Project Bookshelf: Eden Stiger

I’ve had a few boyfriends in the past, but my mother’s bookshelf was my first love.

A picture of the middle layer of a bookshelf with multicolored books of red, orange, and green titles.

Mom’s bookshelf of 300+ books seemed to tower over me, but I was never intimidated. In fact, I remember sitting on the floor, pulling each book off the shelves, and selecting the ones with the best covers (those that were drool-worthy, of course). I was mesmerized by authors like Catherine Feehan, Catherine Coulter, Judith McNaught, Julia Quinn, Amanda Ashley, Lisa Klepas, and Johanna Lindsey. They introduced me to passion, pain, sex, and life outside of our small trailer.

When I was old enough for my first job, I would stop in at Books A Million every chance I was off and purchase more books for the bookshelf. One particular series I remember adding in was Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy novels. The story follows St. Vladimir Academy student Rose, a half-human-half-vampire teen who’s in charge of guarding her best friend, Princess Lissa, from evil vampires. I haven’t read any VA novels in over ten years, but I can say this was my first taste of the vampire craze I soon developed—yes, I love Twilight, and I’m not ashamed.

Hmm, I don’t know. That’s a hard one. Lemme give you my top five instead.

A picture of a hardback book of Jude Deveraux's called Remembrance. The cover is blue with a blue ribbon and vintage handheld mirror.

Most have a difficult time picking their favorite book. Not me. Mine is Jude Deveraux’s Remembrance. It’s a time-traveling, reincarnation romance all rolled into one. The extraordinary love between the MCs takes my breath away and I could read it again and again forever.

The rest of the women in the room were bustling about, trying to look busy so no one else noticed the faint whispers of a dying girl.

“My child shall be your child; Your child shall be mine. They will be one spirit in two bodies. They will live together; they will die together.”

Remembrance, Jude Deveraux

Up until the last couple years, my bookshelf has been solely dominated by YA and romance. I hate to admit it, but I was never interested in anything else for a long time. Literature made my head hurt, picture books robbed me of my own interpretations, and anything that wasn’t fantasy was boring. But oh, how I’ve woken up and smelled the pages. Now, you’ll find that fic, nonfic, Brit Lit, and mystery have started their takeover on my shelves. Some of my favorite works include Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Shakespeare’s King Lear, and Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I’ve recently started reading mangaWotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku—being my first, and I plan to read Spy x Family, Jujutsu Kaisen, Fruits Basket, and whatever else I can get my hands on. If you’re interested in more that I’ve read or plan to read, you can check out my Goodreads!

“You do not yield.” –Kingdom of Ash, S.J. Maas

One series I hold near and dear to my heart and that will always maintain a special place on my bookshelf is Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass. I discovered this collection when book four had just released in 2015. If you’re into that rogue-meets-royalty vibe, you may fall in love with it. I say may as Maas catches a lot of flack for her debut series (she started ToG at age 16!), but I was enthralled from the first chapter. With each book, you watch as this young, haughty assassin battles with death, rage, betrayal, and loss time and time again and yet still manages to keep that inner light aglow. These are the stories I cherish, that I turn to and hold onto when the color fades from my pictures. It’s stories like Celaena Sardothien’s that encourages me to keep going, to keep fighting, and to keep reaching for the rainbow.

A picture of a lower layer shelf on the same bookshelf with blue, purple, and black book covers.

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Eden Stiger is a Kentucky-bred, Ohio-living college undergraduate who recently received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from the University of Findlay. She is the current poetry editor and layout editor for the literary magazine Slippery Elm.

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