Fearless Reader

Meet Rosalie Maggio, who's read more than 10,000 books


| November / December 2005


Consider author Rosalie Maggio for a Nobel Prize in Reading. The compiler of The Beacon Book of Quotations by Women and The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women tells us she's read 9,592 books by women and 747 books by men, though the latter figure dates only from around 1997 (and both numbers have undoubtedly grown by the time you read this). Maggio knows exact figures because she maintains lists.

'I have to check [the lists] to see if I've read something,' she says. 'So many books are familiar, but I don't know if it's because of reading them or reading about them.'

Lest anyone assume that all Maggio does is sit around and read books, we'll set the record straight. She also gardens at her home in the mountains of Southern California, travels (to Iowa and Paris), corresponds voluminously, writes books and screenplays (one current project is based on the life of French aviatrix Marie Marvingt), engages in local politics, and spends time with her husband and three adult children. Among other things.

If Maggio seems modest about having reading more than 10,000 books ('That's not really very many, is it?' she asks), perhaps it's because she still has so many books to read.