PHOTO GALLERY: Queer in the Stacks

Welcome to Queer IRL, a monthly Autostraddle community photo series that gathers little clips of lesbian, bisexual, queer and otherwise-identified women, trans and non-binary folks, just living our lives in 2017.

You’re such a bunch of book people!! August’s theme was all about you and your favorite words on papers and the structures within which you keep them, and WOW. Lots of books, lots of cats and puppies, one baby, so many wives, so much organization! It’s all very impressive and inspiring, seriously. Oh, you’ll also got a lot of book recommendations out of this gallery. If you’re an Autostraddle regular, you know we have an affiliate account with Amazon, meaning we get a few cents for every dollar you spend there (when you use our link) regardless of what you buy. So do me a favor! If you’re an Amazon shopper and decide to buy any of the books you see here, use this link to get to Amazon’s homepage. Then, no matter what you decide to order, you’ll be helping to support this independent queer community!

I’m trying out a slider situation for submissions that included more than one image, so let me know what you think. Enjoy your bookworm gallery!

If you don’t see your picture in this gallery, it’s likely because you used the wrong words in the subject of your email. But we can fix it! Email me again with the subject line QUEER STACKS. Your submission will be added to the last page of the gallery!

Brianna / 27 / Chicago, IL

“To be honest, I have since killed that fern.”

Lillie Soukup / 18 / Charlotte, NC

“There isn’t any intentional organization in this bookshelf. These are just some of my favorite books squeezed onto two shelves. The Color Purple was one of the first quality books with queer representation that I’ve read. Because I’ve just recently come out, I’m not really familiar with other great LGBTQ works of literature.”

Mati (they·them) / 25 / Somerville, MA

“I’m a transfeminine nonbinary witch living in the Boston metropolitan area. Currently, I am reading the trilogy of books by Richard Barnett on the gruesome history of 19th-century western medical practices and their accompanying illustrations (i.e. The Sick Rose, Crucial Interventions, and The Smile Stealers). The top two shelves contain my fiction collection, which is alphabetized first by author’s last name and then title. The third shelf is for knick-knacks and trinkets. Below that is my haphazardly arranged collection of nonfiction.”

Joelle / 26 / Kenora, Ontario

“The bookshelf is a cheapie from Canadian Tire circa 2011. Pretty sure my dad and I got into a fight putting it together. It used to be alphabetized, but we moved recently and I haven’t had the energy! It’s divided into sections: Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels. My favourite book on shelf is a copy of A New Path to the Waterfall by Raymond Carver, signed by Tess Gallagher. (The cat’s name is Garf and he is 11.)”

Charlie Porter / 35 / Daphne, AL

“It’s weird to think I used to have six bookshelves stuffed with books stacked horizontally, when I moved I added almost all that could be purchased digitally to my amazon wishlist and donated the rest to my local library. Books have always held a special place in my heart. My favorite is Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, I also love The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and The Crow by James O’Barr.  I kept random Charmed, Supernatural and Buffy books, and my most important Wicca Books (I used to have over 200.) I have comics, and some random fiction. I decorated my shelves with crystals. I am holding my cat, Little Boo. Books are very important to me and always have been, I worked for Barnes and Noble for three years.”

Maria Aghazarian / 26 / Havertown, PA

“I work in libraries and these stacks of books are held up solely by my own desperation. Some favorites featured in this shot are Holly Black’s modern faerie tales, Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys, and towers and towers of comics, from Rocket Girl to Fish Girl to Snotgirl. The newest acquisition is Gus Was A Friendly Ghost, because Halloween is a year-round holiday and I read picture books to my friends over Snapchat. As you can see, there’s not room for much besides books, but I do have a lovely lizard wind chime, which was a gift from a dear friend.”

Tami / 31 / MD

“My bookshelf is grouped by read/ not read and then no two of the same color book touching. I was an obsessive sorter for many years so I don’t know how this happened. I always trip on the favorite book (or song, or food) question because my favorite thing is the one that gets me at the moment I need it. On my shelf you’ll find:

A lot about the beats: Novels, biographies, poetry, rarities… it’s a bit of an obsession.

Feminist and queer theory/poetry. This includes an early 90’s book titled Lesbian Psychologies which I bought when I was 18 and promptly took awkward notes in so I can never release it into the wild again.

Books on factory farming, consumer culture and vegan cooking.

Non-fiction on marketing, copy writing and the nonprofit sector.

Other beloved items include things that were my grandfather’s (he passed away when I was 14 and was the strongest dude influence on my life). There is a reproduction Japanese tin parrot that we used to play with together (my grandfather bought and sold old crap as a side hustle, which is something I still do today), and a porcelain turtle that I will never have background information on and that’s okay.”

Jessa Greenwood / 24 / Portland, OR

“I don’t have much of a bookshelf anymore. I move pretty often and these are the few books that come with me everywhere or that I’ve acquired recently. They are on the floor next to my bed, always within arm’s reach, comforting and exciting simultaneously. My art therapy source book and my sex psych texts are my favorites, particularly Sex Matters. I feel that my small collection is truly representative of myself: no real sense of organization, varied, and well-loved. My most cherished tattoo is featured in this photo which reads: “Carpe Librum” – Seize the Book. Books have been my sanctuary, my friends, and my teachers. My connections to those who resonate within me and glimpses into the profound unknown.”

Jutta and Charlotte / Together almost 80 / Dahoam, Austria

All Time favourite book (and movie) of mine is Fingersmith from Sarah Waters. My wife loves all books. Not just books but words in general. She reads, writes and talks … a lot. Guess when her first book is finished and published I have to change my favourite book. We just try to fit all our books somewhere in our apparent. Bookshelves are always to small. No matter how big they are. Kindle helps a lot about the space problem.”

Audrey / 19 / IA

“Can you tell I love the color pink?? I got my pink bookshelf on Amazon. I also have one on the other side of my futon. In the picture I am reading The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. While I love poetry my favorite genre is fantasy/sci-fi. I recommend everything written by Malinda Lo and Octavia Butler. My bookshelves are not organized… same goes for the rest of my life tbh.”

Dafna / 28 / Tel Aviv

“We live in a commune with ten friends, so our bookshelf holds everyone’s books. The shelves themselves were built by a friend of ours. The right shelf is fiction and the left shelf is nonfiction organized by topic. When we moved house last year, we packed the books into twenty-eight boxes (!), and the friends who helped us move were pretty pissed when we started unpacking and they realized that most of the boxes we’d lugged all day contained books.

One book we reference frequently is The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, who was  a German social psychologist. He writes,  “If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, “I love you,” I must be able to say, “I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself.”

We try to conduct our relationships in the commune according to Fromm’s theory of love. And through our educational work, we aim to build a society based on equality and respect for all.”

