Books I Brought To College | Childhood Favorites & Why Packing Is HARD


…that’s why I brought as many as I could possibly fit into a small box. I ended up packing exactly twenty-five books, which doesn’t seem like a lot to me! I wanted to bring ALL my books! BUT. My roommate didn’t bring ANY, and many of my next-door neighbors in the dorm didn’t bring any/many, either. THAT IS QUITE TRAGIC.

ANYWAY. I bought an old bookcase at a garage sale, and… well, it’s scuffed up and a bit small (two shelves, not counting the top), but HEY. IT’LL DO FOR COLLEGE.

In this bookcase, I keep alllll my books and bookish thingies:

  • The twenty-five books from home
  • Textbooks
  • Novels that I have to read for class
  • My dictionary
  • Any books (and DVDs) that I’ve borrowed from the Iowa City Public Library
  • Library receipts
  • My coffee mug that says, “I’m silently correcting your grammar”
  • …and eventually, the books I’ve preordered, such as Derek Landy’s Demon Road! (It should be here any day now! I’M SO EXCITED.)

AHHHH SO MANY BOOKS. I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW WHAT I’D DO WITHOUT MY BOOKS. I needed to bring them to college, because reading was my first love AND I’m so so so content when I read AND books are reassuring.

So now I have my own little bookish corner, and I sit in the big, fuzzy, green armchair that my roommate inherited from her sister, and I READ. I’ve read four books at college already! (I know I’m not even close to reading as many as I normally do, but… COLLEGE LIFE IS SO SO BUSY.)

ANYWAYYYY. Here are the lovely, lovely books I brought to college!

dark days1. The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

BECAUSE THIS IS MY FAVORITEST SERIES EVER. And because these books aren’t as popular in my country as they are in others, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to borrow them from the local public library. (And guess what?! The library only has the first three. I’M SO GLAD I BROUGHT MY ENTIRE COLLECTION.)

2. The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

This book – any Calvin and Hobbes book, TBH – is always there for me when I need a laugh!

3. The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz

Oh my godddd, I just realized that I haven’t talked about this book on my blog before! HOW HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS YET?! It’s  partially a how-to manual and partially a YAY GIRLS YAY FOR FEMINISM book. Like, it teaches you basic karate moves and how to walk in high heels, aaaand then it has biographies of awesome famous women. OOH AND IT HAS SOOOO MUCH MORE STUFF TOO. It’s a ton of fun to browse through, which is what I intend to do with it during college!

4. The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings – J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski 

This biography was a graduation present from my parents, who knew I’d been eyeing it! I’M SO EXCITED TO READ IT. Buuuut the length is so so intimidating!Ella_enchanted_(book_cover)[1]

5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


6. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I’ve read this short novel over and over and over again! SOOO MANY TIMES I’VE LOST COUNT. It’s a really good YA dystopian about, of all things, friendship. It’s super well written, too – not one word seems out of place.

7. The Landry News by Andrew Clements

I read this story so many times growing up! I thought it might remind me of why I’m here at the University of Iowa – when I’m feeling homesick or like I don’t belong here, I can read it and feel re-energized about my future career as a journalist.

the giver8. Hickory Dickory Death by Agatha Christie 

I found this on the free/discarded shelf at my hometown library! I love mysteries, especially Agatha Christie’s, and I look forward to finding out what this one is all about!

9. The Giver by Lois Lowry 

AHHH OMG IMHO THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS EVER WRITTEN. Like, not just in terms of the plot and characters and setting, but in terms of Lowry’s choice of words, too. She writes so clearly and concisely, and I really admire that! I brought this book with me because A) I love it and B) hopefully it’ll remind me of what I hope to achieve in my own writerly endeavors!

10. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

…aaaaand this novel is a perfect hybrid of the sort of stories I want to write someday – YA and mysteries! It’s just plain FUN, too.Matilda[1]

11. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins


12. Matilda and The BFG by Roald Dahl

…yet more Reassuring Books From My Childhood! I’m not even going to deny that there is a definite theme to this list and that I am Basically Still A Child.

