Jacqueline Parker cherishes her eclectic collection of books and literary magazines. This post is part of 805's “My Home Library” series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries.
Of the hundreds of books I’m likely to have on my shelf—one singular bookshelf in a small apartment—the earliest book I remember having is a copy of Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. It was a prize from a story contest I won when I was seven and is one of my most prized possessions. It’s tucked in a back row, hidden by books found in thrift stores and my work’s lost and found, old antique books, and a sparse yet interesting variety of literature owned by my partner.
My library exists as a hodgepodge of subject matter, genres, and sizes. I will read just about anything and am often seen toting my latest selection to work so I can read on my lunch break or, pre-COVID, to the bar.
I’ve turned to the written page when my writer’s block is too much to bear or when the lure of ambient television is painfully numbing and I need something to brighten my mind. When the rest of the world is on fire, it’s nice to hole up into a fantasy adventure about ornery magicians (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell) or travel to galaxies far far away (The Expanse series). I now speculate about the wind scale anytime the breeze rustles the trees, thanks to Defining the Wind. The City and the City was so beautiful in its simplicity and build up to action that I’ve added all of Miéville’s books to my TBR list. Barbara Ehrenreich has, yet again, unearthed the fallacies of our society in This Land is Their Land (even if it was written over 10 years ago). I cried—no, sobbed—at the last 20 pages of The Women of Brewster Place and cringed at my own white privilege when reading I’m Still Here. I’ve had the pleasure of discovering new and upcoming authors thanks to The Tahoma Review, Ploughshares, CARVE, and the late Glimmer Train.
That a series of words strung together like pearls can contain multitudes of meaning is nothing short of magical. That someone can be moved by them can change lives. I may not change lives by my writing, but I have been changed by the words of others.
My library contains books unread that have yet to work their magic, too.
Jacqueline Parker obtained her undergrad in Creative Writing and Literature at Queens University in Charlotte, NC where she currently resides. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, baking, and watching sci-fi movies. Her short story, “The Reverend’s Circus,” was recognized as an Honorable Mention for The Reader Berlin’s 2019 Berlin Writing Prize.