Anatomy of a Bookshelf

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt: Sarena & Sasha

(Editor’s Note: As part of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour, I’m so thrilled to introduce sisters Sarena and Sasha from The Writing Duo, who will be sharing her their bookshelf in a new and exciting way. Be sure to pop on over to their blog to say hello!)

We decided to shake up the normal “Anatomy of a Bookshelf” post style and do a scavenger hunt instead.  I gave Sarena and Sasha five kinds of books to find on their shelves.  Here are the books I challenged them to find:

1) A book you haven’t read yet.
2) A book you received as a gift.
3) A book with illustrations.
4) A book that was made into a movie.
5) A favorite cover!


The smaller shelf is Sarena’s bookshelf, and as you can see, we’ve had to stack lots of the books/put them on top of the shelf to fit them all! From this shelf, we found:


1) A book with illustrations: The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani! Sarena started this book and is really loving it. We can’t wait for the movie, either!


The taller shelf is Sasha’s shelf. (We still share books from both of each other’s shelves.) From this shelf we found:


2) A favourite cover: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. THIS BOOK IS GORGEOUS AND PROBABLY OUR FAVOURITE COVER EVER, just sayin’.

3) A book we haven’t read yet: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. Both of us have actually started it but haven’t gotten too far. We still want to finish it, though! It seems like a really fun, summer read.

4) A book that was gifted to us: The Maze Runner & The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. Both of these were gifted to us for Christmas 2011. We loved The Mazer Runner and the movie!

5) A book that was turned into a movie: Divergent by Veronica Roth. We both enjoyed Divergent and the movie, but it’s not one of our favorite dystopian series out there (oops?)

Thanks so much for the awesome scavenger hunt, Danielle!


Sarena and Sasha Nanua (The Writing Duo) are teenage twins living in Mississauga, Ontario. They love reading books in their spare time and enjoy science fiction and fantasy novels. They have been writing books since they were nine years old. The Gemstone is their first novel.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Lauren, The Tattooed Biblio

(Note: Please welcome Lauren, blogger at The Tattooed Biblio, to BiblioSmiles! She’s here visiting for the Summer Blogger Promo Tour, and I’m so happy about that! Be sure to hop over to her blog and say hello!)


Everyone has pictures of their beautiful, immaculately organized bookshelves. I just can’t bring myself to organize everything. Series books scattered around, books piled in the spare bedroom, allowing the boyfriend a shelf or two (which is harder than you can imagine)… but I’m too eclectic in my genres to even try to piece together that puzzle. And then there’s my little doxie, Emmitt, who’s always on the lookout for a good glamour shot.


I have some authors/series that I *try* to keep together such as Deborah Harkness, Margaret Atwood, all the Quirk Books classics mashups, Diana Gabaldon, some historical fiction series, Patrick Ness, etc. But damn it is just too hard when you have so many books. I literally have Joyce Carol Oates books scattered EVERYWHERE. But hey, I’m not perfect and neither are my books. 🙂

I am just grateful for the fact that I was able to acquire so many book and have been able to give so many away. Last year, I was able to donate 5 huge boxes of YA books to my local library. It was awesome. I do think it is time for another culling though.. we’ll just have to see!


Lauren (The Tattooed Biblio) is a tattooed bibliophile with a thirst for literature and the more bookish things in life. She spends her free time with her nerdy boyfriend and her weeny dog. There are too many favorite authors to list, but she enjoys a variety of genres including, but not limited to.. historical fiction, horror, apocalyptic, dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, memoirs, and the classics. She hopes to one day time travel, live in a different country, get a bookish job, and most importantly… own enough bookshelves to hold all of her books.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Alice

(Editor’s Note: As part of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour, I’m so thrilled to introduce Alice from Wonderland Novels, who will be sharing her bookshelf with us today. Be sure to pop on over to her blog to say hello!)

For a long time, I stacked all my books on a table, put them in drawers, and they were everywhere! Then earlier this year, I finally decided to get organized and as I got shelves, I just started getting more and more books as well.

First off, my “favorites” shelf:
Originally, these books were on my normal shelf, but then I came back from BEA and realized there was no way I was going to fit everything on my original bookshelf, so I decided to move my favorite books, currently reading, and to-be-read-soon books onto another smaller shelf to make room for other books.