Hanna / 23 / Raleigh, NC

“I built my bookshelf myself (by which I mean IKEA made all the pieces and I put those pieces together) the day I moved to Raleigh last month. I’m getting my master’s degree in library science, so unpacking and organizing my books was a really important part of making my new space a home. Surprisingly—maybe a little contradictorily, given what I’m studying—there’s very little rhyme or reason to how the books are actually organized on the shelves. My personal collection is pretty diverse and wide-ranging in topics and genres; I like to see the scope of that diversity not by categorizing them, but by mixing them all together. My favorite (well, currently, but has also been so in the past) is Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. It changed the way I thought about gender and fairytale storytelling when I first read it at 16. My two most prized not-book possessions that live on the shelf are a growler from my favorite brewery in my home state (Iowa pride, baby!) and a reproduction of a WWI propaganda poster featuring one of my lady heroes, Joan of Arc.”

Erica and Natalie / 30, 29 / Nashville, TN by way of Houston, TX

“This is my fiancée and I. We have been together for five and a half years. We met at work where we are both teachers and fell in love because of a crazy obsession with YA books! Some faves with great lady dates: If You Could Be Mine and Miseducation of Cameron Post. When we helped to plan the first ever school district Pride Plus summit (for LGBTQ students and their allies) we helped create the representation through books list and had a raffle!

When we started carpooling together we would take turns driving and the other would read aloud a book! (So nerdy!) We recently moved and has to do some serious soul searching on which books would make the cross country move with us. We decided only books we haven’t read yet would make the cut, and it still ended up being a full floor to ceiling bookshelf.”

Danno Mannino (they·them) / 23 / Ashland, OR

“Favorite books: Lost Boi by Sassafras Lowrey, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation by Eli Clare, and All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. My bookshelf features that Autostraddle calendar from 2014 above (haha), also a lamp I got from the SOU Queer Resource Center when they were remodeling, my “grey flannel” candle #gaaaayy, and little to no organization.”

Daphne / 26 / Rotterdam, the Netherlands

“I wouldn’t call my books strictly organized. There’s some books that I didn’t know where to put, so the Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy is hanging out next to a book named The Confused Guinea Pig. Roughly, the sections are English literature, beloved (Dutch) books from my childhood, sci-fi/fantasy, YA novels, Harry Potter, and on the final shelf there’s some comics. The Green Flower trilogy is my favourite thing on these shelves probably. It’s the coming-of-age/coming-out story of a 16-year-old boy in Victorian London, during the time of Oscar Wilde’s trial. My second favourite thing are my Hawkeye comics. Last year I wondered if I had lost the joy in reading, but since then I’ve discovered that I just needed to get my hands on fantasy novels with queer characters in them.

Useless fun fact: several of my Harry Potter editions are literally taped together. They’ve been through a lot.”

Ngaire / 25 / Australia

“I have mostly fiction books that are arranged in alphabetical order by author and then my system collapses once I get to nonfiction and other random books, including new books because there isn’t space for them. I love nothing more than reading a book with a cup of tea. I also love this cute cross stitch I picked up at the gay markets.”

Caitlin / 33 / Northern CA

“When I moved into my house I couldn’t feasibly take my large bookcase with me. I currently have 3 small shelves that house my books, with the bookshelf pictured being the most recent addition. This bookshelf is my favorite because not only does it fit the majority of my books, but my cat can lounge on it and spy on the neighbors (cat not pictured — she was too cool to take a selfie with her mom). Half of the shelf is devoted to my queer book collection, which I began in 2000 with Tipping the Velvet. I used to organize my books by subject, then by author (an author with multiple books was then organized by publication date). I wasn’t as detailed with this new bookshelf, but I did separate queer from non-queer! My favorite book is Fall on Your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald. It has traveled from home, to college, to the U.K., and back again. As much as I love my Kindle, nothing compares to the beauty of books.”

Elodie / 33 / Toulouse, France

“My bookshelf is in a dressing, because I don’t have that many clothes and I might as well use the space left to store books and board games. The book you can see the cover of is my favorite novel: a beautifully written story about a teenager’s journey to love (with an older woman), loss, and love gain. It won an award in the 90s.”

Nani / 25 / Minneapolis, MN

“My father was always an avid reader, I wanted to be just like him when I was little so I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. He would collect books about religion, astrology, science, history, and countless of subjects. Books allowed me to have a very vast view of the world since I was very young. When I moved to America I brought two bags: one full of clothes, and one full of books. They’re the last reminders of my home, and I hope if I ever go back to my country I get to bring back a couple more of them with me.”

Priscila / 25 / Toronto, ON

“My bookshelves are the central pieces in my living room/kitchen situation. They make home my home. I have my comics (I have to thank Mey for a lot of recs here) and my top books on display on the first pic, and whatever is left on the second pic. They aren’t really organized right now because I had to free up space for some visiting relatives, so I just threw the books back in for the picture. A lot of my books are back home because my parents kept getting mad at me every time I moved, so I just let them have them :( I won’t dare pick a favourite book, but I really love the Engelsfors Trilogy, which are Buffy meets Pretty Little Liars, and I’m re-reading them right now. (The Key is the third one in the series, visible in the first pic.) You’ll see a lot of random stuff and prints and funkos (and my A-Camp badge!) all over my shelves. The bookshelf in the first pic has been with me for a couple of years and I really love it. It even survived a move from the US to Canada. It is one of the few pieces I actually brought with me, I had to sell/give away most of my other stuff.”

Amanda / 29 / Washington DC

“There’s no way I could fit my 600+ books into one photo, but here’s my graduation photo from when I got my master’s in library science (which I hope isn’t a cop-out!). My IRL bookshelves are organized by author (for fiction) and Library of Congress call number order (for nonfiction; this is probably the nerdiest thing about me). Most of my shelves are in my living room, but the one small one in my bedroom is reserved for my *favorite* favorites, including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Poisonwood Bible, and Half of a Yellow Sun.”

Sophia / 28 / Minneapolis, MN

“It was difficult to choose just one bookcase (even here I technically cheated and chose two) as I have many. But for this photo I decided to highlight my nonfiction shelf. I take great pride in my personal quest of knowledge. Growing up I was bullied at home and school. I essentially failed at school, not due to being unintelligent but because I would bury my head and hide. The bullying was so bad that I hated that often windowless box that I was forced to sit at a desk in for five days a week. It was nothing but pain and suffering to me. Sadly it stayed that way all through high school. Anyways as I’ve gotten older I’ve found great enjoyment in learning. So this shelf represents my love of that. It’s filled with a lot of history and science and even a little bit of mythology. My favorite book is either A Short History of Nearly Everything or The Age of Wonder. Both are excellent books that delve into history and science, the two subjects I love most. It’s through learning that I’ve gained the most strength so that’s why this shelf means a lot to me.”

Caryl / 26 / Wellington, New Zealand

“I moved into my flat with one box of books, which thankfully all fit onto that top shelf above in this cupboard with room to spare. Not pictured: three video game art books and the Hamilton sitting on my table trying to be coffee table books even though they’re not on a coffee table, and three accordion files full of comics, one DC, one Marvel, one ostensibly indies but mostly Dark Horse. However, except for comics and songbooks, I’m mostly buying my books on Kindle these days anyway; most of my favorite books are on the Kindle in that Pokédex cover in front of my face.

The order of books on that one shelf: Non-fiction, like theatre and film books I haven’t finished but mean to, linguistics and TESOL books I referenced in uni and haven’t finished but mean to, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls (a rare fave I own in hardcopy); four plays; fiction, like New Zealand, Filipino, misc, video game spinoffs of variable canonicity; a handful of Disney and musical theatre vocal/piano songbooks and comic book trades that were too tall to fit onto the shelf standing up; comic trades including a memoir, Filipino comics, indies, and then DC and Marvel roughly in order of my favorite heroes. I only wish I could show other things off on that shelf – this cupboard hides other things like my pajamas, linen, and cosplay and photography gear.”

Carrie / 20 / NC

“The left half of this shelf is for all my childhood books, and on the right side I have classic and contemporary lit, mysteries, nonfiction, and a small but growing queer section (you can just see Fun Home to my left). Not pictured is my fantasy bookshelf, which is almost as large as the rest of my collection combined!”

Elizabeth English / 26 / Portland, OR

“My bookshelves are home to my 313 book children, and I strongly identify as the Friend Who Will Actually Read Your Book Recommendations. My favorite shelf is fondly nicknamed the English-Rosenberg Reading Room — it holds queer feminist Jewish texts collected by me and my pal Al Rosenberg, and someday it will grow into a real space where baby queers can come find themselves in the pages. I’ve always found it impossible to pick one favorite book, but my top reads over this summer were Nevada by Imogen Binnie, The Estrangement Principle by Ariel Goldberg, Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, and The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch.”

Jess / 37 / Rotterdam, The Netherlands

“I’m a social theorist and this is my office bookshelf, so the books are arranged by research project. That usually means bringing two themes together and seeing what happens: science fiction and post-colonialism, robots and global capitalism, and so on. In a way, writing is a way of explaining how the books on my shelf make sense together — or better yet, why it’s important to combine and reimagine different aspects of the world to further social justice. In this photo, the top shelf has the first copies of my own book, which arrived just in time for my birthday. It’s bittersweet though, since right now it feels like ignorance is tearing the world apart, even as people are becoming more vocal about what’s wrong and figuring out how to fight it.”

Mary Margaret Tickle / 23 / Chattanooga, TN

“After living with tons of roommates and having to deal with a tiny bookcase for the last couple of years, this is my first full size bookcase in an apartment with just me and my wife. It’s already full, but I love it. My favorite book changes weekly, but a book I always come back to is Huntress by Malinda Lo. For a long time it was really important to me to read a book where being gay wasn’t something that was thought of as weird or different, and, probably more importantly, where being gay wasn’t your whole identity. The book focuses on two young women who are so strong in different ways, but they have this sweet, amazing love story that makes them stronger in their own way.

Right now I have them organized by color, but it makes me kind of antsy to not have books in the same series together. Who knows how they’ll end up.
I have a teapot, some driftwood, and candles mixed in as well. I think I’m 90% tea at this point in my life. Some of my happiest memories have taken place at the beach and I try to keep a little bit of the ocean with me in landlocked TN. Candles just smell nice.”

Trinica / 23 / Dunnigan, CA

“This is my mom’s bookshelf technically, but it’s filled with all the books I love and, sadly, won’t be able to take with me when I move next week to Austin, TX. It used to be obsessively organized alphabetically, but it’s in disarray now that I’m handpicking which books to take and which to leave. I’m taking a lot of books by/for queer/trans people of color, because my girlfriend and I (along with our cat, Aaron Purr) run an Instagram highlighting more diverse books. Check it out @qtpocbooks !”

Shay / 31 / Pittsburgh, PA

“This tiny lil bookshelf used to live in my basement and I have absolutely no idea how it came into my life. It’s only big enough to hold my favorites, the best of which you can mostly see on the top shelf, my fancy-ass edition of The Hobbit. Less visible: my H.P. Lovecraft Complete Works, Steven King’s Needful Things, Joe Haldeman’s All My Sins Remembered, and The Wicked + The Divine. Oh, also Good Omens. And Michelle Tea’s The Beautiful. And all my Bukowski. Etc, etc…

They’re loosely organized alphabetically, with the comics on the far right. (Mostly The X-Men) Pamphlets from theatre and ballet are on the middle left, and my pile of Beatles CD’s are on the bottom right. Hence ‘loosely organized’. My pup’s name is Kacey, she’s 15, lazy, and stubborn as a brick wall.”

Francesca / 28 / London, UK

“I basically stopped reading books by men two years ago, and I make sure that at least a third of what I read is by POC. It’s important to me as a reader to minimise how much of my time and money go toward consuming art by white dudes.”

Jay / 22 / Portland, OR

“I just moved and the first thing I fully unpacked and organized were my books and shelves. My favorite shelf is the green one in the middle, my grandpa made it, and the top is the perfect place for my little altar. I keep a lot of sentimental knick knacks on my shelves, so they are a really grounding space for me.”

Amelia and Mariel / 26, 24 / Brooklyn, NY

“My girlfriend and I just moved in together and combined our many, many books (and bookshelves). We haven’t quite finished unpacking yet, and we’ll be curious to see if everything fits. Will we organize by color? Genre? Alphabetically? Most likely, we will just continue to stack books wherever there is space. In the meantime, we’re just excited to have this sun-drenched, plant-filled room where we can read together.”

Launa and Trice (cat) / 28, 16 / Port Orchard, WA

“I’ve known three things since I was a child: I want to be a parent, I want to read to my kids, and I want to have a library in my house.

Throughout my childhood my dad would buy books by the box at garage sales, read them, and put the ones he liked/thought my sister and I would like in a room lined entirely with book shelves. I loved it. I kept it alphabetized and sorted by subject. As an adult I’ve kept up the tradition as best as I can while still being able to move without filling a moving van with books. Currently my library is three big book shelves next to a bay window open to the forest.

Most of my collection is “mature young adult” but I also have every Animorph book, Babysitters Club book (regular and little sisters) and most of the boxcar children. I have nearly every book published by Tamora Pierce (some signed) and Tolkien. I have comics and shelves of nonfiction on various subjects. I like variety. My current favorite in the collection is Kushiel’s Dart, but that changes constantly. One day I hope it fills an entire room.”

Hannah / 18 / Southern CA

“Cool stuff in my bookshelves: an axe, a bunch of woodwind instruments, a coffin-shaped archery trophy, shotgun shells, Voldemort’s wand, a faceless Enjolras figure, part of a steam turbine, my beloved atlas collection, and other books (mostly historical fiction, classics, and poetry)
Not pictured: the mountain of books I need to order for my first quarter of college.”

Erica / 26 / Sacramento, CA

“So I finally decided to organize my bookshelves a few weeks ago alphabetical by author and man, did that take a while! It was fun but also slightly exhausting, and I found out I have slightly over 250 books! How did this happen? And I just bought four more (, ftw)! Ya’ll, I have a problem.

On my bookshelves I have Stephen King — which I was very into in high school, childhood books, nonfiction books-mostly about international relations and politics, lots and lots of novels, some comics/graphic novels, and a growing queer nonfiction/lit section. I also have a lot of knicknacks-Pokémon dolls, a Lincoln figurine I got in DC, a small globe, a plush of Gandalf (the wizard, not to be confused with my cat), Funko pops of Sulu, Spock, Kirk, and Chekov from Star Trek Beyond, as well as a Funko pop of Neville from Harry Potter. There’s also candles, a picture of me and my mom, and an origami crane my friend made for me.”

Ann / 19 / Long Beach, CA

“My bookshelf is roughly organized by genre, but within that category organization is pretty loose. I like having to look through all my books to find the one I want! This picture shows only about half of my bookshelves, including the “boys growing up” and “girls growing up” and “LGBT YA” (located next to my shoulder) sections. I have too many books to pick a favorite, but my favorite LGBT YA book is Everything Leads to You by Robin Talley, which I recommend to everyone!”

Tess / 20 / Dorset, UK

“Books have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, and as a result I own more books than many people I know! I organise them alphabetically by author’s last name (and split fiction/non-fiction) because that’s the only way that makes sense. I’ve just finished The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman, and I’m currently reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman – both very good!”

Kris / 36 / Seattle, WA

“I’m a queer reader and mom at the ripe old age of 36! What can I say, I LOVE books! I spend a lot of time taking my toddler to various libraries and encouraging him to love the written word as well.”

Jax / 27 / St. Louis, MO

“I got this bookcase for free by sneaking into my office on a Sunday night with my roommate, who generously agreed to help me lug it downstairs and transfer it to my feeble yet trusty 2004 Kia Optima. We drove the highway home at approximately 10 miles per hour because the lower half of the bookcase was hanging out of the open trunk threatening doom at every incline and I had not thought this through enough to bring along any kind of tying mechanism. (This was shortly after my ex moved out and took most of the furniture with them, so it was one of many outings that involved cramming uncooperative pieces into a very cooperative car whose acts of saintliness are surpassed only by that of said roommate.) (Also not very cooperative: my pup who REFUSED to sit for this picture so instead I am gazing down at him lovingly as he sits on my foot and pretends he doesn’t love me back.)

Anyway I’m super boring so I organize my books by genre, then author’s last name. This bookcase houses memoir/essays (top shelf), drama/other plays (meager pile on top shelf) and fiction (remaining shelves). I have some nonfiction/theory and reference books somewhere else and I keep all the Books I Own But Haven’t Read Yet quarantined as well. I have poetry books scattered in strategic locations all around my apartment because I want to appear painfully hip even though I am not.

My favorite book is anything by Jeanette Winterson — I own everything she’s ever written and have given away/replaced so many copies of Written on the Body that I’ve lost count — but I try to read 50 books a year so there’s a lot to love. I just finished (devoured) Creamsickle by Rhiannon Argo, and I’m currently reading “I’ll Tell You In Person” by Chloe Caldwell, which had me hooked after the first essay.”

Taylor / 23 / Cincinnati, OH

“My personal book collection is not very impressive, mainly because I’ve been a lifelong public library patron. And since I now work at one too, I figured showing it off would be the truest personal representation of my relationship with books. I chose to stand with our Teen section, since probably 70% of what I read for pleasure is YA fiction with LGBT+ content. The library is also about way more than books, especially since my branch serves a low-income neighborhood. I even got to walk with a library group in Cincinnati’s Pride parade this year!”

Ana and Kelly / 24 / Cincinnati, OH

“Our book case is composed of wine crates that Kelly brings home from work. It’s assembly took hours of careful stacking and lots of hope that physics would be on our side and not send the crates crashing down.

When confronted with the question of our favorite book, we both had mini-existential crises, so we narrowed it down to our favorite books that we’ve read in 2017. Kelly’s favorite is Alyssa Mastramonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House. It’s full of anecdotes, like the excerpt about Obama telling Mastramonaco that he saw her cat’s spirit soaring over a mountain in an attempt to comfort her over the loss of said cat, that offer some political comfort and laughs that are desperately needed in order to face and resist the current administration. Ana’s favorite book in Spanish is Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego by Mariana Enríquez, and her favorite in English is The Tsar of Love and Techno; Stories by Anthony Marra. She likes these books because they are like snow globes: brutal, honest, and sometimes violent. But still gives you some type of semi-satisfied acquiescence in the end  when you look at it after the shaking has occurred.

Ana’s books are organized by genre and author. Kelly’s books are organized in Netflix-esque categories (e.g. nonfiction about women in rock and roll organized by the amount of Joan Jett featured). Our bookcase showcases our mutual loves. Our biggest mutual love is the Harry Potter series, and the bookcase includes our wands from the theme park, a Harry plush (yes, we know we need a Hermione), a pygmy puff, and the illustrated Chamber of Secrets cracked open to one of our favorite pages. Ana’s running medals are on display under her Slytherin banner. Kelly’s movie tickets are in a jar that constantly sees new additions. We also have a scarf and a foam sword from FC Cincinnati soccer games, the only team we both get excited about. Finally, we have the sheet music of the Everything in Transit album, the perfect album to obnoxiously sing along to on late-night drives.”

Emily / 20 / Davis, CA

“Right now my bookshelf is not a bookshelf at all; it’s a pile on the floor because I live in a shared bedroom in a small apartment and never got around to finding a bookshelf that fits. It used to be organized by author’s last name, but now it’s organized by whatever won’t tip over. My favorite book in the stack is Mrs. Dalloway. David Foster Wallace said that “You find certain writers who when they write, it makes your own brain voice like a tuning fork, and you just resonate with them”; Virginia Woolf was that writer for me, and Clarissa’s brief musing on loving women made me go “oh. OH.” and everything fell into place. It’s forever a watershed moment in my life and I will keep that 99-cent paperback that made me realize I’m gay until the day I die.”

Ari / 20 / St. Louis, MO

“I just moved to St. Louis and until I have the time and energy and motivation to assemble my bookcase, my schoolbooks are on a shelf in the kitchen and my personal books are on the bottom level of my nightstand. I am a complete disorganized mess but I brought all my most important books to St Louis: Fun Home and Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, The Art Of Asking by Amanda Palmer, and Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen.”

Hannah / 25 / Oslo, Norway

“I used to have a proper system, now its mostly sorted into I can probably manage to fit another book in here if I just squeeze it in. It’s a problem I don’t want to fix in any other way than buying more shelves. Choosing one favorite is too hard, but I must admit I have a soft spot for my old Harry Potter books.”

Linsey / 28 / Madison, WI

“I don’t really have a “favorite bookshelf” because I have too many books and not enough bookshelves, so I have books sitting around in some fashion (in a stack or on a shelf or in a cabinet or on a table or any other way they can look semi-organized) all around my house. This isn’t really my favorite bookshelf, but it is my favorite reading spot because when I saw this house I knew immediately this would be the perfect place for a book nook. I love that the sun comes in so bright through the little window, and that it’s tucked away from everything else.”

Emma / 26 / Viroqua, WI

“My favorite books in this queer section of my bookshelf are books of poetry by Valerie Wetlaufer, a friend I met at A-Camp 7.5. Framed on top of the shelf are the lyrics to my favorite song: Over the Bow by Jenny Owen Youngs, from the illustrated companion book for her Slack Tide EP.”

Sarah / 30 / Madison, WI

“This is my library! I can’t really pick a favorite book, but I’ve downsized my library significantly over the past year and these are the favorites that remain, organized by color. Memoirs, poetry, Harry Potter, higher education (my field), and children’s books figure prominently. The bookends on top of the shelf are carved wooden elephants from a trip to India. Also my dog Henry is here!”

Esmé / 23 / Dublin, Ireland

“I don’t believe in organising my books in any big fashion. I have poetry and plays on a different shelf to my Terry Pratchett’s, but really I just find my books end up in the right place for me on their own. I own so many books at this point that I just don’t have shelf space for them all.”

Candice/ 25 / Indianapolis, IN

“I’ve recently settled into a new apartment and set up my living room bookcase. When I’m relaxing on the couch with my girlfriend (who was awesome and helped me stage this photo), I can take in my Harry Potter and manga collections. Best part of my HP collection is my Goblet of Fire, which is in Thai script! Currently re-reading: Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice. Other items displayed: sheet music for viola, a giant stuffed lamb, various figurines (Ron, Harry, Hermione, Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Inuyasha, Mikasa Ackerman).”

Isabella / IL

“My coffee table, where I keep all of my art books (I’m an aspiring art historian), my couch and record player, my clock, a Monet print that I’m absolutely obsessed with, my makeup mirror, an end table I’ve been trying to get rid of, and of course my bookshelf; which I have organized (from top-down, left to right) into non-fiction, fantasy, classic 20th century books, comic books, classic pre-20th century books, kids books, and foreign language books; with candles, some framed prints my mom got me when I was little, and three bins of stuff I didn’t have anywhere else to put — as well as me, sporting a look I call “little boy on the way to his piano lesson.”
Not Pictured: My huge dog getting in the way of every other photo, the dirty clothes all over my floor.”

Allison / 39 / Brooklyn, NY

“I’m a big library user, so while I read a lot my book collection is minimal. The books I do buy tend to be about my interests in Art History, Fashion, Finland and Madonna! The shelves are built into the bedroom of my brownstone apartment and the books are organized via the rainbow.”

Serena / 25 / Long Beach, CA

“This is my living room bookshelf — right now it’s a hodgepodge of teacher pedagogy books for work, old favorites, and books on my to-read list. Oh, and I always forget that my Kindle (which I haven’t turned on in years!) is hiding underneath.”

Stasia / 31 / Seattle, WI

“I really love comics and they’re about 3/4 of my book collection. Whats even better is that there hasn’t been a better time for getting queer comics than right now, so I’ve got a ton.”

Olivia and Kira / 25, 6 months / FL

“I have always loved reading and it’s super important for my wife and me to instill that love in our daughter. We have several bookshelves around our house but the Billy is my favorite. I think it’s the doors that make it feel like the kind of bookshelf I would want to fill an entire room with were I ever to have a dedicated space for a library (fingers crossed it will happen one day!) Our books are broken into fiction and nonfiction, with fiction separated by read and unread, then alphabetized (mostly). Billy holds fiction books we’ve read and a few unread that wouldn’t fit on our other shelves. My wife thinks we need to slow down on buying books, but I think we just need to buy more bookshelves!”

Brigitte and Karlee / 30-something / Australia

“We have tried to keep our own styles while creating a new aesthetic in our cute little apartment. Our bookshelves are fairly queer, like us! We both like comics too!

Karlee: I like lots of colour and little figurines hiding in the stacks – my book shelf doubles as a display shelf.
Brigitte: I have a few little bikes and antique cigarette tins along with my books. And a Peridot figurine to scare away the clods.”

Frances / 29 / Paris, France

“My books are currently organised into read (a jumble) and unread (with specific sections: unread food and travel, unread English fiction, etc). It was supposed to shame me into not buying any more until I finish this lot, at least two metres worth. There is a Japanese word for this problem, tsundoku. One day I’d like a collection of matching tree trunks to hold up the shelves, for now I have one tree and more piles of books for structure. And a collection of butterflies started by my father.

Favourite book? is a mean question. I think I have read Travels with Herodotus the most. And I have a Stephen Dunn collection by my bed because of one of Riese’s essays.”

Sally and Gillian / 35, 30 / Winchester, UK

“In this photo I am attempting to absorb knowledge from my current read (We Go Around in the Night and are Consumed By Fire, about lesbian gangsters in Manchester) directly into my brain. Gillian is incensed because she has read ahead in Fetch and discovers something bad happens. Our shelves are a disarray of books (lesbian science fiction, cook books, 20th century craft theory) and various sentimental mementos. The royal mugs are all Gillian’s and I have told her they are not coming with us when we move out.”

Sarah / 24 / New York, NY

“My bookshelf is quite eclectic. I have sci-fi, YA fantasy, fiction, old school lit and quite a few non fiction titles. As you can see, LGBTQ books take up the majority of my collection in each genre. My top three books this year are The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’d say my favorite book of all time is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton because it was the first book that really had me falling in love with reading. My book shelf is in order of height. The middle section contains a few coffee table books. I also keep my collection of crystals on my bookshelf.”

