finest performances of her career: the role of Eve Harrington in "All About Eve" (1950).


March 22, 1978

Ms. Marion Bennett
Marshall Public Library
111 East Mansion Street
Marshall, Michigan 49068

Dear Ms. Bennett:

In principle I am against "favorite" anythings, most especially in the field of literature. It's like standing in front of a magnificent smorgasbord and having someone slap your wrist as you reach. However, I will make a stab at just a few.

In the children's department, all "The Goop" books by Gelett Burgess, particularly "Goops and How to Be Them." "Noisy Nora" by Hugh Lofting. Also his "Twilight of Magic." "Zeee", the story of an irascible fairy by my second cousin, Elizabeth Enright.

I am an avid short story reader and among my favorites are those by Thomas Mann, James Joyce's "Dubliners," anything by Colette, Willa Cather, Katherine Mansfield or Isak Dinesen. Mark Twain's "Roughing It" is delicious. I'm very keen on all of Joseph Conrad. Recently I was fortunate enough to come upon a British paperback in its 85th printing: "The Story of San Michele" by Alex Munthe. For sheer unadulterated entertainment, I highly recommend a cold night, a hot fire, some mulled wine and his unforgettable book.

Anne Baxter (signed)

P.S. Required reading: "Animal Farm" by George Orwell and "The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir.


  1. how interesting to hear Anne Baxter's choice of books.

  2. Think so too. I'm always interested in people's favourite books.

  3. What a great letter! Did you happen to stumble upon any of the other celebrity letters contributing to that librarian's list? I wonder she posted them in the library for a special event.

  4. I forgot to mention in my post that the occasion was national library week. Here is the link to all the other letters: