Project Bookshelf: Katy Bilbrey


You can learn a great deal about a person by looking at their bookshelves, and mine is no exception.  I started collecting books in my middle-school years. Like my mother (whose books occupy almost every room in our house), I’ve always enjoyed being surrounded by beautifully bound literature. Although I love my e-reader, it just doesn’t compare to looking at a shelf of books that you’ve gathered over the years.

The bookshelf pictured here is one that I have owned since the beginning of high-school. It has remained at home due to limited space in my dorm room, but I’m still able to visit it frequently. It is a tribute to the personal fascinations and interests that I discovered while growing up, and every book is still relevant to my life.

My prized collection of vintage Nancy Drew novels grace the top shelf, along with my small group of signed books. The middle shelf houses evidence from a vampire phase I went through in my mid-teens, including the mother of the genre, Ann Rice (for the record, Stephanie Meyer books have never been within a mile of this bookshelf). On the same level, I have a set of Shel Silverstein books (a must-have for every collection), craft magazines, a couple of classics from my high-school reading, and, yes, that is an inflatable unicorn horn for cats.

The bottom shelf is my favorite, as it includes such a variety of topics. I have a great collection of oversized fashion and beauty books that are always fun to go through (included is a book about the history of underwear that my grandmother gifted me one Christmas). I have some anatomy books from when I was interested in going to medical school (cue hysterical laughter), reference materials for some of my AP high school-classes, and vegetarian cook books. My most beloved books on this shelf are a pair of numerology/astrology guides my mother bought in the late ‘80s, a biography of Audrey Hepburn, and a signed book about The Body Farm written by Dr. Bass himself.

Each of these books is permanently linked to a specific point in my life, and I could never get rid of any of them. I look forward to building this collection, and filling my future home with bookshelves (even if it lands me on a reality show about hoarding one day).

Katy Bilbrey is a senior at Maryville College and is majoring in graphic design. A lover of vintage advertisements, typography, book-cover design, and the entirety of the Art Nouveau movement, she knows she is in the right field but is unsure of what she’s going to do with her degree. Her talents include reading multiple books at once, making fast decisions, and applying liquid eyeliner. In her free time, she enjoys laughing and FaceTiming her cat, Strawberry.


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