Project Bookshelf: Alexa White

My bookshelves are entities that both taunt and comfort me. 

On the wall opposite my bed, watching me oversleep, binge-watch Netflix shows, and re-read the same books in my spare time is my “classics” shelf. The books within it represent the reader I try to be. While I’ve read and re-read a handful of them, like Brontë’s Jane Eyre (my all-time favorite), Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and Shelley’s Frankenstein, many of them remain unopened. I’m not exactly sure why I display them so brazenly– maybe to appear more sophisticated and well-read to the 10 people who visit my room each year. But most likely, it’s to constantly remind myself of all the words I have yet to read. 

To the left of the classics is a much larger bookshelf (and I use that term loosely). The two towering stacks consist of guilty pleasures and tattered remnants of my unavoidable teenage YA Fantasy phase. Among my favorites and most heavily read are Gail Carson Levine’s Fairest, Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society, and Maria V. Snyder’s Study series. Sprinkled in are some much-loved oddballs like Eggs by Jerry Spinelli, Richard Adams’ Watership Down, a handful of art books, and maybe a few Terry Pratchett novels.

My poetry collection corner offers some respite. I can flip through an issue of Poetry or my Sylvia Plath anthology if I don’t feel like committing to an entire novel or take one with me to a café or picnic. However, this is the smallest stack of books in my room. I must admit, for most of my life I was content with PoemHunter.com and a few obscure bookstore finds. 

I tell myself that the second I graduate college and have more free time, I’ll read every unread book in my assortment. Until then, I’ll endure their judgemental stares from across the room.


Alexa White is an editorial intern with Sundress Academy for the Arts and a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, which is also her hometown. As an aspiring professional writer, she is finishing her BA in Creative Writing with a minor in Studio Art. Alexa has enjoyed painting, photography, and writing, especially poetry, for most of her life and has had both art and poetry published in UTK’s Phoenix literary magazine.

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