One of the books on my favorites shelf is The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. This book is quite special as it is what got me into reading Young Adult back in 2010. I love the series! It is also special because Julie Kagawa is also the author of one of my other favorite series, the Blood of Eden trilogy (which is pictured on my favorites shelf). On top of THAT, I discovered my other favorite series, the Study series, from Julie Kagawa. She used to have a page on her website with her favorite books and Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (pictured as well) was on it, so I looked it up, and bam! I also have a few other favorites not pictured on here, namely books by Marissa Meyer, Renee Ahdieh, A.C. Gaughen, etc. So yep, Julie Kagawa, you’re awesome. 😉

And this is my other shelf. I’m completely out of room, so I had to move some books down into our living room shelves, which mainly contain reference books. It’s a nice mixture of ARCs, hardcovers, and paperbacks.


It is organized by size (the largest, Seeker, is on the top left), although the books in the middle row are all pretty much the same size, haha.

On top of my bookshelf are photos and bookish stuff, for example:


On the left, is an Alice in Wonderland mini notebook, which was a Secret Santa gift from Caroline @ The Attic Reviews, who has recently left the blogging sphere. The notebook’s kind of awesome, because my blog, Wonderland Novels, is partly named after Alice in Wonderland (since Alice in Wonderland is a book and when I’m reading, it’s kind of like I’m in my own fantasy world, or my own Wonderland) AND my name is Alice! 😉

On the right is a Supernatural bookmark, also a gift from Caroline. It features Dean’s Impala (“Baby”) and his favorite food ever: Pie. Also in the background is a bookish poster I got from HarperCollins at BookCon 2014.

Thank you for featuring me on your blog! 🙂



Alice (Wonderland Novels) is a New York native and is currently in college, majoring in Business. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and blogging about the books she reads on Wonderland Novels. Although she enjoys a variety of genres, her favorite is YA fantasy. Her twitter is @OnceUponAnAlice.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Taylor Hranko

When you move in with somebody, there are a lot of things you don’t consider. Does that person talk in their sleep? Are they capable of flushing the toilet? Are they nice to your cat? Will they have a book shelf? Before I moved in with my boyfriend I never had a bookshelf. The books I owned were scattered around my room, car and mailbox at work. Now, my organized chaos method of bookkeeping at least has a definitive home.


My bookshelf isn’t huge or impressive, but I have read every book on it with the exception of my two latest purchases: 1984 and Philosophy: Who Needs It. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way the books are arranged (or lack thereof).


On the top shelf we have Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, which is a collection of essays written by Rand and Nathaniel Branden. Rand argues her views on moral value, gives explanation regarding her rejection of altruism and elaborates on her definition of selfishness. Another favorite from this shelf is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This book examines the factors that play into people’s success. Gladwell challenges the commonality that talented people must be overwhelmingly intelligent when in fact a person’s date of birth or devoted work ethic could very well be the key factors in being successful.


The second shelf is mostly conspiracy indulgent books. The Trillion Dollar Conspiracy is my second favorite book I’ve read of that category. Written by Jim Marrs, this is a detailed compilation of ideas on how the United States has become a nation polluted by zombies (not literally speaking) but people who are so brainwashed by the government and scared into submission by threats of terrorism, economic catastrophe and man-made diseases.


The next two shelves consist of a mix of books that make you contemplate your opinions and books that make you question the voice inside of your head.

hope of the wicked

My ultimate favorite book on conspiracy theories is Hope of the Wicked by Ted Flynn. This is a non-fiction book that accounts activities of powerful individuals and their obsession with globalism. Undeniable evidence of a “master plan” is presented and I had an exceedingly difficult time putting this book down.

miranda july

There’s honestly no pattern to the books that I enjoy reading. I’ll pretty much read anything. That’s one of my better qualities. While Mortals Sleep and No One Belongs Here More Than You are short stories that I enjoyed bringing with me to work to read on my lunch hour.

thoughts are things

My favorite types of books to read are the ones that challenge my thinking tendencies. Thoughts Are Things is my fourth favorite book I have ever read (so far). The main concept of this book is The Law of Attraction, like attracts like: if you continually release positive “thought currents” positive things will ensue and likewise with negative thought currents.

