Though he was steeped in classical thought, read Latin, Greek, and French, James Madison had a penchant for what was known as the “polite” popular literature of his time. He read endlessly from the time he arrived at Princeton, where his professors’ libraries became his own as he completed the four-year course in just two. He went on to collect some 4,000 books, along with stacks of pamphlets that stood on every surface in his library at Montpelier, his stately home in Orange, Virginia, according to Ralph Louis Ketcham’s biography. Madison certainly appreciated the importance of books in his public life, too. In 1815, he approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,950 for Jefferson’s collection.