A Close Inspection of My Personal Library, by Makayla Berry
Updated: Mar 26
Volunteer editor Makayla Berry reflects on how she turns to her personal book collection for comfort. This post is part of 805's "My Home Library" blog that features essays by writers who are sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic. 805 is proudly published by the Manatee County Public Library System. We hope this blog will help Manatee County residents show off their home libraries, find comfort in books, and feel a connection to the library during this difficult time.
As you can see, I have managed to create a pretty decent collection for my personal library. With a meticulous blend of memorabilia with actual literature, I have organized and re-organized my library more times than I can count.
My book cases have provided me with a sense of solace and purpose in these trying times. I can comb through the skeletons and bones and spines of my books and see that I have so many worlds and realities at my fingertips. I can see how my manga, my young adult literature, my chapbooks, and my mandated philosophical readings from undergrad can all work together to make me see the meaning in my own life, meaning that’s been difficult to find lately. Every door I had nine days ago now seems to be closed, and my life is beginning to feel like the prologue to a bad dystopian novel. (You know the ones, with the “I’m not like everyone” female protagonist who by herself has to save the world only to be thoroughly distracted by two brutally handsome but different male protagonists who she swears don’t define her character but, in actuality hide the flatness that is her character? Yeah, those ones.)
But my amazing personal library shows me how open my world can be. All of these doors have shut themselves in my face and they’ve left a nasty mark on my nose. Even though most of the doors cannot and should not be open again, my books prove to me that bigger and better things are waiting at another closed door I just need to open.
I just need to open those old cheesy young adult novels I read as a teenager, because not only are they a guilty pleasure, but they remind me of my original love for reading.
I just need to open those too-heavy-to-carry philosophical texts on death from my senior seminar to realize just how much there is to live for.
I just need to open those chapbooks to study and devour them so that I can force myself to begin on my highly anticipated (re: anticipated only by me) chapbook.
I just need to open my own manuscripts that my cobweb-infested brain has managed to forget so I may learn from my mistakes and hit my keyboard again to hopefully finish one of my novels.
I just need to open those old children’s literature books to remind myself of childhood wonder.
My personal library is helping me learn how to re-open old and new doors. What’s your personal library helping you learn in these difficult and strange times?
Makayla Berry earned her Bachelor's in English with a focus in Mass Communications from the University of North Florida and is working on a Master's in Library and Information Science. She writes poetry and short stories, and she is working on her first chapbook.