Warren Zevon’s book collection is for sale

Ariel and Crystal Zevon

Ariel Zevon, left, and her mother, Crystal Zevon, are selling off the library of famed rock ‘n’ roller Warren Zevon. Photo courtesy of Mary Collins

WEST BARNET— Philosophy, classic literature, personal inscriptions from the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Carl Hiaasen, even a pop-up art book about phobias.

These are a few of the books in Warren Zevon’s treasured library.

The late rock and roller was a music icon, with hits such as “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” and “Werewolves of London.” He died in 2003.

He was not only an avid reader; he was also an avid book collector. His daughter, Ariel Zevon, recalls his apartment was lined with books from floor to ceiling.

“My dad didn’t finish high school,” she said. “He was self-taught as a writer and an intellectual. The range of books in his collection is extraordinary.”

Ariel Zevon and her mother, Crystal Zevon, are selling off his expansive book collection to help fund a community space in West Barnet.

Zevon library

The old farmhouse in West Barnet now known as Brookview RR, which functions as a community space. Photo courtesy of Mary Collins

Brookview RR is located in an old farmhouse 1 mile from Harvey Lake in West Barnet. The land, which Crystal Zevon purchased in March, abuts the property where she lives.

“This wasn’t something I planned to do, but when I heard that the price had dropped pretty dramatically I thought I should look at the place,” she said. “When I went inside and saw it I felt this was a place that could bring people together. I wasn’t sure how or for what, but I just went for it.”

Since then the space has been host to all kinds of groups and events, from weekly potlucks to an ongoing flea market, workshops on how to make reusable shopping bags, and as a retreat space for migrant, environmental and political justice groups.

The property has always been known as “Brookview,” and Crystal Zevon added the “RR” to be left up to interpretation — whether it be rest and relaxation, resistance and resilience, or even rock and roll.

“For everything we do, we welcome everyone and turn no one away,” she said. “We do need money to keep the house going, so we ask for donations, but only what people can afford. Some people can afford to be generous financially, others help in the garden or with the cleaning.”

All proceeds from events, retreats and flea market sales go toward funding the venture, which costs about $1,000 per month between taxes, utilities and maintenance, but Crystal Zevon is still unsure about how the space will be financed.

Zevon library bookcase

Books from the late Warren Zevon’s library. Photo courtesy of Mary Collins

“While I had funds to buy it, I don’t have funds to pay all the expenses,” she said. “We hope the sale of Warren’s books will give us some time to work out a way to finance it.”

Since March, the books have been displayed in an ongoing barn sale on the property until friend and longtime book collector Mary Collins stepped in.

“Books are an extension of a personality,” Collins said. “It felt very intimate to go through Warren’s library. There were receipts, notes, inscriptions. … The collection was more important than a casual barn sale.”

Collins has since tackled cataloging the books and putting them up for auction through eBay. Starting bids will range from $10 to $100. With hundreds of books for sale, the hope is to raise money for the first year of operation at Brookview RR.

For more information, contact Collins at [email protected], or visit Brookview RR at 612 W. Main St. in West Barnet.

Emily Greenberg

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