Project Bookshelf with Editorial Intern Emma Hudson

I’m going to start by admitting the image on the left is not my bookshelf. When I texted my mom to ask if she could take a picture of my high school bookshelf so I could write this transformative article about my finely-tuned reading material she sent a picture of my 16-year-old sister’s bookshelf.

Mom: Cate said hers is more artsy.

I had to laugh. We have the same black wood-finished bookcase from Target, but somehow, hers surpasses me in a made-up ‘Artsy Bookshelf Contest.’ I guess fairy lights must be the sole determiner of coveted ‘artsy’ titles.

Yes, my sister always had a talent for complimenting me and insulting me in one sentence—a quality I ultimately love about her. On one hand, the art on her shelf is art I made back in the days of free time, but on the other, she’s insinuating my bookshelf aesthetic is no match for her elephant tape dispenser

Maybe she has a point. I organize books by where they fit on my shelf. My one back home (the ‘high school’ one) is two rows deep on the top two shelves. Thinly painted metal bookends try to contain the young-adult chaos from overspilling.

My college shelf continues on the legacy of trying to contain the chaos with thin chicken-College shelf with bodiless Chimmycoup wires ( a ‘steal’ from Homegoods is what my mom calls it). Some books I have yet to read, others are textbooks of semesters’ past, and I have a good stack of albums I regard with childhood remembrance to my latest Waterparks album with catchy and personally unrelatable tunes like “I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Want To Die (a hit radio-bleeped classic).

A further example of my love for music is displayed on the middle outward-facing encasement at the top is specifically saved for my collection of treasured BTS albums. The brave yellow-hooded BT21 character, Chimmy, is bodiless, but a good guard nonetheless.

Again, I organize by where everything can fit in a somewhat immaculate state. The position of honor for my most beloved books does not stay on the shelf. They float.

Since my freshman year in the cramped, yet warm space of my Hess Hall room is where this concept and artistic need initialized. Books and music are my ultimate loves even if I’m not an expert in creating either, I admire their mere creation.

close-up of floating books

The grayscale posters surround my favorite book series. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne, is a series that shaped my interests in emotional and apocalyptic storytelling. The same descriptions apply to Issac Marion’s Warm Bodies. Zombies have been on my mind since my early middle-school-age fascination with “The Walking Dead.” As for a zombie who would learn love and understanding is the cure, I like to believe those words can cure all apocalypse epidemics (fictional and real as idealistic as it sounds).

Like my personality and appearance, my shelves have always been a semi-functioning mess with an element of chaotic good to keep things interesting—and on some appealing artistic level. Chimmy will remain guard with his fearsome tongue if anyone thinks they can touch my BTS albums without my permission.

Emma Hudson is currently a third year student at the University of Tennessee working on her double concentration BA in English: Rhetoric and Creative Writing, along with a minor in retail consumer science. She’s a busy bee; she is the Editor-in-Chief of the up-and-coming Honey Magazine. Emma is also a long-time member and leader in UTK’s Creative Writing Club and on the Executive Board for UTK’s Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Epsilon chapter. In her free time, she figures out how to include K-Pop group BTS into her research projects and watches “reality” tv shows.

Project Bookshelf: Chloe Hanson

My “school book bookshelf” was salvaged from the belongings of my husband’s late grandmother.  The top shelf houses my rare books, including a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories from the 1870s and my prized possession, a signed copy of The Last Unicorn.  The rest of the shelves hold books on how to teach composition, pedagogy, and linguistics, and a mini figurine of Aragorn, son of Arathorn.

My fiction bookshelves are, upon closer examination, mostly weird dog figurines that my grandparents send me and Neil Gaiman novels, though I do have a surprising (embarrassing?) number of Sookie Stackhouse novels as well. I also use my bookshelves to house her collection of vinyl records, tapes, and cute wine and beer bottles.

Chloe Hanson is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee. She earned her MA and BA from Utah State University, where she also helped to establish and direct the Science Writing Center. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals, including Public Pool, Off the Coast, and Driftwood Press. While she’s procrastinating her homework, she can often be found with a beer in her hand and her dog, Simon, by her side.

Laura B. Robbins’ #ProjectBookshelf

So these are my bookshelves. These are where 95% of my books live. I also have some books scattered around my house, but this is where the majority of them live. My tastes in books clearly span the spectrum of genres, but I tend to read a lot of contemporary fiction and fantasy.

