Before I moved away from home, I had five bookcases all along my bedroom walls filled with books and knick-knacks. Any little bit of spare money went to books. A move across the country, from the Midwest to the East Coast, meant that I could only take some books—mostly things I wanted to immediately read next or couldn’t imagine being parted with. (The books I left at home are now in my childhood closet, but some of those will slowly follow me to my new home.)
The first novel I read on my own was Treasure Island. I own a couple of editions, though the most important one is the one I brought with me to the East Coast. It’s really my dad’s but it’s been on my bookshelf for as long as I can remember. I would have never left home without it.
Science fiction anthologies and poetry also stand on my bookshelf, managing to be the majority at the moment. Some are guilty pleasures—looking at you, Harry Harrison—while others are based on social commentary and revolutions, like all of the best science fiction is at heart. Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, and Octavia’s Brood (not pictured on my bookshelf because it’s actually on my bedside table at the moment, waiting to be finished) are leaning together with Nnedi Okorafor and Mary Shelley. Folktales, young adult, romance and non-fiction all mingling in semi-order because I haven’t organized the shelf again since I moved in last year. Notebooks, loose paper with useful information, a magazine I designed entirely on my own, and books turned every which way to make as much room as I can for more books take up at least a quarter of the room on the shelf. My bookshelves are messy despite a constant effort to keep the disorder in check, but the continuing input of new books makes it almost impossible to keep tidy.
Eventually the books will spread once more from the bookshelf and my bedside table and into piles on the floor (or, preferably, another bookshelf), but, until then, they will make do with the space I have.
Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. She currently copyedits for Strange Horizons. Tierney is also a Writing, Literature, and Publishing graduate student at Emerson College. As an East Coast transplant from Indianapolis, Tierney still smiles upon the slightest bit of eye contact. If you canâ€™t find her on a train between Providence and Boston, she can easily be found on Twitter as @ergotierney.