The inconsistency in regards to my book collection definitely coincides with my personality. I sure hope that’s a good thing.

Taylor Hranko is a nonsense blogger who’s in denial of being an adult. Her hobbies include chugging coffee, hugging her cat and wishing she would hit the lottery. Read her reflections at Same Tay Different Day.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Alyson Lopez


I have a trying history with steel pipe bookshelves.  Ever since I saw them on Etsy a few years ago I went and purchased a corner shelving unit. It was close to $200 but I was in love with the aesthetic. Especially since I moved into a new room at my parents’ house where there was an exposed steel radiator, I knew it would look awesome in my room. I kept close tabs on the bookshelf for the first few weeks. The seller said it would take about 3-4 weeks to make and then I would get an email when it was shipped. Well, about 2 months went by and I had forgotten about my bookshelf! I was able to forget about it because I was never emailed. I tried contacting the seller- no response. I tried contacting Etsy, but the policy in which they can intervene has a time limit, which had just passed. So there I was, duped and scammed, about $200 poorer and with no bookshelf. I was devastated but there really was nothing I could do.

But then why is there a steel pipe bookshelf featured in this post? Well flash forward to this past Christmas 2014. Mmm, time travel confusion. Anyways, a bunch of my family came over from North Carolina for the holidays. I had to work for the first few days they were here though (oh NYCDOE, you would make us have school until the 23rd). One day I came home from work exhausted and just wanted to go straight to bed. My sister ran ahead of me and closed my door, telling me to hold up a minute. I assumed she cleaned my room for me (my family does things like that).

But when she opened the door I saw it there: A corner steel pipe bookshelf.

I was literally speechless.

It had been years since the Etsy debacle. How? Who? What?!

My sister told me that my dad, my uncle, and my little brother had gone out to Home Depot, bought all of the pipes and pieces, and after about 2 hours of toiling, they built me a steel pipe bookshelf.

I still can’t believe it but I have it. After all this time it’s mine. I just finished putting in all my books and immediately sat down to write this post. I finally have a bookshelf worthy of an Anatomy of a Bookshelf post for BiblioSmiles! So without further ado, here is a tour of my brand new dream bookshelf.


On the bottom where my bookshelf meets my radiator I debated putting some books there but then I remembered some adorable trinkets I had! I also didn’t want my books getting too hot or catching on fire (would that happen? Probably not, but still). Featured on the lower level is a centerpiece from my aunt’s recent wedding vow renewal celebration. It’s reminiscent of a snow globe with people building a snowman in the snow, with a Christmas tree in tow. I also have wall decor piece that I thought looked cute next to it that says Love. I’m so cheesy, I know.


On Level 1 to the left is a mish mosh of “feel good” books. Things like Darth Vader and Son, Other People’s Love Letters, Crazy Rich Asians, Disneystrology, Hyperbole and a Half, etc. The right side features Gayle Forman’s books (my most recent author obsession), minus Just One Day which is currently being read. It also has the Fifty Shades series. I didn’t think I wanted to put them up on display, but I like the aesthetic of a series on this shelving unit so I thought whatever; I enjoyed the books on a superficial level, who cares what people think of me.


I’m pretty sure Level 2 is my favorite. First of all it features two of my recent favorite authors: Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell. Also a series I fell in love with unintentionally: The Maze Runner Series. It was unintentional because I only picked up the book when I saw that Dylan O’Brien was in the trailer for the movie. This meant that when I read the books I could imagine Dylan O’Brien as the main character and who doesn’t want that image in their head? I didn’t realize what an exhilarating adventure it would be until I was already sucked in. Then of course there’s my buggy, which was a gift from my mom, and Every Day Counts: The Art of Making Every Day, a Special Day, an adorable book from IKEA that features gorgeous full spread photographs of table settings and food pairings (with recipes included!) to make every day something special. I could probably go on and on about each part of this level because each book has a unique and loving space in my heart, but this post is already too long, so let’s move on shall we?


