My bookshelf might look a bit small, but this is a fraction of all the books I own! Most of my books are still at my mom’s house, as I’ve been moving around a lot throughout college. Choosing which books to bring to college and which to leave behind was challenging – it was so hard to prioritize which books to bring! As you can see from the stickers on the spines, I get most of my books from Thriftbooks, which is one of the best places to buy books hands down! However, I don’t buy books as often as I’d like to – ever since I came to college, I’ve usually checked out books to read from Hodges Library.

My poetry collection has some works by poets whom I admire. Lucille Clifton’s Blessing the Boats was one of the first books that got me into writing poetry seriously. Jasmine An’s Naming the No-Name Woman and Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf are both filled with powerful poems that are definitely worth the read (and reread!) and have been formative to my own craft. In the future I hope to acquire more poetry books, especially works by queer and trans poets.

I have many of my favorite fiction works on my shelves. Growing up I read lots of fantasy, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series has been my most-loved fantasy series thus far. I have a lot of nostalgia for the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, and I like to revisit them every so often. Currently, my favorite fiction book is Hector Tobar’s The Tattooed Soldier, which I read for a course at UT last year.

The rest of my books are miscellaneous short stories, essays, and other works. When I came to UT, I started reading more short stories, since I can usually read one or two in between readings for class. The Forbidden Stories of Marta Veneranda by Sonia Rivera-Valdes is my favorite collection of short works, and I’m always on the lookout for more short stories to read!

After I graduate, I hope to move somewhere where I can keep all my books together and accumulate even more! There are many authors and poets who inspire me, and it feels good having a few of their works on my shelves.


Parker Anderson is a queer writer and English student at the University of Tennessee. They are an emerging poet and essayist who loves reading, spending time outdoors, and playing video games. Most nights, you can find them experimenting with spices in their kitchen or chatting about dogs behind the front desk at Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Library.


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