Stef / NY

“I used to organize my books by author last name but have abandoned any kind of system for the moment. somehow, despite being 100% at book capacity all the time, I can always manage to squeeze one more onto the shelf. I can never get rid of books and frankly refuse to ever switch to a Kindle.”

Sophia / 27 / Firestone Library

“I recently had to clean several piles of books off of my desk in a shared graduate student office, some of which I squeezed two rows deep onto shelves and surfaces at home and some of which I relocated to this locker in the university library. I chose to photograph this locker because it holds many of the library books I am using for my third dissertation chapter, where all the sexuality and gender theory I didn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole in undergrad comes bursting out as I talk about Erauso and Céspedes. These are the books I’m wrestling with as I write about the intersections between race, religion, sex, and gender, and the struggles to read and write ambiguous bodies like those of Erauso and Céspedes (who in today’s terms might be considered transgender and intersex, respectively).”

Valerie Anne / 30 / Astoria, NY

“The actual bookshelf is left over from a past roommate who didn’t feel like shlepping it, but I love it because it has little windowed doors on it to help keep my books from getting crazy dusty. I use my bookshelves as favorite tiers and then put them by size. (Confession: I did a little rearranging so all my favorites were showing.) My Harry Potter collection is easily my favorite, followed closely by the books I have that are written by people I know in real life. I also love my PostSecret books and someday when I’m in an apartment big enough for a coffee table they will be my coffee table books.”

h.e. / 24 / Denver, CO

“I’m a writer, and my book collection is my pride and joy. I actually just rearranged my bookshelves yesterday, as an antidote to a bad mental health day. I find books so soothing, just their physical presence. I  guess I kind of organize my books like a bookstore, which is where I spent most of my time growing up– there wasn’t much to do in my suburb besides putz around the local corporate book chain. Left to right, top to bottom, this one’s got tapes and CDs, philosophy, spirituality and metaphysics, prose fiction, old journals, and comics/graphic novels. The top also doubles as a witchy altar space, full of my equally beloved stones and candles and such, and I guess the whole shelf is part of the altar; I believe that books are sacred, and more than that that stories and words hold unbelievable power and sanctity. There’s another one out of frame to the left that has poetry and the rest. I’m pretty proud of my poetry collection, but this shelf made a better photo, so here we are. My favorite book that’s somewhere in  this photo is Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s sublime collaborative comedy novel about Armageddon, Good Omens. I just finished a book of selected poems by H.D. though and I’m falling madly in love with her all over again.”

Kai / 22 / Denver, CO

“My favorite “bookshelf” is made out of two wooden boxes, gifts from a favorite ex-professor. These make up my Neil Gaiman and Queer Theory sections, two sections that at first may seem unrelated but combine into the definition of queer and sad. My favorite book is Mean Little Deaf Queer, an autobiography by Terry Galloway, a queer deaf theatre practitioner who basically embodies what I want to do for the rest of my life. My books are organized using a combination of ADHD and OCD, which is to say that they are separated by subject matter and little else. Some of the beloved items you can see here are my foam roller, which I use religiously, a piece of wood that fell off of a tree struck by lightening, which I use religiously in a different sense, and my ever-present coffee cup, a constant daily companion that I often rest on my bookshelf box and forget about.”

Lou / 26 / Rennes, Bretagne, France

“A small collection of books because it’s expansive but they reflect my interests, including LGBT activism. You can also see my two flip books on the top, next to zines I subscribed to via Tipee. And also my favourite book for kids: Arc-en-ciel, a communist fish.”

Jes (they·them) Kenzi (she·her); Em (they·them); Smote (they·them) / 33, 37, 26, 28/ Raleigh, NC

“This bookshelf is the merge of four different collections!  Our poly family moved in together this June and after the first few weeks we got the books on the shelf. We were happy to find this shelf built into our new house.  The sorting method is by browsing topic and then by author (and then by publication date or series). This is also only one of six bookshelves total; this one houses Adult and YA Fiction, Children’s Books and Mythology, and Art Books.  Other shelves hold our Non-Fiction, Poetry and Plays, Comics and Graphic Novels, and Queer and Women’s Literature, and Cook Books.

Jes: A jumble of mine and my poly family’s books, lots of fantasy and young adult, as well as many many treasured art collections.  What sadly couldn’t fit on these shelves (so are on the other side of the room) are my many comic books, both from the big two and independently published titles, and my books about comic book culture and history

Kenzi:  I’m a science nerd so I love books like John Gribbin’s Schrödinger’s Kittens and the Search for Reality and Simon Singh’s The Code Book, but my favorite book is more practical for the socially-awkward: Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People.

Em:  Lately I’ve been into collecting queer sex ed books and zines, graphic novels, and vegan cookbooks, which aren’t pictured. I am still proud of my art reference collection and 10 encyclopedias of dog breeds.

Smote: I’m currently working on my Masters in Library Science so of course I’ve now cataloged our collection. It’s difficult to pick a favorite though I do have some books that are near and dear to my heart.  The Tortall series and Circle series by Tamora Pierce (two of which are signed by the author), The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix, and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.  It’s a house filled with books and I couldn’t be happier!”

Al / 24 / Toronto

“Pictured with some gay books, a gay flask, and (obscured by my elbow) a lil foam heart patched up with a Jane Austen band aid that my cool aunt gave to me the last time I got my heart broken.”

Kells / 39 / Lake Worth, FL

“So I just moved into a new place, and my personal collection of books hasn’t been completely unpacked yet. But I am lucky enough to get to do something I love, and that is work with books every day, all day. This pic is taken in front of one of my favorite stacks at work – the LGBTQ  (Library of Congress HQ74-76) section. Taken at Palm Beach State College Library – Lake Worth.”

Heather / 38 / Astoria, NY

“When I moved from my hometown to New York City a few years ago, I took 22 boxes of stuff to Goodwill. Nineteen of those boxes were books. Then I moved, with one hiking backpack full of clothes and shoes, two suitcases full of my favorite books, and that’s it. I love books. I love books. I read nonstop all the time always. I’ll download stuff to my Kindle if I need to, but nothing beats holding a physical book in my hands.

This bookshelf is mostly my Georgia books. Up top is my collection of international Harry Potters. When I travel to other countries, I always just buy Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a souvenir. I have them from all over Europe and some from South America. Sometimes my friends and family bring back Harry Potter as a souvenir for me when they travel. There’s not time to get into it but Harry Potter is the most transformative and instrumental book my entire life. It was the catalyst for my decision to leave my Baptist church, come out, quit my life as an accountant, travel the world, and try to make it as a writer. There’s no piece of art in the world more important to me.

