Project Bookshelf: From the Shelves of Stephanie Phillips

I was pretty excited when I first learned about these bookshelf posts on the Sundress Blog, because I am and always have been curious about the homes and book collections of strangers. Today, I am your stranger and these are my books! My collection contains many saved magazines, required reading from both my high school and college days, and borrowed books from friends that I’ve kept for far too long.


I don’t really have a method to arranging my books. They were at one time arranged chromatically, a trend in home decor I still love, but that was somewhat abandoned in the transfer to my new Craigslist bookshelf. My new and shiny tall shelf is mostly novels along with some books and magazines that are too large for my smaller shelf. I have a few big photo/art books including a National Geographic photo book and a book called Tossed and Found about repurposing dumpster furniture (both gifted to me by my sister).

Speaking of dumpster furniture, my shorter blue shelf was saved from a dumpster in Fort Sanders. This memory makes me really nostalgic for my years spent in that neighborhood, so I am glad to still have some of my found furniture. This blue gem is where I keep my larger anthologies from many, many literature classes and groups of books by the same author. I have an Edith Wharton section born from a Major Authors class, a Chuck Palahniuk section because he is both disturbing and brilliant, and of course the unavoidable Shakespeare.


Though I love my ladder shelf and how it’s decorated, I’d say the most personal items stay on my blue shelf. One special collection I have there is a stack of my own journals from 2007-2010 (bottom left) when my life was immensely documented. Those are probably some of my most prized possessions just because of all the stories and memories they contain. It was while penning those notebooks that I decided that writing was a fundamental part of my life, and that realization really shaped me back then.

My favorite books also both sit on this shelf, and I read both of them in high school. What can I say? Those years were awful and I wouldn’t go back, but the things that affected me then are imprinted in me forever. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli inspired me so much as a teen, not to mention, it has a sequel that stands up the original! (Love, Stargirl) I seriously still recommend this book to everyone. Also, I read Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie in high school and carried it around like a Bible for about two years, rereading the advice inside.I feel like in high school I allowed books to really hold onto me in ways that I don’t anymore. I don’t ever expect to write a book that a 17 year old worships quite like that, but knowing that books have that power is enough for me.


Book I’m recommending to people now: Kindred, Octavia Butler

Books I have recently purchased: On Writing, Stephen King and Leave the Cannoli: Stories from the New World, Sarah Vowell


Stephanie Phillips is the Development Assistant at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee. At 23, she still has no idea what to do with her life, but she hopes people still find that charming. Originally from Hendersonville, Tennessee, Stephanie has always loved writing and photography, but can’t seem to stop being a barista. She also loves short fiction, Precise pens, ice cream, and Netflix.


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