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Amy Winehouse’s much-loved book collection goes on display

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair will be showing 50 books from Amy Winehouse’s personal library collection in an upcoming exhibition in New York.

Have you always wanted to see the books that Amy Winehouse read in her downtime? Well, now you can. A collection of books that Winehouse loved, read, and re-read – going by the well-thumbed pages of some of the books – is going on display at The New York Antiquarian Book Fair this April.

From JD Salinger to Jackie Collins, Amy Winehouse gathered an eclectic and varied book collection.

Amy Winehouse Books
Credit: Type Punch Matrix

A self-confessed avid and passionate reader, who liked the sauciness of a Jackie Collins book as much as she did the literary realist stylings of Dostoevsky, Winehouse says she always had a book on the go at any given time, especially when she was on the road.

In a 2007 interview, she told The Guardian  “I never travel without a good book. I read a lot when I’m traveling and always have a couple of books on the go. I read all sorts of stuff, but this week I bought an anthology of graphic fiction because I love graphic novels and cartoons, and another copy of Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold – a great novel. I also bought Alexei Sayle’s Barcelona Plates, which I’m looking forward to reading. I could spend a lot of time in bookshops just browsing.”

If you’re interested in checking out the late singer’s collection, you can view a selection of her books at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, where the rare book company Type Punch Matrix who purchased the majority of the books,  will have 50, of the 220 that they acquired from Winehouse’s estate on display

Type Punch Matrix said they had a fight on their hands to keep the collection together, as they came up for sale in separate lots. Co-founder of Type Punch Matrix, Rebecca Romney commented “This was a collection that deserved, as much as possible, to stay together. Not only because they spoke biographically about Winehouse’s life, but also because they spoke to her work as an artist and as a writer.”

Amy Winehouse Book
Credit: Type Punch Matrix

Making the collection all the more special, many of the books are filled with Winehouse’s doodles, lyrics, and musings.  

The collection includes well-read classics, J.D. Salinger, Elmore Leonard, Jackie Collins, as well as an annotated Little Shop of Horrors script from Winehouse’s high school days, and a copy of  Allen Ginsberg’s Howl with partial song lyrics penned on the inside pages. Among the books are gifts from friends (such as a photobook inscribed by Dave LaChapelle, who directed her music video for Tears Dry on Their Own).  Winehouse’s beloved grandmother’s email is penned on a bookmark; the guestlist for a party is written on the last page of a book;  and in another, there is an admissions stamp from one of the hospitals where Winehouse was once admitted. 

Type Punch Matrix co-founder Brian Cassidy notes, “The collection offers an intimate, tender, and revealing look into the intersection of the public and private lives of one of the most indelible musical artists of the 21st century.”

Cassidy describes the close connection that Winehouse had with the collection,  “Looking the books over, you could easily recognize the teenager who loved Salinger, but also the nerd who collected graphic novels, the budding vocalist studying multiple Frank Sinatra biographies, and the touring musician just looking for a good read to pass the time on the road.”

The collection will be on view at the  62nd Annual New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, April 21st-24th at the Park Avenue Armory, New York.