Second shelf is mostly classic lit. My Jane Austens, Brontes, etc. And then it’s just a hodgepodge of fantasy books with female protagonists, comic book trades, and my favorite modern authors like Barbara Kingsolver. At some point mine and Stacy’s books just started mingling themselves together so we’ve got a zillion books all over bookshelves all over the house, but I have a soft spot for the books I lugged with me a thousand miles to start a new life with this woman I love, and I like to keep them all together.”

Kelly H / 36 / Boston, MA

“Pictured is a portion of of my adult fiction section and most of my young adult fiction section.  We had a built-in library put in a couple years ago; it lines the room and I love it.  My favorite book would be a tie between CS Lewis’ Till We Have Faces, which you can see on the third shelf up behind me if you squint, and Emma Donoghue’s Room, which you can’t because it’s off-screen. Many of my favorite books are faced out though.”

Samantha (she·her)/ 24 / Madison, WI

“The blue bookshelf was, at one point, organized in order of lesbianism (including lesbian pulp fiction, queer theory, cat books, witchy books, etc.). Other than that, my books are roughly organized into the following categories: summer reading, dystopian “fiction,” memoir/biography, self-help & trauma, fairy tales, travel books, poetry, books by old/dead white guys that I probably had to buy for a class.

Also featured: One of my cats (Dorian Gray), A-Camp embroidery sampler, two copies each of Tipping the Velvet and Fun Home (because that’s what happens when you co-habitate), a few decks of tarot cards.”

Katy / 31 / KY

“I bought my first place last year and the first thing I did was install built-in shelves on either side of my fireplace, which are already full because sometimes I think I like buying books more than I like reading them. I have two other bookcases that are mostly full of old textbooks and academic journals that I’ll probably never read again. My Type A personality won’t let me sort my books in anything but alphabetical order (because how else are you supposed to find them?). I’m holding my favorite book of all time, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, but other contenders for that title include anything by Paul Farmer or Howard Zinn. My bedside table is also usually stacked with books, since my short attention span means I’m perpetually reading more than one book at a time.”

Carissa / 39 / Milton, DE

“This is our library (though most rooms also have a bookshelf, and my home office has three). It is hard to choose a favorite book — 11/22/63, Little Women, and The Other Boleyn Girl are at the top of the  list. As for organization, my wife and I couldn’t decide on a system to blend our books together, so to my right are her fiction books (which I alphabetized by author for her). To my left are my books in a thematic system that probably only makes sense to me, but I can find anything I need. On top of the shelves are my tin dollhouses and the wooden house my mom built for me when I was little.  We were both English majors and are teachers, so our shared love of books drew us together.”

Tierney / 25 / Greensboro, NC

“The bookshelf behind me (one of two in my apartment) is currently organized by book weight/size, with the heaviest books at the bottom because the shelf felt tippy when we moved here… there is some clumping by author but I would love to get some good organization by genre and author last name going (I am a librarian)… someday! I can’t pick a favorite book – lately I have been reading a lot of queer fantasy and sci-fi, many of which were recommendations from Autostraddle’s own Friendly Neighborhood Lesbrarian Casey! Also featured in this photo are my cat Tara and various cat-themed decorative items.”

Conni / 23 / Chattanooga, TN

“The top shelf features a bunch of books I loved in a past life but don’t relate to anymore. There are some gems but most of them I would never read again or only read when I was trying to be a different person. The second and third shelf are the items closest to my heart: my air plant, Oscar Wilde figurine, Muhammed Ali coaster, a handmade Christmas card from my mom, my dead dog, and my Frida Kahlo candle. My head is obscuring the Drake candle and Drake birthday card also handmade by my mom. The third shelf has my record player which is my most prized possession and plays Donna Summer and Solange records flawlessly. The small stack of books resides on my bedside table which is always messy.”

Jillian Guenther / 26 / Greensboro, NC

“These shelves are built into the wall of our apartment – bonus! It’s a hodgepodge assortment: sci-fi, handmade journals, comics and graphic novels, bird books (behind my head…), library books, children’s story books, and a print of an old French cheese label with, of course, a cat on it.”

Az (they·them) / 29 / York, UK

“Don’t tell my other bookshelves, but this is definitely my favourite. For one thing, it’s green. For another thing, it lives in the reading nook and houses my most important books. My absolute would-recommend-to-anyone-but-dont-talk-to-me-about-it-or-I-might-start-crying novel is The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle. It’s beautiful and funny and clever and tragic and wonderful. This copy is older than I am and well loved. Other important books are Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, my growing collection of Wintersons (especially Written on the Body) and Niffeneggers (especially The Time Traveller’s Wife), Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. The tiny glass unicorn in the third photo was bought from a local glass blower when I was very small, and is truly treasured. And, oh, yeah, hi, that’s me scowling into the selfie-cam.”

Rachel / 24 / HI

“My favorite bookcase is my homemade TARDIS. I have a few other ones, but the TARDIS looks the coolest, it contains my comic books and a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. My favorite book (today) is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Nothing is arranged in any real order except for comic books by title on one shelf. My shelves also include my Doctor Who and Orphan Black DVD collection, and random Doctor Who collectibles.”

Rachel / 33 / Chicago, IL

“We have bookcases all over our 1-bedroom apartment. Fiction is arranged by author, nonfiction is arranged by subject. My wife gets final vote because she is a real-life librarian (we have a lot of books). I wanted this shot though, because you can see the bookcase of booze that we have next to the three bookcases of books in our dining room. I’m a bartender; I get to arrange that bookcase.”

Kenzie / 24 / Los Angeles, CA

“Books have always been my preferred medium for learning and I’m 100% a proud book hoarder so I have like six shelves scattered around my house. I display all my white-spined books in my dining room for ~aesthetic purposes~ but other than that I keep stacks everywhere.  I’m an artist who majored in sociology at a christian university who ALSO can’t say no to airport books/Oprah’s suggestions, so I have everything from gross evangelical modesty books (I used for my thesis and like to keep them around to occasionally bring out and laugh at) to middle-age self-help books to queer sex anthologies and multiple copies of The New Jim Crow that I try to give to anyone who hasn’t read it. My current favorite is No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July!”

Molly / 26 / Salt Lake City, UT

“Here is my favorite bookshelf that I made with my mom! (It is more structurally sound than it looks). It has four important sections: 1) Comics/Graphic novels/zines, 2) French literature, 3) Anthropology texts, and 4) literary theory and criticism. In this picture I’m holding my most exciting addition to the stacks – my M.A. thesis about the use of animals in comics to portray queer identities!”

Julie and Mickey  / 32, 12 / Pacific Northwest

“I only have one bookshelf, so most of my books (including the ones behind me) are in totes or scattered throughout my apartment. This plastic unit usually contains a hodgepodge of DVDs and books. There’s no rhyme or reason to how this collection is organized, though if I hadn’t thrown these up in a hurry, I would have organized them by subject and then by author. I included my Nook e-reader to represent all of the e-books and e-audiobooks. Jillian Holtzmann and Aragorn round it out.”

