Publicist Patrice Samara Asks: What’s In Your Library?

New York, N.Y.  Jim Luce is the founder of the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation. In pursuit of a better world, he left corporate America – twice, testified in Congress, and helped raise millions in cash, services, and gifts-in-kind for the unfortunate.

He serves as past president of his local Toastmasters chapter and has received awards for his work with orphans, HIV & AIDS prevention, and the homeless. Luce has been twice awarded the Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his work. He writes for the New York Times and the Huffington Post.

unnamedJim Luce posing in front of his library in his home/office in New York City.

What does your library mean to you?

My library is my life. It represents everywhere that I have been, physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and everywhere I hope to go. It represents every continent, every faith, every era – from Ancient Greece to the United Nations, from the Social Gospel to the Koran, from Buddha to Gandhi, Churchill, King, and Romero. It also teaches me how to organize and categorize – is it “Literature, France,” or “France, Literature”?

How many books are in your library?

I used to have 2,000 volumes collected over a lifetime, including my college thesis, books by and about my family, and Time-Life and National Geographic volume sets. Years ago, I gave half to the thrift shop. That was one of the hardest curating projects of my life! I actually have an excel spreadsheet for each book by title and author with the Library of Congress number. Don’t call me obsessive…

What is your favorite genre?

History, biography, and that Mary Renault-like combinations of historical fiction. I majored in East Asian Studies with a focus on contemporary Japanese fiction, and have studied in several languages. I have Gabriel García Márquez in Spanish, Pramoedya Ananta Toer in German, Hermann Hesse in German, Kōbō Abe in Japanese, and Miguel de Cervantes in Spanish. Chaim Potok, Shyam Selvadurai, Anita Desai, Khaled Hosseini, Chinua Achebe, Mario Vargas Llosa. Eli Wiesel and Kahlil Gibran… the list goes on and on!

When did you receive your first book?

My family is from Boston and I grew up with Make Way for Ducklings. I also loved Dr. Seuss, and read to my son, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I went to kindergarten in Paris and loved, This is Paris and anything about Thierry la Fronde. I also loved Asia as a child and delighted in The Story About Ping. Also, The Story of Ferdinand (Leaf) and Everybody Poops (Gomi) are tremendous.

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

I love Japanese literature. Mishima, Oe, Natsume, Tanazaki, Kawabata. My father translated Jules Verne and his The Mighty Orinoco is one of my favorite books. Madame Chang Kai-Sheck (Li), Catfish and Mandala (Pham), The Last Empress (Pakula), and Rage for Fame and Price of Fame (Morris) are also brilliant. The best book I have read in 2018 is Bekindr: The Transformative Power of Kindness by the incredible humanitarian psychiatrist, Dr. Eva Ritvo.

What’s special about your library?

I head two family charities, Orphans International Worldwide, “Raising Global Leaders,” and the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, “Supporting Young Global Leadership.” My library contains the 1,000 volumes that I believe best support the creation of Global Citizens, embodying the virtues we look for in our embodies the characteristics of our Clare Boothe Luce Award for International Service: honor, intelligence, benevolence, and integrity. I share my heart and my library with all my Young Global Leaders.

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Patrice Samara
Patrice Samara is president of the Triumph Communications Group, Inc., New York, N.Y.

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