This blog has been a little quiet for the past week as I was moving house and working. One part of this was building a bookcase. Only a thin one because I left the majority of my books with my parents, having learnt my lesson that when you know you’ll be moving again in a year/under a year, don’t take all of them with you (unless you’re planning, as I did one year, to build your bedside table out of books and a piece of wood). After two English graduates remembered how 3D space worked and marvelled at how wood and screws can come together, a bookcase existed. And then I had to organise it.
How you organise your books is controversial (though there’s a fairly uniting disdain for people who do it by colour). There’s alphabetical, the classic, but then do you split further into categories like fiction and non-fiction or form or genre? You can just sort by categories, maybe subdivide by topic. Time period works if you own a lot of ‘classic’ literature. When you’re lacking in space, as I have been, the best option can be by priority, creating your own ‘high use’ material (this is the only way to make a book bedside table without needing to dismantle it all the time).
I work in a library so you think mine would be very organised. Actually, they’re not. The shelves are as follows, from the top: drama (and a teapot); poetry and two books about Byron; prose, mostly novels but also Wollstonecraft’s Vindication(s); a small thematic shelf that is solely The Secret History, A Little Life, and If We Were Villains (and a cuddly bat); the Harry Potter books plus DVDs, a copy of Quidditch Through The Ages that my friend delightfully graffiti’d in character, and a Buckbeak keyring; and finally, a misc shelf that is keeping the bookcase stable by containing the complete works of Shakespeare, The Goldfinch, The Stranger’s Child, a single hardback book, and a selection of things I didn’t think I’d be reading too soon, but I did want to have with me.
It’s a fluid system that needs to be able to integrate parts of my to-read shelf once they’re read (these books are currently on my desk urging to be chosen next). It is also based upon whim and could be totally changed in a few months (say, after Christmas and my birthday, the main book gaining times of the year handily only a week apart). I think my point is, organise your books how you want. You’re the person who has to find/look at them, after all. Though if you have a particularly notable system, do share it so we can all be outraged/inspired.