I don’t regard books as sacred objects that must be held onto at all costs. So I purge my bookshelves frequently. But some books linger longer than others, and some are there to stay, and some are just passing through. Come on; I’ll give you a tour.
On the left is my favorite book of all time—Stephen King’s The Stand. I’ve read it twice; I’ve highlighted passages; I even wrote about it in grad school. There’s just something about an 1153-page book that gets under your skin.
Cozied up next to The Stand is The Complete Pelican Shakespeare. I’ve only read about eight of the plays, but I just feel smarter and more cultured with it there.
A few books about writers, writing, and the language are scattered here and there. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird was instrumental in giving me the confidence to write my first novel. It’s staying.
Next, two books by a lovely man, James Howe. Totally Joe was the first LGBTQ book I ever read. I fell in love with Joe Bunch, and it was that book that set me on a path of reading every other LGBTQ book I could find, and then writing my own. Jim signed Totally Joe for me on my birthday. I treasure that book.
I got to meet David Levithan just this fall. He signed The Lover’s Dictionary for me, a book that completely captivated me from the first word to the last. I highly recommend it.
A little ways down is Andy Rooney’s Pieces of My Mind. Word for Word is actually my favorite book of his essays, but I loaned it and never got it back.
Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America is a touching book that I doubt I will ever part with. It became my primary research tome for my debut novel, Don’t Let Me Go.
Sex: A Book for Teens, because, well, I have teens, and one day . . . you know.
I got to read an early copy of Brian Farrey’s With or Without You. There it is on the shelf with the working title Chasers. Great book. Brian is my friend on Twitter now and he’s a sweetheart! Read his book!
Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watson’s Go to Birmingham—I never get tired of that book. I got to talk to CPC on the phone one day. He told me to quit bothering him. (He was kidding!)
And finally, the twin Don’t Let Me Go’s, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s and mine, released three months apart. Catherine is also an online friend. I greatly admire her!
Lying on their sides are a couple of my journals and some library books, including Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. I got to meet Gayle a few weeks ago. Beautiful book; beautiful woman.
By the way, I’m a huge fan of public libraries. Go hug a librarian today! But not in a creepy way. Libraries allow me to read so much more widely than I could ever afford to otherwise!
There you go. There’s my shelf. Hope you enjoyed the tour!
J. H. Trumble is the author of Don’t Let Me Go. "Trumble's debut is a deeply moving and in-depth look at the perils and anxieties of being gay in high school . . . Layered with the gritty everyday details of teen existence . . . ." -Publishers Weekly (Starred Review). For more information, visit: http://www.jhtrumble.com