I am currently home from college for a few days to celebrate Easter with my family. One of my favorite parts about coming home has to be looking over from my bed and seeing my overfilled bookshelves right across from me. After going away to school for the first time, I realized that the presence of my books is almost like a security blanket.
Although I rarely reread anymore, knowing that my favorite stories – some of which are from so long ago, yet are so beloved that I can’t bear to toss them into storage – are close by just comforts me immensely.
Book Area #1
Book/DVD Area #2
The majority of my childhood books are tucked away in storage (let’s face it, I’ll probably be packing them with me when I move out of my parents’ house for good), and I have a box on my bedroom floor filled with books I intend to donate or sell someday. The books that remain on these shelves have all made a positive impact on me, otherwise they would likely be put into that Box of Doom.
I think seeing these shelves reminds me of who I am. So much of my identity resonates with being a book collector, reader, and lover, and I can equate each book on my shelf with a certain phase or time of my life. The very top shelf is dedicated to my very battered but much-loved set of Harry Potter books. The Mitch Albom books I had to read in senior year of high school and keep because I tell myself that maybe one day I’ll actually appreciate them rest on my smaller bookshelf. John Green’s books, collected during the peak of my Nerdfighter phase, rest among my earlier obsession, Sarah Dessen books. The recent memoirs of Neil Patrick Harris and Amy Poehler are placed right next to each other, symbolizing my current enjoyment of admirable celebrities’ books. I haven’t picked up The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Treasury in years, but all I have to do is remember my constant rereads of it in elementary school, and it remains tucked between Austen and Nicholls (alphabetically arranged books have never been a system I caught onto).
Is this level of nostalgia healthy? Perhaps not, but then you could argue that I’m away from home for the majority of the year and “earn” the right to romanticize my bookshelves. Although I scarcely read them, I find myself always bringing two or three of my books (usually from the Anne series) to school with me, as if merely seeing them on the shelf in my dorm room provides me with a sense of home that my photo collages and DVDs can’t supply.
Why else would we buy and keep books, though? We gain a sense of ownership over these pages, because they contributed so greatly to what we became.