I fully blame my parents for my love of books (you should see their bookshelves), and this love makes it basically impossible to pick a favorite. However, some of the ones I really enjoy are Americanah, Jane Steele, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Bell Jar.



Laura Robbins, a Memphis native, is a senior at the University of Tennessee studying English Literature. For the last year, she has worked at UT’s library in Special Collections. When she isn’t writing papers or reading books for class, Laura enjoys buying more books than she has the room for and discussing anything from feminism to the latest superhero movie.

Project Bookshelf: Sarah Ann Winn

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Best to Last

This is always my least favorite part of packing. I leave my desk and its bookshelf of my essential books til near the end. As a former librarian, every shelf I own shows a stunning lack of apparent order, but each has an internal logic. There are the shelves of books I probably never will reread, but can’t bear to purge, the books I might need someday for teaching, the poetry bookshelf, the children’s bookshelf, and then the desk bookshelf. The one by my desk reveals the contents of my messy mind, the books I want to use in my writing somehow, or need for quick reference. Some bolster me when I need a prompt or a stiff upper lip, some inspire me with their innovation. They sit at my right hand, my favorites, my personal heaven. What if this is the box that goes missing in the move? How will I replace the book of fairy tales I first read as a child, which still has my peanut butter fingerprints, my pressed feathers and leaves? How will I write the poems which have not yet emerged from this beautiful jumble?


Sarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apeiron Review, [d]ecember, Lunch Ticket, Massachusetts Review, Rappahannock Review, and Stirring, among others. Her chapbook Portage is now available for free download from Sundress Publications. Visit her at or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.

Project Bookshelf: Kristin LaTour


I know, I know. It’s a mess. Book aren’t supposed to be kept on their sides. Someday, I’ll have a huge library. For now, Ikea shelves are okay.

My books are pretty organized. At the very top, there’s books on witchcraft and voodoo, my travel journals and books on Greece. I spent a month in Greece when I was in college and loved it. There’s not much better than getting a gyro on the street stuffed with meat and fries with an Amstel (not that light crap either) on the side. That vase is my hubby’s from his trip to Greece before we met. Another sign we were meant for each other. (Stop gagging.) That wooden box holds a Bible I got when my great-grandfather died when I was in 8th grade. I never thought about the fact that it lives next to witchcraft stuff. Hmmmm….

On the second level are all my poetry books. You can tell the Hyacinth Girl Press ones from the ribbons.  I’m obviously running out of room. There’s also a photo of my paternal grandfather as a baby and my mom and aunt.

Third shelf is almost all British and Irish authors, at least the ones that are shelved properly. We keep the Bevington because we need a booster seat for friends’ kids once in a while. “Get the Bevington!” we holler. Piled above my lovely Brits are a handmade journal my sister made me, some poetry books that haven’t made it to the second shelf yet, my Vintage Hairstyling book, and Dream Symbols, which really isn’t helpful and will probably get donated to my local non-profit bookstore. When I had a dream that my husband’s family was all vampires living in a barn, there really wasn’t anything helpful there. It did make a good poem that is published in Adanna this fall.

Fourth shelf… stereo obviously. I think I was magnanimous when we were setting up the shelves, and I offered to house it. My husband’s bookcase is opposite of mine with the cds keeping peace between them. Anyway, this shelf is American authors, mostly dead ones. The antique Kodak Brownie is from my in-laws’ house. The photo is my maternal grandma’s senior picture.

The fifth shelf is where all the excitement is. My city has a non-profit used bookstore, where I also volunteer, so I get lots of books there. The Newberry Library also has an awesome used book sale twice a year. All my finds go on this shelf for future reading. Behind those three stacks are all my novels that I love and can’t part with.

The bottom shelf is 1/3 travel scrapbooks (England twice, Ireland twice, France, a road trip we took in 2002, my collection of children’s books, most from my childhood with the addition of a collection of different illustrated copies of “The Velveteen Rabbit.” The last pile there is more poetry books and journals I haven’t read, and some books that need to get donated.


Kristin LaTour has three chapbooks: Agoraphobia, from Dancing Girl Press (2013), Blood (Naked Mannequin Press 2009) and Town Limits (Pudding House Press 2007). Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Massachusetts Review, Fifth Wednesday, Cider Press Review, Escape into Life, and Atticus Review. Her work appears in the anthology Obsession: Sestinas in the 21st Century. A graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program, she teaches at Joliet Jr. College and lives in Aurora, IL with her writer husband, a lovebird, and two dogitos. Her first full-length collection is due out from Sundress in 2015.