I am not always capable of admitting when I have a problem.
When I was first instructed to write a piece about my bookshelf, I thought, “No problem.
My bookshelf is two drawers, and those two drawers are among the most organized spaces in my room.” Feeling confident, I took my phone, camera app open, into my bedroom.
These two drawers, I am proud of. They’re holding an impressive amount of books, the space aggressively utilized to its maximum potential. There’s nothing to write home about with regard to my tastes, which vary wildly from graphic novel to biography to the complete box set of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nonetheless, these drawers are respectable.
Then, I remembered my bedside table. It’s stocked with some short fiction and what I call “emergency poetry” for putting me to sleep or waking me up. Fine.
Oh, right, there’s also the stack of New Books, purchased anytime over the past six months which I simply cannot fit in my drawers and which have yet to be elevated to bedside status.
It’d also be irresponsible for me to forget the haphazard mess under my desk, which is where I store art and photography books, my Joan Didion collection, some errant novels and nonfiction, and some more emergency poetry.
It was upon noticing the stack of books on the floor next to the stack of books under my desk that I thought, “Okay, this might not look so good after all.”
I left my room thinking I’d captured it all, only to find four more art books, five poetry collections, and a journal on my living room table. That, and the open sociolinguistics book on the couch, the Sartre and Glück in my backpack, and at least six tabs of short stories currently open on my laptop.
All this being said, I am open to more recommendations.
Bailey Martin is a writer and English student at the University of Tennessee. She was awarded the 2019 Michael Dennis Poetry Award and Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys learning about linguistics, taking photos of cows, and thinking about the circus.