13. Girl, Going on 17, Pants on Fire by Sue Limb

This book is… how do I even describe it? It’s like the feeling you get when you eat too much sugar, AND that giddy feeling you get when you stay up sooooo late talking to friends that even the littlest things seem hilarious, AND… I don’t even know. Like when you inhale helium from balloons and suddenly your voice sounds like that of a chipmunk. THIS BOOK MADE ME LAUGH UNTIL MY SIDES HURT.

the wee free men14. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett 

Because Tiffany Aching has a kickass, no-nonsense attitude. Because she’s very reassuring. BECAUSE TERRY PRATCHETT AND DISCWORLD ARE THE BEST.


Sooooo… yeah. BASICALLY I BROUGHT THE BOOKS I LOVED WHEN I WAS BUT A WEE ENGIE. I brought stories that inspire and comfort me! I brought the stories that make me happy!

I’m very pleased with my bookish packing decisions. It was SOOOO hard to decide which books to bring, because I’m very attached to ALL my books! (And I’ll probably end up bringing more books back to the dorm after Thanksgiving and/or winter break, too! BECAUSE REASONS.) In the end, though, I think I made the right choices about which books to bring vs. which books to borrow.

Like, I’m soooo glad I brought the entire Skulduggery Pleasant series, and left my boxed set of Lord of the Rings (+ The Hobbit) behind. I can’t find the former series at the public library – well, not the ENTIRE series, at any rate – but I CAN find the latter series there if I feel like rereading it! (And at the university library, too, probably.) I think I really made the most of the limited amount of space in this bookcase… and in this dorm room, TBH.


If you moved and could only bring as many books as would fit into a smallish box… which stories would you choose? How would you choose which books came with and which ones stayed behind?!


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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13 Responses to Books I Brought To College | Childhood Favorites & Why Packing Is HARD

  1. I’m going to have the exact same problem soon, I leave for university next week and I have to somehow decide what books to take and what to leave behind! I definitely have to take all the books I have not yet read, but I want to take some favourites too and it’s going to be so hard to choose!!! I think you made good choices though (the Skulduggery Pleasant series definitely!).

  2. moosha23 says:

    Yeesh, so many books. I’m glad you brought all your favourites! When I look at my bookshelf I don’t know how I’ll be able to choose what books to take – I’ll probably take all the ones that I can reread again. But hey, at least there’s a massive public library, huh?

  3. This is the one thing that I would have SO much trouble with. I am impressed with your self-restraint, however, I’d be attempting to lug three bookshelves! 😀

  4. OH GOSH I can’t believe you had to choose O_O I would probably break down sobbing hahaha. I’d bring my Harry Potter collection and my TBR books (there are a lottt) and…that’d probably take up all my room haha!

    • nevillegirl says:

      SO MANY TBR BOOKS. I don’t even own most of my TBR books (because my list is ridiculously long… 1600+ books now, I think? so, I don’t own anywhere close to all of them, for obvious reasons), but if I DID? Wow. THERE WOULD BE NO SPACE LEFT IN MY ROOM FOR /ME/. 😛

  5. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind (June-August Edition) – bookloversblog

  6. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    Even the THOUGHT of leaving my books behind terrifies me. *hugs bookshelf* I LOVE MY BOOKS. THEY ARE PART OF MY SOUL. Ohhh, but I guess I would probably only take my Maggie Stiefvaterbooks, and then the rest I would take ones that I haven’t read yet. xD Because I barely eVER reread (Maggie Stiefvater being the exception) so I’d want new stuff.

  7. Mo says:

    I’ve actually been doing the same thing as I leave on Thursday, and I’ve pared it down to under 10 books. It’s all comfort food reading, from Cam Post to Ballet Shoes to my favorite Tamora Pierce books. So I feel you.

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