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My Home Escape, by Zeel Patel

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

The year 2020 has been a harsh one to say the least. This year was the first year I

experienced unbelievable grief. One of my dearest friends passed away from cancer. I was distraught. My family and I had just moved to our new house and were trying to get settled in when it started getting bad for her. My sister-in-law, Sheetal, knew that I loved my books and needed a space to house them and give them a room worthy of their character.

I held on to my children’s books, old cookbooks, books that I bought from library sales, and hand me down books. I still kept pregnancy books, even though this shop is closed. My books are part of my journey from being single, to marriage, to children, to adopting a puppy. My books represent my passions—my dreams of subjects I would go back and study if given the chance. I have many author-signed copies of books and books on travel and places as well art. As a kind gesture, Sheetal wanted to give my books and me that space that would let my books breathe by giving me a room with a European flair which I so missed from my former traditional-styled house.

My home library encompasses so many things that I adore. Sheetal painted, embroidered, and sketched most of the art décor sitting on the bookshelves. She commissioned custom made furniture and completely redesigned the space to fit my style. I keep adding more books to my treasure trove collection. A copy of A Well Behaved Woman, signed by the author, reminds me that being silent and complacent doesn’t do any good. The Sky Below is another author-signed book that reminds me of the time I took my kids to Kennedy Space Center and met the coolest astronaut that is also a medical doctor. The sports books are next to the sketch Sheetal drew of Michael Jordan and me (she knew I loved watching The Last Dance).

As I write, I realize that not all was bad this year. I have someone in my life that cares about me enough to create the space my heart needed to feel at peace. I can go to my books for solace any time and along the way, I feel like I am in a European apartment…


Zeel Patel lives in Raleigh, NC with her family. In her free time, you can find her volunteering at her kids' schools, engaging in a lively discussion with her book club, or museum hopping. Zeel is a voracious reader and has now started to follow her passion for writing because tomorrow never waits on anyone.


This post is part of 805 Lit + Art’s “My Home Library” blog series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic. 805 is proudly published by the Manatee County Public Library System, and we hope this series will help people show off their home libraries, find comfort in books, and feel a connection to the library during this difficult time.

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