Posts tagged with "moving" - Faerye Net 2008-10-21T21:55:54+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Book organizing 2008-10-21T21:55:54+00:00 2008-10-21T22:04:21+00:00 <p>&#42;dusts off website&#42; &#42;evicts family of pigeons roosting in blog software&#42;</p> <p>Greetings from Portland, where two industrious humans and one cat (slightly less lazy than usual) are unpacking and reassembling their home. Also trying to keep at least part of it from disappearing under the resultant layers of empty cardboard and crumpled newsprint, but that&#8217;s another story. The big story here is that for the first time in recorded history, Ryan has more books on shelves than I do. Yes, the man who was storing his books largely in artistically arranged stacks (don&#8217;t knock it, I&#8217;ve seen it done very beautifully by the French) has an entire bookcase full of the beggars. Whereas the woman who used <a href="" target="links">LibraryThing</a> to tag her books with the number of the box they were packed in&#8230;has 14 in a tiny Target bookshelf. Ooh, and the Millennium Edition of <em>Lord of the Rings</em> sitting flat on another shelf.</p> <p>So book-arranging has been under discussion. Ryan, in the course of getting other people to go to <a href="" target="links">Ikea</a> to buy this now-full bookcase, made it clear that my books should stay away from his books (like beets from mashed potatoes) because our systems are different. I like mine alphabetized by author, and he recoils in horror from this idea (like the average human from beets). His mom (in the &#8216;other people&#8217; going to Ikea) says she does hers by topic, then by size within topic. Ryan said this sounded about like what he does, though he conceded my point that having books by the same author together made sense. However, so far, looking at his bookcase, I don&#8217;t see that author-grouping occurring much. Here are the <a href="" target="powells">Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels</a> next to a glossary for the Aubrey-Maturin novels&#8230;good call. On the next shelf, two non-Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O&#8217;Brian together, next to two Jonathan Lethem books, next to a Brust novel which isn&#8217;t next to any other Brust novels. Well, it&#8217;s a stand-alone, isn&#8217;t it? But still in the Dragaeraverse&#8230;then there are the random sprinklings of Heinlein. I don&#8217;t really get it. You&#8217;ll have to ask him. But it appears that taller books are on the sides, which I guess is pleasing to the eye.</p> <p>Which is (at last! Your patience is rewarded!) the point of this blog post. I had never thought of using book size as the organizing precept within each shelf of my library. When Ruth first said the words, I had to blink to reorder my universe, as if she&#8217;d said she organized her books by color (which I hear used to be pretty common). It made me wonder if my system seems as odd to others. Here is how I organize my books:<br /> <ul><li>One shelf of &#8216;fawncy&#8217; books (collector&#8217;s editions, rare-ish editions, leather-bound, otherwise pretty). I&#8217;ve kicked a few borderline books off this shelf when it got too crowded. Points for being beloved as well as beautiful, or for sentimental value. This shelf&#8217;s arranged to look nice, with a preponderance of slipcovered editions on one end.</li><br /> <li>The rest of my fiction books, regardless of target audience age, alphabetically by author, then by title except within series.</li><br /> <li>Fiction anthologies, themed then general, alphabetical by title.</li><br /> <li>Poetry books, alphabetical by author.</li><br /> <li>Poetry anthologies. I don&#8217;t really have enough to have a rubric. Don&#8217;t hurt me, poets!</li><br /> <li>Nonfiction. Ah, this is the question. Right now, it&#8217;s alphabetical by author. But doesn&#8217;t topic make more sense? I used topic originally, so there must have been some good reason why I changed. When in doubt, consider libraries. <em>They</em> use topic for non-fiction. But then I end up trying to decide whether to put pterosaurs before or after dinosaurs in the paleo section, and which possible segue book to use. Maybe I should get a labelmaker and use the Library of Congress system.</li><br /> <li>Exceptions: oversize/art books, bottom shelf. When I had franchised novels, I put them all together alphabetically by franchise (under &#8216;S&#8217;. Yes. I mean those. Those, too.)</li></ul></p> <p>Obviously, I&#8217;m open to changing how I shelve nonfiction. I am also still struggling with the question of drama, which in my case is 90% Shakespeare (the Shakespeare:drama ratio is even higher than the paleontology:nonfiction ratio. I have at least two complete works and massive piles of individual plays.) I have been shelving it as fiction, but perhaps it needs its own section, cuddling up to poetry, since it is, after all, largely Shakespeare.</p> <p>This entire system was implemented in high school. Before that, I used a system of vague feelings. I read constantly, and reread constantly, and relied on my long searching browsings of the shelves (to decide what to reread next) to refresh my impressions of the current state of the shelves. So, if I had a sudden desire for a specific book &#8212; say <a href="" target="links"><em>The Midnight Folk</em></a> &#8211; I would stand in some fairly clear patch of my bedroom floor &#8211; possibly balancing awkwardly, if the clear patches were far apart &#8211; and summon the physical memory of the book, the picture on the front, the color of the spine, until I remembered where I&#8217;d last seen it. This was possibly good for the mental muscles and may count as meditation, but it was an odd book-organization system.</p> <p>How about you? How do you organize your books? And if you are Ruth or Ryan and I have grossly misstated your system, feel free to abuse and disabuse.</p>