Discussion: Shelving

Posted September 17, 2018 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

So I’m in the new flat and getting everything sorted, and of course the big question arises: how should I categorise my books?! I know some people who don’t bother, or even weirder to me, sort them via totally arbitrary criteria like spine colour, or the size of the book.

To me, the whole point of the shelves is to make the books accessible, so it needs to be useful as well. My books get roughly separated by genre and then alphabetised by the author’s surname — and within an author, I tend to go by publication order if I’m feeling really obsessive. Series definitely need to be together and sorted in order! Size and colour don’t matter to me, unless they don’t fit on the shelf, in which case taller books do go on a separate, taller shelf.

The breakdown for my books is pretty unsurprising: there’s four bookcases in the living room full to the brim with fantasy and sci-fi…

There’s a half-size bookcase in my office which is two thirds full of pop history books…

Comics go on the unit above, and I do have a separate section for library books as well…

Then the full size bookcase behind me is a bit of a miscellanea: a few shelves of crime fiction, some historical fiction, some romance, and then two shelves of pop science.

So how do you categorise your books? Please tell me it’s not by colour… (I mean, I kid. Do what you like. But what earthly use is that?!)


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8 responses to “Discussion: Shelving

  1. Let’s put aside my shelf envy for a while … and address your question! I inherited differently sized shelves so that takes one decision off my hands. One stack of shelves is pretty much all Arthurian-related titles (https://mynewshy.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/storeyed-shelfie/) and someday I’ll get around to addressing that one time obsession.

    At the opposite end are leaflets and pamphlets and guidebooks (on a top shelf out of harm’s way) and then a mix of children’s fiction and popular science books (why? Because they fit the space) and one whole five foot long shelf given over to Ursula Le Guin and Diana Wynne Jones.

    Next two stacks are a mix of classics, SF, Joan Aiken, Neil Gaiman, folklore collections and at the bottom all the hardback non-fiction and piano scores that don’t fit in anywhere else.

    So you see, all completely random, just like my mind…

  2. I don’t really have enough shelves to do any kind of real organizing, so I really just stack them anywhere and when I need a book, I just hope I remember which pile I put it in. I wish I could say I sorted by color, because at least that would be an actual system! LOL! 😀

  3. Shelving is tough! I started out really organized — one bookcase for sci-fi/fantasy/horror, one for non-fiction and memoirs, one for kid and YA lit, and another for favorites… plus random other sets of shelves around my house where all the general fiction live. Over time, though, it’s gotten to be much more about where I can squeeze one more book in rather than any real coherent organization… which I guess means it’s time for another bout of purging and reshelving!
    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 books on my TBR list for fall 2018My Profile

  4. My sister reorganized her two bookcases one day by colour and we both said “What is this???” But in the end she kept it cos it’s pretty and I think she can actually find books quickly because the colour is what she remembers most when looking for a book. I only have one bookcase, plus a shelf on my desk. I organize similarly to you by genre, but I also split out adult, middle grade and YA to their own sections. I keep one shelf that is for favourite authors, regardless of genre.
    Jenna @ Falling Letters recently posted…The Fellowship of the Ring Book TagMy Profile

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