03 May 2008

How do you organize your books?

It's a gloomy, cloudy day in New York and I'm staring at my bookshelves which, as usual, are a mess. While not exactly higgelty-piggelty, my system for shelving leaves a lot to be desired. Currently all the books are separated into read-versus-unread, and beyond that there's not much of rhyme or reason to it, especially when you take into account that my collection no longer fits into my two bookshelves, with a shameful cache located under my desk. (My roommate was griping the other day about how he has too many books in the apartment -- his two-foot-high shelf is all full, the horrors.)

In past weekends when I was bored I have alphabetized the books, separated hardcovers from paperbacks and (once, and most appealing if least useful) arranged all of them by color. What's your system? And may I borrow it?


Anonymous said...

Well, I start by organizing by type of author - meaning that one author's books are always grouped together, and should have some kind of connection to the authors on either side. Shameful authors and old college textbooks go on the bottom shelf.

Then, as I run out of room on my shelves, I start stacking new books on top of the lines of books, making it difficult to get some out. As more books come in, I start piling them on the floor next to the bookshelf.

Anything I've read in the last six months is piled around my headboard and desk. Anything I've read in the six months previous to that gets piled on the floor next to my headboard and desk.

Yes, you may use this system. An added bonus of this system is, during the yearly cleaning, you find books that you bought and lost before you got to read them.

Unknown said...

I do it in a really boring way. Fiction, alphabetical. Then NF, alphabetical. have a small stack at the beginning of each of those categories, one of borrowed books, and one of coffetablish books. then i have anthologies, then poetry, then children's/YA books, then cooking/craft books, and then college textbook type things. it's all alphabetical. i've wanted to go autobiographical, but it was too daunting a challenge so i gave up. also, in front of all my shelves i have stacks on top and in front of the other books, because i've run out of space. i try to make sure that those stacks are books i haven't read, so i periodically put read books into the actual shelves.

terrible system, i just like to overshare.