Tomorrow: Debut Author Interviews! Today: My Unedited Bookshelf


One of the things I’ve so enjoyed doing on this blog is featuring debut YA authors at the start of each new season. You may remember the Q&A interviews I did with Winter/Spring 2012 YA debuts and Summer 2012 YA debuts: I find them fun—and I love it when an author’s interview makes me all the more rabidly excited to read her/his book.

Before each season, I go through publishers’ online catalogs, and off recommendations from bloggers and readers and editors and agents, and pick out about 10 YA debut novels that intrigue and excite me. That’s the only criteria: That I want to read them and that they’re YA debut novels. One reason I do this interview series is nostalgic on my part, I think—because looking back at that debut window when anything and everything could happen with the first book, well, it’s a beautiful moment, and I like to remember it and see others enjoying it. And of course another reason is wanting to share in the excitement about these new books. I love expanding my reading list, don’t you?

Now it’s September, and it’s time for the Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! The Q&A interviews with this season’s debut authors will begin bright and early tomorrow morning, so come back then to see the first debut I chose. I should also tell you: Every interview this season has a giveaway along with it, thanks to the generosity of the authors involved, so you’ll have many chances to win some great books. Hope you’ll be reading!


But today, before the series starts, I wanted to take part in this picture prompt from Real Actual Hilary—aka Hilary Smith, author of Wild Awake, a 2013 book I am DYING to read, aka “INTERN,” author of the blog “INTERN spills.” She posted an unedited photo of her bookshelf and encouraged others to do the same.

This is what happens when you run out of bookshelves: You find anywhere and everywhere to stack your books. The bookshelves we have can’t contain all of our books, so I had to expand. Here are the stacks I made on the fireplace mantel in the bedroom:

The book stacks on the fireplace mantel… so high, they cover the framed photograph on the wall behind it! (Click photo to make it bigger.)

Those stacks are as high as I can make them without the books toppling down. They’re also disorganized in that some of E’s film-school books are in there (you may be able to find which books are his)—and some of my own grad-school course books are there, too.

Not photographed: Three bookshelves and multiple other book stacks elsewhere in the apartment.

Of note in these fireplace stacks:

  • The book that made me want to become a writer when I first read it at 12 years old (Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood)
  • The book from which I performed a dramatic monologue in acting class during junior high (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)
  • The book that still has my angsty doodles and meaningful underlines during my teenage years (The Collected Works of Anne Sexton)
  • The book that blew my mind when I was 18 (Empire of the Senseless by Kathy Acker)
  • The YA novel that blew my mind when I was aspiring to write YA (Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers)
  • The novel that led me to give up writing fiction for adults and turn to YA (Feathered by Laura Kasischke)
  • The book I borrowed from a friend and just realized I forgot to give back (Birds of America by Lorrie Moore)
  • My favorite book during my twenties (Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys)
  • One of my favorite YA novels of 2012 (Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield)
  • The book I bought in the airport and still haven’t read (The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson)
  • The book I should have read years ago because once I did I felt like it was written just for me (We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson)
  • The classic novel I hate (On the Road by Jack Kerouac)
  • The random movie that shouldn’t be on this shelf (The Lorax)

That’s my unedited bookshelf! Will you post yours?

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the first Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview… and your first chance of many to win a signed book!

Speaking of, the giveaway to win a signed ARC of my new book is still open for one more day. Go here to enter.

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9 responses to “Tomorrow: Debut Author Interviews! Today: My Unedited Bookshelf”

  1. I’ve been meaning to post a pic of my “dearest” bookshelf—the little shelf that has my friends’ books and other favorites on it. Now you’ve inspired me!

    Also: HOLY MOLY those are some crazy stacks!


  2. I love that picture! I want to know what school is teaching PREP, since the “used” sticker on it looks like one that would be in a college bookstore. That’s one of my top five favorite books ever; I’d love to take the class that taught that!!!


    • Oh, that’s not from a class at school. PREP was bought this summer when I was away in Wyoming. Another YA author, Robin Wasserman, and I discovered a great bookstore (trying to remember, I think it was called Hastings?), which was huge, with great fiction selections and sold used and new books. We loved the store so much when we first found it that we made a special trip back the night before we left Wyoming, for plane-reading. PREP was a book Robin recommended to me—such a great choice!—and I read on the plane ride home. It must have found its way to the middle of that stack because I moved stacks from my old desk and tried to shove in books wherever they could fit. So random.


  3. Ha! It looks like the stickers that are in college bookstores. I would have loved to sit and discussed the book! I’ve read it a few times, and when my agent pitched CANARY to editors, we compared it to PREP (woo-hoo!). You’ve got some great books in your shelf! I’m lucky in the fact that I’ve taken my over flowing bookshelves and moved them to school, so I can share my books with my students (although there are lots of favorites that I keep at home or buy an extra copy of!).


  4. Whoa, Nova! That’s an impressive collection! I’d be almost afraid to touch it for fear of being buried in an avalanche of words. My compartmentalizing mind is itching to rearrange your shelf.

    By the way, I showed my own bookshelf on my blog too.


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