Level 3. When I initially was starting to set up my books on these shelves I didn’t really think it through how I was organizing them, other than keeping authors together. Themes just sort of happened organically through the process. The theme of this level is books that made me truly who I am today. On the left are some inspirational books that had a deep impact on my view of the world, including favorites like Born to Run and The Alchemist. I also have the Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels. After going through my teenage/college years with ATLA, I couldn’t not give them the honor of this shelf. On the right is John Green (minus The Fault in Our Stars, which I am CONSTANTLY misplacing, ugh), Junot Diaz, and Raquel Cepeda. These three authors have had really huge impacts on me; either by consciously introducing me to YA (John Green) and giving me a label for the genre I already loved but didn’t realize, or by supporting me and helping me with my insecurities when it comes to my identity as a Latina who grew up in New York. I spent most of my life pushing down my roots only to realize how much I needed them now. Raquel Cepeda and Junot Diaz were relatable to me and helped me move past self-destructive self-hate regarding my identity.


Last but not least is Level 4. On the left are the books I first purchased when I decided to self-teach myself yoga, back when I first started getting depressed back in 2012. It turned out to be a really influential thing in my life that I still practice today. Next to those are Mannahatta and Wild New York. Both of these books are about the native animal and plant species in New York, and  I got them for a natural history class I took my first year of grad school. They’re super cool and super informative. And of course, on the left I have The Artist’s Way recommended to me by Danielle! I need to get around to finishing it…

On the right I have The Giver Quartet which I finished a few months ago. I had no idea that Gathering Blue was apart of The Giver series or that The Son had come out to wrap everything up! The Giver along with a few others was one one of the first books that turned me into a bookworm. And last but not least: the Divergent Series, with a sloth perched on top. I became super dauntless for a few weeks after finishing this series… I still love the all-black grunge outfits.

I am so incredibly thankful to my daddy Harry, my tio Johnny, and my little brother (Little Harry) for this amazing gift. It was more than anything I could’ve ever wished for. I love you!

Alyson Lopez is a middle school science teacher who enjoys reading YA, dressing up, pretending to be an adult, and the finer things in life, like watching TV in bed with no pants on. She’s finishing up grad school this May and cannot wait to be done with being a student. It blows.

Anatomy of a Bookshelf: Gabriele Boland

I suppose it’s more than time for me to do an Anatomy of a Bookshelf study of the bookshelf in my room. Be forewarned: this bookshelf contains mostly the leavings of a quirky, bumbling, teenage Gabriele.

Most of my serious literary favorites have relocated to our master library in the front of our house. Here you will find A Song of Ice and Fire, all of my favorite Neil Gaiman books, Anne Rice, historical fiction, classics, and other works.

Here you can see the 900 page biography of Henry VII I lugged around one summer. The collector’s edition of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy next to the complete works of Shakespeare. Some of my favorite children’s books are here: The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Out of the Dust, and Little House on the Prairie.

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Messy doesn’t matter… so many books!

Where are my beloved Harry Potter books? Those have been sequestered away to my brother’s bookshelves where he can read them over and over.

So. What’s been left on my bookshelf in my room? An explosion of color, to brighten those dreary cloudy days ahead of us in autumn.

On my top shelf, there are plenty of curios and knickknacks from the museum of Gabriele. An Icelandic crown from my trip abroad.


The next shelf holds my favorite series from my preteen years, with some other odd books thrown in between. We have Ann Brashares, Meg Cabot, and Louise Rennison all making their appearances here. And I’ve organized them alphabetically by author because I am very concerned with the feng shui of my room at the moment, and trying to eschew chaos wherever I can.

The next two shelves are dominated by manga – a phase I went through in 9th and 10th grade, and a literary form that I still appreciate. I think graphic novels and manga are still woefully unappreciated. I started my foray into graphic novels at a young age – with Captain Underpants. Hmm, I wonder where those books have gotten off too.


Sprinkled throughout are my occult books, from a middle school flirtation with Wicca, nature worship, and astrology. Some were gifts, some were me taking advantage of Borders’ closing sale, where I scored new books for mere cents.

On my final and bottom shelf, there are some random books. An illustrated copy of Canterbury Tales I got for five dollars at a used book shop. Oh, and hey, a TARDIS.


Usually these days, I read most of my books on my Kindle, but if I am in love with a book or it’s by a beloved author, I’ll add it to the permanent collection. Or if I really want my brother or a friend to read it, who haven’t yet joined the electronic book revolution, I’ll pick up a paper copy. But there is something so special about holding your favorite book in your hand, slowly turning and savoring its familiar pages.

