Project Bookshelf: Annie Fay Meitchik

A photo of a book with an orange cover titled "I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf" at Powell's Books in Portland.

In many ways, what I consider to be my bookshelf is amorphous, shared, and exists in numerous locations. The majority of books that have shaped me awaited my discovery during silent reading time in my elementary school classrooms or on library shelves. I love books for the way they teach empathy and make knowledge accessible. My passion for books is deeply connected to the sense of peace I find when entering libraries. These institutions represent to me equal access to information and serve as reminders that art and literature are so deeply valuable that we’ve collectively ensured that they are free and available to everyone.

My bedroom is decorated with books—piled neatly on the floor, stacked on shelves by color, and covering the top of my piano. A lot of the books in my home are relics from my childhood: dog-eared copies of The Babysitter’s Club, well-loved Little Critter books, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and my prized edition of Alice Through the Looking Glass.

As I read well over 100 books every year, I acquire the vast majority of them from public libraries, so, I do not own many of my favorites. However, I do keep an evolving list of my recommendations on the homepage of my portfolio website. I have a special gift for matching people with the right books and enjoy sharing my personal collection with friends and family—Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket has traveled 3,000 miles from my shelf and back.

A photo of three books stacked on top of each other with black spines. The books (from top to bottom) are: "The Decameron Project" compiled by The New York Times Magazine, "The Fran Lebowitz Reader" by Fran Lebowitz, and "Just Kids" by Patti Smith.

What I find so wonderful about books is their ability to be shared and their lack of a need for ownership. While there are a handful of books I enjoy owning and rereading—The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Little Weirds by Jenny Slate—the majority of books I’ve loved float in and out of libraries, gaining something magical and intangible with each new reader. So much of what I enjoy about reading is the sense of belonging I feel sharing an experience, a narrative, with strangers who I may cross paths with someday to bond over a favorite author, quote, or story.

Eleven books on a library shelf.

A black and white photo of a woman, the author of this post.

Annie Fay Meitchik is a writer and visual artist with her BA in Creative Writing from The New School and a Certificate in Children’s Book Writing from UC San Diego. Through a career in publishing, Annie aims to amplify the voices of marginalized identities while advocating for equality and inclusivity in art/educational spaces. Her work has been published by Matter Press, 12th Street Literary Journal, and UNiDAYS. To learn more, please visit:


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