Jenna Wynne and I have been friends for 23 years. We’re very close, but I’m forever learning something new about her, or remember something wonderful about her. Jenna lives with her husband and their three children in a south Minneapolis craftsman. She agreed to show us around some of her bookshelves. I know you’ll enjoy a glimpse of her sentimental, scientific, and connecting nature.
“As soon as I moved into the house I envisioned this space at the top of the stairs, and right outside our bedroom as being filled with books. Long term, I’d like to create built-in bookshelves here, but with the demands of three kids and two full time jobs between us there just hasn’t been time to tackle that project yet!
“I accumulate books on a pretty regular basis, they are a major weakness, so filling the shelves was not difficult at all. However, filling the top of them was, and for a long time they were just a catch all space for junk. Frequently the kids would leave something in our bedroom, I would clean the bedroom, find the kid thing and leave it on the bookshelves to take downstairs, aaaaaaaand, then never take it downstairs. So after a recent purge of the bedroom and our smaller book room I decided I needed to fill the bookshelves with something to keep them from collecting junk. Luckily, I collect photos and paintings almost as quickly as I collect books! I love walking down the hall and seeing all the photos now instead of being reminded of all the crap I’ve been meaning to do and not doing!
“Part of why I love the bookshelf now is that pretty much everything in this hallway is full of meaning and memory for me. The rug is a Susan Sargent Design, which my dad bought for my mom as a Christmas gift when we lived in Virginia. My mom and I would always go into the Art First Gallery in old town Fredericksburg and drool over the art, so my dad would frequently buy Christmas gifts from them. After I got my own house I think she decided it was more my style.
“The woodblock print hanging on the wall is from the Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN and was purchased on our honeymoon. We each picked a piece we liked and that’s the one I picked. J I believe it’s by Nick Wroblewski an artist that works out of Viroqua, WI but is actually from South Minneapolis, where we live!
“The side table was a Craigslist find, one of my favorites. I had never seen a side table like this one so I just had to have it, and I think it was only $30. The chair is part of a pair my mom bought when she was living in Wausau, WI for a short time. She got them at the thrift shop to furnish her tiny apartment and when she moved into a big house for good down in Muscoda she gave them to me, since my little house still needed furniture.
“The large black and white horse print is Rosa Bonheur’s The Horse Fair which my mom bought me from a garage sale years ago. The painting of Minneapolis is an original by my aunt, and the horse head was given to me by some neighbors whose horses I used to look after when I was in middle school!
“The magazines stacked up on the shelf are my copies of Science, a peer reviewed science journal which my dad got me a subscription to when I told him I was going to major in biology in college. I majored in biology for maybe two semesters? I’m not good at math, but I loved Science so I have kept every issues I ever got. I don’t understand the full on science papers in the back, but they have great shorter pieces and reviews of science books which I always loved to read!
“The trinkets and tchotchkes sprinkled in among the photos are tings the kids made at school, and the dinosaurs were from our wedding, they used to be on an AMAZING card box my cousin made for me very last minute.
“The book of Tennyson’s poetry was my Dad’s and I took it from his apartment after he passed away. A number of my books belonged to him, and I will be forever miserable that he sold most of his books right before he died and moved to electronics. He loved gadgets, but there’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t miss all the books I grew up with. I would say I inherited most of my literary habits from him; he was also usually reading more than one book at a time, and I don’t think he went more than a few days before starting a new book or books.
“In fact, I opened up the Tennyson this morning to see what kind of annotations he had made in it, since pretty much all of his books have notes in them and the first poem I opened to was “The Passing of Arthur,” so I guess a thing for King Arthur is just in my blood.
“I pretty much read all the time, and usually more than one book at a time. Right now I’m reading A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees by Dave Goulson, a British conservationist (this is what I’m reading in the photo). I’m also reading Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers by Nick Offerman for my book club. I’ve also been very slowly working my way through Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly, which is a book that looks at the myths and reality of pirates during what’s commonly known as the Golden Age of Piracy. My favorite book is probably The Once and Future King by T.H. White, though it’s very long so I’ve only read it twice. I’ve read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte probably like 4 times, it’s my next favorite. These bookshelves hold some of my large scale books, and you can see The Once and Future King in there, but my copy of Jane Eyre is just a little paperback so it’s in a smaller shelf near my bed.”
Thanks, Jenna! Your bookshelves, art, and stories are so fascinating.
Would you like to be part of the Bookshelf series? I’d love to see your bookshelf and get to know you better!