Feeling at home is important wherever you are. A sanctuary to ground you in difficult times or somewhere you can relax, away from the world around you, is vital. But, especially for students, finding that small sanctuary in an environment like a dorm can be difficult.
I find my sanctuary in books. I grew up in libraries and bookstores and my room at home has always had an overflowing bookshelf. Obviously, I can’t bring this bookshelf to school every year. But, I can bring a few books to remind me of home. The books I chose are more mementos than stories. They carry memories of the people they were gifted from or ideas that changed my life.
No matter what you chose to bring to create your home, there are a few categories that your mementos can fit in to. When using these categories, I find it easier to choose what comes with me and what stays behind. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration for your own packing list.
The Reminder: Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
A family friend gave me this copy of Salinger’s classic when I was accepted into boarding school. It reminds me of why I’m there and how hard I’ve worked to get where I am today.
The Inspiration: The Sartorialist Closer by Scott Schuman
I enjoy fashion, but I am not a particularly fashionable person. However, ever since it was gifted to me, I have lusted over every outfit in street-style photographer Scott Schuman’s second photo book. His photos inspire me when I feel drained of energy.
The Favorite: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Fantasy novels are my guilty pleasure. Taylor’s imaginative world-building is a perfect escape from the very real world around me. Also, it’s just fun to read a books where you don’t annotate every paragraph searching for themes and motifs.
The Manifesto: Women & Power by Mary Beard
Sometimes, we read to feel smart. In my case, I have never felt smarter than when I am able to reference the roots of misogyny from Ancient Greece to today. Thanks Mary Beard!
The Heirloom: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
I don’t love mystery novels, but I do love my mom. So, when I found this copy of In Cold Blood inscribed with her name and “7th Grade”, I knew I had to add it to my shelf. Her copy of In Cold Blood reminds me of her values- one of which was education.