Annie Leibovitz, Susan at the House on Hedges Lane (1988), Brooklyn Museum
Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004)
She was bookish almost from birth. At three, she was reading; at nine, living in Los Angeles, she was browsing Poe, Hugo and “Hamlet” in the Pickwick bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard; at 14, she discovered Thomas Mann. Each book was “a door to a whole kingdom”. In later life, when she had acquired 25,000 of them, ranged along every wall and corridor of her spartan apartment in New York, she would spend time simply pacing in front of them, thinking of all they contained.
Excerpted from The Economist.