The Evolution of My Bookshelves

Before my father built my hanging bookshelf and turned my dream into reality, my books were just carefully stacked on top of my study table.

March 2014

I started collecting books in March 2014. I was reading John Green’s Looking for Alaska when an inspiration hit me: I wanted to create my own version of Alaska Young’s Life’s Library. Here’s what my books looked like back then:

The Beginning Stages of Airen Petalbert’s Life’s Library

The Airen Petalbert’s Life’s Library included The Morganville Vampire Series, a thesaurus, dictionaries, Dan Brown books, English language books, and some Norman Vincent Peale books, among others.

My friends and I at the ATC Warehouse Sale

When National Bookstore announced that a warehouse sale was about to take place at their Quezon Avenue branch, my best friend and I grabbed our almost-empty wallets and went on a book shopping spree.

However, it seemed that NBS was desperate to clean their warehouses before the year closed. They launched another series of warehouse sales at different branches, including Alabang Town Center. The previous warehouse sale made a hole in my wallet, but thanks to my friends who lent me some money, I was able to take home a bagful of books.

December 2014

The Domino Effect

After many visits to different branches of Book Sale, nine months’ worth of savings from my daily allowance, and Scholastic Publishing’s warehouse sale, my book stack couldn’t hold the weight of my babies anymore. On my Instagram post, I called it the “domino effect.”

My collection now includes the John Green Boxed Set, the Hunger Games series, some Oxford classics, complete Jane Austen books, Pride and Prejudice fan fiction books, some YAs, and more classics. The books on the first layer were all classics. The stack on the right side were all English language reference books.

When I posted the photo above on Instagram, one of my friends suggested that I buy a bookshelf. I knew beforehand that that was the most practical thing to do, but I liked seeing my books stacked up like this on top of my study table. Also, I didn’t think my room could accommodate another tenant–my room was already cramped with my and my sisters’ stuff. It was only when my friend debated the pros of having a bookshelf that I  finally considered it.

My Malnourished Book Tree

As the plan was not attainable at the moment, I settled for an out-of-the-box idea that’s also a space-saver. And since Christmas was just around the corner, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I turned my stack into a book tree and embellished it with low-cost Christmas decorations.

I know that the tree looked malnourished, but this was the best I could do after so many failed attempts. I had to call my younger siblings to help me figure out which books should go where. Stacking up books of different weights and sizes to form the shape of a pine tree was easier said than done, to be honest. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to build them up. We spent almost three hours for this poor thing only to come up with a malnourished tree. Poor me (and poor tree).

November 2015


When the new year came, I became so occupied with school activities. As a graduating student, I had to prioritize my school requirements and this meant less time and money for books. Time went so fast–I graduated and became employed, but during all those times I had no new books.

Thanks to National Bookstore and their desperation to sell flop books at discounted prices, the book hauler in me was finally able to get back in the game. They held a warehouse sale in August, which allowed me to bring home 16 books for just  P1,100.00. Here’s my haul:

2015 NBS Warehouse Sale Haul

December 2015

It was December once again and Christmas was only a few weeks away. After a one-year hiatus, I tried to up my book decorating game once again. This time, the result was satisfying. First, let me take a selfie.

Selfie sa Book Tree

I also bought Christmas decorations at Divisoria to breathe life into the tree. On the following day, I bought fake flowers, a star, and Christmas lights. Here’s my masterpiece:

My Beautiful Book Tree

July 2016

My father returned from Saudi in July 2016. On my graduation day, he promised to give me a Harry Potter book set, but we had to prioritize my graduation fees. When he arrived home, I was surprised when he handed me a big Duty Free plastic bag and said, “Di ko alam kung meron ka na niyan.” I didn’t have the slightest idea what was inside the plastic bag so I was at loss for words when I saw books. And mind you, they were not just books–they were THE Harry Potter Bloomsbury Edition books.

My Harry Potter Bloomsbury Edition Books

On the following day, I decided to stack my books on top of my cabinet. Here’s what the pile looked like:

My Book Pile

As of writing, my collection includes more than 250 books. Some books were never returned to me by ex-friends. Yup, I burn bridges with people who do not understand my love and passion for books. My high school best friends never returned my copies of The Book Thief and Looking for Alaska, two of my most treasured books. Since then, I decided it’s friendship over for us.

Some people who borrowed my books did not handle them with care. There was one girl who even left a ketchup stain on my copy of Paper Towns. One girl returned my paperback copy of The Fault in Our Stars with a torn cover. I unfriended them all on social media.

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

For me, happiness = books and books = happiness. I’d rather have books than friends.

September 2016

Two months later, my father started working on my bookshelf. My mother suggested a hanging bookshelf and I agreed without hesitation. I could only imagine how beautiful the result would be.

One day, I came home from work exhausted, but my mood was instantly lifted when I was greeted by my new bookshelf. I was like a kid in a candy shop when I saw the spectacle before me. I also loved the new colors of my walls. It was worth the wait, after all.

My Hanging Bookshelves

[Update] October 2016

The photo above was taken last September. My shelf now includes these amazing finds that I bought (at a discounted price, of course) at NBS Tutuban:

Classic Libraries

[Update] November 2016

On October, my friends, boyfriend, and I went to Pasig to check out the Anvil Grand Christmas Sale. Here’s what my shelves looked like after adding my hauls. Read my blog post about the event for more details.

My Hanging Bookshelves Plus More Books

[Update] December 2016

Instead of embellishing my room with Christmas decorations, my family decided it would be better if we invest in something that would last. I chose this The Beatles mural, which my siblings painted on my wall. For more information about this family project, see my blog post about this.

My Hanging Bookshelves & The Beatles On My Wall

[Update] July 2017

So, I finally decided to arrange my books by color (hue, actually). I have two words: hirap, bes. It took me nearly three hours to accomplish this but hey, admit it: it’s worth it, right?

_DSC0598 (2)

AAAAND, here’s me gracing your screen with a bunch of photos featuring my face. LOL



Until next time, folks!

To be continued…


5 thoughts on “The Evolution of My Bookshelves

  1. LOL namiss ko tuloy bookshelf ko sa Taguig.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Waaaahhhh ang ganda ng bookshelf mo! Gusto ko rin ng ganyan hehe. Good job Airen! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so cool. Way to go, Airen! 😊 –Cor

    Liked by 1 person

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