Riese / 35 / MI

“I used to have all my work-related books in my office and all my other books on these bookshelves but last month I got rid of like 25% of my books because I am trying to GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE and then I consolidated ALL of my books onto the downstairs bookshelves so I can try and sell the upstairs bookshelves! I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that it used to look way prettier and better organized than it does now, but what is this place if not a place for me to be super real.”

Carrie / 28 / Los Angeles, CA

“When I’m not being professionally gay here at Autostraddle, I am, in fact, a librarian. So these are bona fide library stacks! I’ve been on staff at the same school for about four years now, and in the library for two of those. I like that everyone who comes in here wants to learn something.

We use the Library of Congress classification system, and I spend a large portion of my time here each day making sure stuff gets put back just so. My favorite shelf is the one that holds all the nonfiction books (we’re technically a music library, so the non-musical selection is small but mighty). My boss crammed it with new stuff after the election because she cares about our republic.

I recently read that “libraries are never neutral” and could not agree more. It’s important that I’m visible here, as a queer person, dispensing knowledge.”

September’s theme will be announced Friday, September 8! Leave your theme suggestions in the comments!

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    • Gillian is concerned that she won’t be able to leave the flat for being mobbed, now that she’s made the AS front page.

  1. This is so utterly charming! I wanted to contribute a picture of me in my work stacks but didn’t get it together. I’m so excited to see all the library workers and LIS students pictured (including a couple of UNC SILS students?)

    • I’m an LIS student at a different school in NC, and my heart is so full right now. SO MUCH REPRESENTATION!

  2. Not sure what I like best, the people that have the same books as I have or the people who have cats the same breed and colour as mine so it looks like the same cat.

  3. I love this post! The collection of books, or the lack thereof, is usually the first thing I am drawn to when I am in someone’s house. I have a feeling I will be peering through this post occasionally to get more and more reading ideas.

    I have 2 large, filled bookcases, and they still cannot hold everything. I’ve even purged the last couple of moves but still ended up with about 7 or 8 very large boxes. I can’t seem to make the switch to digital reading, but I have certainly been a friend of the library since I can remember.

    Thanks for sharing ladies!

  4. So next photo gallery idea-Queers in the Library? Libraries are cool and a lot of them have neat designs of books or cute kid’s/teen sections and I wanna see them! And maybe some of you live near Presidential Libraries or other cool libraries in Europe or something that are super old and in super old buildings?

    • I love this idea! I work in a library. Also it feels like a lot queers come out first while sneakily browsing in the secluded gay sections of libraries.

  5. Everyone here has such great taste in books, interior decorating, and knick knacks. I now have even more books on my already-bloated to-read list. I wish Eli Clare’s Exile and Pride was a better known book, because it’s fantastic. And I love Audrey’s pink bookshelf. It’s so cute. Plus I didn’t even know tin dollhouses were a thing, but I’m going to go do some research on them because those are relevant to my interests.

    • Exile and pride is totally amazing and totally on my shelf, and I just added his new book to the shelf and can’t wait to read it!

  6. “My favorite book is anything by Jeanette Winterson.” I feel you, Jax, though I feel like Sexing the Cherry and/or Art and Lies is way more important to share than Written on the Body. Still- lovely books all! I loved seeing many of my favorites on so many people’s shelves- Virginia Woolf, Amy Tan, Gray’s Anatomy- brilliant!

  7. Hello Mary Margaret Tickle and your wife who both live in my city and seem very cool based on this gallery!!!

  8. all of y’all with the floor to ceiling bookshelves in your houses are really living your best lives!!!

    also I would LOVE recommendations from whoever listed “lesbian science fiction” as a category

  9. There is so much inspiration seeing these pics– can’t wait to spend some more time working on my collection.
    Themes: Queers in the (pumpkin) patch aka ‘what does your fall/upcoming season look like’. Or SPOOKY SKELLINGTONS (please have a Halloween gallery)

    • Thank you for the nod to Southern Hemisphere folks with “upcoming season” ;)

      Halloween gallery idea: Queer in Costume?

  10. I’m so behind that I didn’t even know this one was happening, but I’m excited to hear about the next one! I’m travelling at the moment so I’ve only got four books with me anyway.

  11. Dear Laneia, that wasn’t a typo in mine, I did mean the HamiltoME (the book about the show!), not the HamiltoN :) Sliders are working great tho!

    That said! Y’all have cool shelves (my favorites are the pink, the precarious wine crates, and the TARDIS) and display bits and bobs on your shelves. I wish to come to everyone’s house.

  12. managed to scroll through this without choking to death on my jealousy. my books are all in storage right now–one batch from when i moved in 2014, and another from when i moved last year. ana and kelly, very inspiring shelves! taking notes for my new place.

    very interested to read about how other librarians organize their shelves at home. i like to organize mine by mouthfeel.

  13. Molly / 26 / Salt Lake City, UT – your thesis sounds so interesting! Animals portraying queer identities – maybe you could do an Autostraddle article sometime!!?

    Also I especially love all colour-sorted bookshelfs :)

  14. Mati from MA: I was scrolling through this and realized we’re friends on Facebook, although I’m not sure how I know you, so hello.

    Amanda from DC: I have a small shelf in my bedroom reserved for my *favorite* favorites too!

    Mary Margaret from TN: I see and appreciate your copy of Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl.”


    Francesca from London: I made a similar decision a while back re: not consuming books by and/or centered on straight, white, cis men, and it’s made a surprisingly big difference in my life. It’s been really cool to cultivate a space that’s pretty much exclusively inhabited by marginalized voices, characters I can see myself in, etc.

    Launa from WA: I too have every Animorph book (except the Hork Bajir Chronicles, for some reason) and every BSC book. #TWINNING

    Ana and Kelly from OH: Wine crate bookshelves!!! Also, the “nonfiction about women in rock and roll organized by the amount of Joan Jett featured” method of organization is iconic. Also, OBAMA SEEING A SOARING SPIRIT CAT omg I need this book immediately.

    Sally and Gillian from Manchester: BYE I need to purchase the book about LESBIAN GANGSTERS IN MANCHESTER

    Heather!!!! – I love the idea of buying a translation of a book as a souvenir from another country.

    Riese: Your bookshelves are flawless and so is your face. I need a copy – possibly more than one – of “Sapphic Slashers” posthaste.

    Carrie: “I recently read that ‘libraries are never neutral’ and could not agree more. It’s important that I’m visible here, as a queer person, dispensing knowledge.” <3 <3 <3

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