When I eventually move, I’m going to be woe-begotten, choosing between which of my babies to take with me to a new home. But I think I wouldn’t mind donating a lot of them to the library either. Because I can picture myself like a little kid again, discovering worlds in each book I pulled from the shelves. Out there, my books will be able to give love again and again. That won’t be so bad.

Gabriele Boland is an aspiring grown-up. She enjoys pretending she’s in a Disney movie, letting her dork flag fly, and writing stories that will never see the light of day. The other ramblings of her mind can be found at Brilliant Buckets.

My Year Without a Bookshelf

This summer, a lot of things happened:

I moved from northern New Jersey into New York City for the month of June to help my roommate-less friend cover her rent; I did a lot of job-searching and a lot of resume revising; I gave up hope and resigned my fate back to the suburbs…

But then I got a job!

I moved into a beautiful new apartment and became the permanent roommate of my aforementioned roommate-less friend!

And suddenly I’m learning how to grocery shop, and how to balance a checkbook, and how to pick out a cable plan (because, let’s face it, we can’t possibly go on without our reality TV). Suddenly I have a 9-to-5 schedule again after months of making up my own work hours and compiling spreadsheets while wearing pajamas. I’m sleeping in a new bed, and using new towels, and buying a kettle to make tea on the stove. It’s terrifying but exhilarating, all of this newness. What has proven most difficult so far?

My bookshelves couldn’t make the move with me.

If you’ve seen the Anatomy of a Bookshelf posts, you may understand how important I think bookshelves are. But paying for an apartment on the Upper East Side, where I’m a short walk away from Central Park and subway lines that can take me wherever my eager little heart desires, means making some sacrifices. Specifically, space sacrifices. Specifically wall-space sacrifices. And so, my beautiful, white, full bookshelves will stay back in New Jersey for at least the next year.

The idea of being away from the Dover Thrift editions that somehow survived high school English classes despite being scribbled all over and tossed into the bottom of my backpack made me very sad. I would no longer have the comforting presence of the well-worn Lolita, the copies of Whip Smart and This Life She’s Chosen by my brilliant writing professors (Febos and Lunstrum, respectively), my signed Imperial Bedrooms –  a remembrance off the day I shook hands with Bret Easton Ellis. My immaculate copy of Alison Espach’s The Adults, with words so beautiful I don’t want to disturb them. The messy, scrawled-upon copy of Ulysses that, in my semester-long class with Professor McCormick, frustrated and delighted me to no end. I cried when that class was over; whether it was from relief or sadness or both, I still haven’t determined.

How was I supposed to feel secure without these books around me? Surely I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling disoriented, not being able to see the glow of the bindings in the semi-darkness. After a particularly exhausting day of work, how could I de-stress without my bookshelves stationed, strong, against the wall, seeming to say, “It’s okay. We’ll always be here?”

I’ve realized something, though: this terrifying, exhilarating newness? This is exactly what I needed. I’ve been fortunate to live a safe and secure life. My parents have provided for me to the best of their ability, and have given me so many wonderful opportunities. Even when I was away at school, I knew I could come home and nothing would have changed. But now this is my home. My place of residence. My name’s on the lease. And I feel like my actual, grown-up life has begun. And while I know that I’ll always be welcome at home, and I’ll always be eager to visit, it feels right, leaving the bookshelves behind.


So I have a policy for this year. My new book collection, my makeshift shelf underneath my nightstand? It will consist of books I’ve acquired in this shiny, grown-up life. There are the copies of The Sixteenth of June and The Vacationers that I had signed at readings at The Strand and McNally Jackson. There are the ARCs that got delivered to my new mailbox. Books I picked up on clearance during days out with friends, because I just couldn’t help myself. They each have a story to tell, like those books back at my parents’ home. I love them just as much.

One day, when I finally move in with my significant other, I’ll pray that we can afford a place where we can both tote our bookshelves along. There’s nothing more romantic, in my opinion, than combining bookshelves.

Love, whether it’s with someone else or the self, is about accepting the old parts of yourself and being eager to welcome the new parts. Here is the old me in this volume, there is the old you. Can you tell my story’s in these bindings?

Let’s keep growing. There’s nothing to be scared of, at all.

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and she is really glad you’re here. Learn more on the About page.  Tweet @daniellevillano.