My books have reached a critical mass. They’re spilling over the carpet, lent on each other like the lintels of Stonehenge and hiding in the spider space under the bookshelves. Some have even mounted a break- away movement, stacked like a siege engines beside the bed.
Something has to be done.
Him-in-the-Office has moved out into his glorified shed behind the garage. The old office was empty, abandoned, unloved. Bless him, he paints it, he varnishes the computer-chair-scuffed floor and best of all, installs three whopping great big bookshelves.
Simply move my books in and Bob’s your uncle, (or Charley’s your aunt or whatever). Ah. Which books to move?
Now the sitting room shelves largely consist of the sea collection. Hundreds of them: diving guides, sailing yarns,whales, shark-spotting guides, mermaids. Oh and Venice and the arty outsize jobbies. So I move Venice out to the new shelves and move some children’s books about the sea down from my study. Fine. Though I might need them.
Still too many books upstairs.
I move the loose canons, the stacked sets, the-slotted-in-sideways-on-top-ones. Good.
How to organise? By author – no chance. I’ve got a blog to write!
Subject matter then. Promising: plenty of genres – gothic spooky horror things, folklore and fantasy, maps and pub walks. Should I move ‘Mortlock’ into its section – or leave it on top of the bedside radio? Where does ‘Tall Story’ go? Odd bits. Hang on, I haven’t read all of these.
Mustn’t start reading – mustn’t look at Philip Ardagh’s Book of Absolutely Useless Lists – it’s a time machine. Discipline – stick to your brief, woman. And what was that exactly? Reorganise the so-and-so books.
M. A. stuff, that needs to be in the study. Easy. And all the how-tos, and the other reference books I might just need. Oh – I put the folklore downstairs. Clump, clump, clump. Right – kids’ upstairs, adults down. Seems reasonable. Not enough room – or rather the wrong sort of room. Some are outsize and won’t fit in the new shelves anyway.
Read and unread? Possibly – but I’m not sure which ones Him-in-the-Office has read. And I am not having all his Sharpes downstairs. Bad enough seeing my Tolkien addiction revealed in all its Numenorean glory.
I try grabbing random books and shoving them on the shelves any old how.
There aren’t many places you’ll see Meg Rossoff next to Stephenie Meyer.
Aaargh. I give up.
I go down into the village. I buy some fresh bread, some little cork feet to stop the book ends scratching my shiny new shelves and pop in the charity shops.. and buy more books.
Mortlock should be placed on a specially built shrine in the corner of your room…
Well, it is all by itself on top of the radio right by my bedside!Couldn’t really be more accessible.
I love rearranging books! I do them accoriding to size. Apart from my collection of signed books. And my research books. Oh, and the pile I haven’t read yet. Actually, I think I have the same problem as you . . .
Enjoy your new books!
It really is quite a (pleasant) challenge. My sea books for example: organise by theme ( whales , dolphins, sailing, diving) but ignore whether fact or fiction? Or go by region, or by age-range? And I’m constantly referring to some – but others may be needed for further projects. I expect there is no definitive answer.
Didnt some chap called Melvil design a system just for this?
Probably, oh Son No.2.
And Mr Dewey.
Empty bookshelves waiting for the filling – joy of joys!!!
Indeed it is. Though a person needs a bob or two to do it with.
that looks wonderful! there are never enough shelves. we went into the business of renting out a holiday cottage as a cover for finding a place to store our books.
I suppose you could say the same for us , only we live in our holiday home now!
Complete randomness and chaos is required in any collection. Too much time is wasted on maintaining order, time better spent writing, drinking etc. And when the time comes to find said book, you’ll generally come across something else which will either be much more relevant or interesting that’ll inspire a new direction and spark creative thought. Well that’s just my theory.
You make a very valid point about serendipity, Gav.
Mmm- complete randomness, though. Isn’t art/life about the balance between chaos and order? If I need to find a particular book, it helps if I can lay my hands on it without too much faff.
I’m no good for advice love, mine go straight back to the Lions bookshop for replacement LOL x
Mine come from BHF, The Hospice, Cat and Rabbit Protection Society, Cancer Research, Children’s Sciety, Oxfam & Barnardo’s with occasional forays into the dump bins!
I read of someone with the same dilemma who after going through various permutations eventually thought stuff it and arranged them by colour of spine. Because why not. She said it led to some great juxtapositions and also to the rediscovery of long forgotten treasures…
Thanks Meg – I could try that. I appreciate you making the time to comment.