June 26, 2017

Thousands of Warren Zevon’s personal books are for sale


“I think Warren just wanted to be a novelist.” —Crystal Zevon

Warren Zevon, multiple Grammy Award winner and the excitable boy himself, died in September 2003. Over the fifty-six years before that happened, he amassed a collection of books totaling comfortably in the triple digits. Now, Zevon’s ex-wife Crystal Zevon and daughter Ariel Zevon are compiling a digital catalog of the entire trove, and making it available for sale to fans. We sometimes get small insights into what our musical heroes are reading, but this is something more like unrestricted access.

According to Dan Bolles at the Vermont indie alt-weekly Seven Days, the collection is currently housed at Brookview R&R in West Barnet, VT. To survey the collection is to appreciate the full breadth of Zevon’s reading. Bolles writes:

Zevon’s collection reveals an astonishing range of interests, from philosophy and poetry to pulpy crime fiction and horror. Some books by his favorite writers, such as Graham Greene and Ross Macdonald, are inscribed with personal messages from the authors. For example, Zevon’s copy of Time Bomb by Jonathan Kellerman includes the following note, dated February 1992: “To Warren Zevon, with friendship and admiration, Jonathan Kellerman.”

The collection contains numerous tomes by the musician’s writer friends, such as—Carrie fans, take note—his pal Stephen King. “I’m pretty sure Warren had every edition of almost every book Steve wrote,” said Crystal.

Some good gets, yes. But they are also for a good cause. That’s because proceeds will go to support the Brookview R&R itself — which Crystal and Ariel run as a pay-what-you-will artist’s retreat and community center. And forgive me if I’ve buried the lede here: you can name your own price for the books as well.

Some of the titles have appeared on eBay, but as a helpful comment below the Seven Days article suggests, you can email [email protected] to request the complete catalog listing.



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.