Clarisse Nakahama and #ProjectBookshelf


My bookshelf is tucked away in the far corner of my closet, I have to climb through clothes and bang my head on a few hangers to get to the books furthest from me. In fact, to take the picture of it, I emptied about half of my closet onto my bed and contorted my body in ways I haven’t since I did yoga six months ago. It is as tall as I am—the U.S. average five feet four inches—with shelves two and a half feet long. Three of its four shelves are double packed; in all they hold roughly 200 books. A few of the books are scattered to the wind: Shame by Salman Rushdie is in my purse, The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi has been lent to my father, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen was lost years ago, The Republic of Poetry by Martin Espada is buried somewhere in a box, and many of the older, less sentimental books have been donated to prisons and public libraries. Other than a small section on the third shelf—termed the “To Read” section—every book has been read and, in most cases, approved by yours truly.

The top shelf is the only shelf not double packed. The original hardcovers of the seven Harry Potter books are proudly displayed next to the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini and the complete box set of the manga Death Note. Sentimental picture books finish up this shelf with their bright colors and positive messages. The second shelf is a smorgasbord of science fiction/fantasy/young adult series. Cassandra Clare exists beside J.R.R. Tolkien, Lemony Snicket and Rick Riordan share shelving space with Douglas Adams and Garth Nix, and the count of T.A. Barron novels is second only to Tamora Pierce.

The third shelf is more eclectic than the second shelf. As a proud Sociology major, I have a section for some big sociologists: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Michel Foucault. This shelf is also home to some of my favorite Young Adult authors: Sarah Dessen, Ned Vizzini, and, of course, John Green.  My section for short story collections is no less eclectic than other sections: Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver exist alongside Lorrie Moore’s Self-Help, and Donald Barthelme’s Forty Stories. My section for poetry books starts with William Blake and John Donne and ends with Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. Rather appropriately, this leads into my section for awe-inspiring female writers including but not limited to Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Toni Morrison. The bottom shelf has two main sections, the back row is for books I have read but would really rather forget which means that it consists of textbooks and Twilight. The front half is for my admittedly small collection of “modern” plays, Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman and Rock ’N’ Roll by Tom Stoppard are just a few. Greatly outnumbering these is my collection of Shakespeare: Measure for Measure, Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, and Much Ado About Nothing are a few.

Currently, my “To Read” section is overflowing but that never seems to stop me from adding to it. Here you’ll find A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, Welcome To Night Vale by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink (my copy is signed), and The Song of Achillesby Madeline Miller to name a few.


Clarisse Nakahama is a recent graduate from University of Puget Sound where she double majored in English: Creative Writing and Sociology and Anthropology. Some of her short fiction and poetry have been published in her college’s literary arts magazine, CrossCurrents. When she wasn’t busy researching Marvel comics and punk music for her senior thesis, Clarisse was acting as co-president to Nerdfighters Club and president to Writers’ Guild. Her yarn collection is slowly but surely morphing into a scarf collection, even though she has very little use for crocheted scarves now that she has returned to her native Southern California. She is the intern at the SAFTAcast.



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