Project Bookshelf–Marika von Zellen


Hello, everyone! This is my contribution to Project Bookshelf. Unfortunately, my collection only spans two shelves, because my actual library is being stored back in the U.S. with the rest of my buried treasure.

As you can see, I have groups of books about a specific subject or person. This is due to my infallible ability to obsess over random historical figures and subject matter. Exhibit A: The Letters of Lewis Carroll. Since reading Alice in Wonderland many years ago, I haven’t been able to cease my frenetic research of Lewis Carroll, the author, who was also a Mathematics professor and a deacon at Oxford University. To clarify, I tend to like things shrouded in mystery. Or things that offer many opposing explanations or theories. There are six books about Lewis Carroll’s life on these two shelves (told ya I obsess).

Exhibit B: Che and the Cuban Revolution. You can’t get much further from Victorian England than that. Che came into my life when I was feeling very disoriented and in need of a cause (AKA, I’d just graduated from college). It’s easy to classify “Che” as a teenage rebel’s sexy martyr, but there’s much more to his story. Was he a hero who fought for the rights of the common people, or was he a murderous rouge who helped strangle Cuba’s freedom of expression? We may never know… so I guess I’ll read more books about him.

Exhibit C: Czech language learning books. They speak for themselves. Literally. They speak really, really fast, and in Czech, so that’s why they’re sitting on my shelf and gathering dust.

As for the rest, you can see on the bottom shelf a few books by Brian Greene, a young theoretical physicist. Understanding the Universe and basic physics (especially String Theory or M-Theory, which both produce a universe with over 10 dimensions) is what I like to do for fun. Knowledge is power! I also wanted to be an astronaut, so this is about as close as I can get to space travel (where’s a Tardis when you need one, eh?). You’ll also find some classics such as Chekhov’s short stories, Agatha Christie’s Murder-of-some-kind-in-the-library-or-hotel-or-garden-or-someplace-public, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and good old Silas Marner  (he’s definitely Tardis-companion worthy). Tossed into the mix is some popular lit like Flynn’s spectacular Gone Girl, Collin’s Mockingjay, and Tartt’s The Goldfinch.

To conclude: read what you want, when you want. Read copiously. Read all subjects, and all genres, because you never know what might spark a creative obsession.

Marika Von Zellen has a BA in English and Creative Writing from Cornell College (no, not the one in Ithaca). She’s had poetry and fiction published in Open Field,Temporary Infinity, and the anthology Rock & Roll Saved My Soul. In the summer of 2012, she attended Grin City Collective Artist Residency in Iowa. Besides writing, she enjoys playing piano, theoretical physics, traveling, ghost-hunting, the Cuban Revolution, climbing trees, 3rd Wave Feminism, and good Czech beer. She’s also a [wannabe] scholar of Lewis Carroll.

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