Good morning bookworms!
Well, we haven’t had a proper discussion post for a while, so I thought it was time for me to uhhh, waffle at you all for a bit. (I would say ‘You’re welcome’, but I’m not really sure if you should be happy about this or not?!!)
I don’t know about you guys, but I never feel like I have enough space on my bookshelves. So to try and combat this predicament, I tend to rearrange my shelves a fair bit. And due to this, my shelves have gone through a LOT of changes over time.
This (very bad photo) was taken about six years ago (circa 2013). I definitely had a lot less books then. But I was also only reading about 30 books per year. There are a lot of my old fantasy series on here: Garth Nix, Isobelle Carmody, David Eddings, Kate Forsyth, Sara Douglass, J. K. Rowling; and you’ll still see a lot of Terry Pratchett, Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris, Louise Bagshawe and Maggie Alderson.
But you can also see the start of my YA love – John Green (who I don’t love so much any more), Cassandra Clare, Lauren Kate and Stephanie Meyer. There’s also a lot of space for other items. Also, I don’t really know how I was sorting books at this stage. It does look kind of alphabetical, but it’s also a bit strange.
However, at my Melbourne house this was far more of an issue, as I was running out of shelf space. We were at the house for five years and this was when I really joined the book community: I went to book launches, started getting book boxes, joined bookstagram, and started my blog.
The system was pretty simple, I split it by genre. I had one main bookshelf that pretty much housed all my fantasy books. It also had a section for crime, a section for paranormal, and one for contemporary fiction (look how little this was!). There was a Harry Potter/Game of Thrones section and a Discworld one too. In fact, because the bookcase comes naturally divided into sections, that’s how I used it. This was around the same time that I started using random shelves to house things like classics and childrens books I still had.
I have to be honest though. It wasn’t much later that things started getting out of control… Most of my books in this photo were double stacked on the main bookshelf I had, and the others were either jammed into some cheap mismatched shelves, or kind of collected about in piles everywhere you could think to pile books. It was a nightmare trying to find books sometimes, and honestly, it shames me to share these photos.
Yes, this was definitely out of control. It’s probably also the most books I have ever owned. It was at this point that I couldn’t deal with the mess anymore, and did a massive unhaul. I sent about 100 books off to the local Lifeline book fair centre, and we rearranged our entire study.
However, unhauling so many books gave me space to properly realign the shelves again, which was very pleasant. So, in June 2018, my books were re-sorted and redistributed, and the books were once again sorted by genre, properly, and all the fantasy was together again. There were mini categories within the system though.
My hardbacks that had come in book boxes (a lot of these are signed) were at the top, aligned left to right by author. Next came my big fantasy series – ones that I could stack high to take up less space. Then HP and my comics and graphic novels were housed in their little section. There is also a Stiefvater/Taylor section, a Pratchett/Gaiman section, an Evanovich/Harris section, and a Spooner/Kaufman/Kristoff one, plus the random mystery/crime section in the bottom left still. The rest is alphabetical A-Z. I also used the top of the bookshelf for other series and classics. Plus the Husband’s Matthew Reilly, Legend of Zelda and Dragonball Z books.
I still had a couple of other random shelves around. There were two contemporary by this stage, one classics and childrens, a couple of random piles of books (one peeking in the bottom left of the photo), and in October 2018 I actually started a random TBR shelf that had a mix of things on it that I couldn’t fit anywhere else.
Moving back home to Canberra in June this year has been a blessing for my books. Not only did we upgrade our house so that we have a study each (this is super luxurious, but I am old and we don’t have kids), it meant that I could buy proper new bookshelves that match. And I really couldn’t be happier with my shelves! (They’re just Billy bookshelves from IKEA, but they’re all the same! I did have to get a friend to come and drill extra holes though as you cannot get 8 equal shelves worth of books per bookshelf with the pre-drilled holes.)
The first time I put the books up, they just went up with no rhyme or reason. I just wanted the boxes unpacked and gone. However, when it came to sorting them, I decided to try something different. I sorted one wall of my books by colour. (The other wall had a lot of random books and leftover black and other spines that had lots of multi colours on them.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is unbelievably aesthetically pleasing to look at. And I loved it, about 79% of the time. But that other 21% niggled at me because the series weren’t together, and I had some of my favourite authors mixed in that I normally keep separate. Also, there were annoying things like I usually knew what colour the cover of a book was, but not necessarily the spine. For instance, the cover of Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman is primarily green, but the spine is pink. I know this because it took me almost two hours to find it one day, and I ended up messaging a friend to ask them what colour the spine was.
Needless to say, this lasted about three months. I mean, I was also running out of space and had to get my friend in to add extra shelves, but still.
As I mentioned above, I have two walls of shelves. As of about October this year, one wall is like a collectors edition-ish. It houses a specific shelf for each of the following:
- graphic novels
- Jay Kristoff
- childrens books
- Maggie Stiefvater
- Holly Black
- stationery (I know, but I don’t have drawers or anything for my desk)
- Harry Potter
- the Discworld.
Below these are the large size hardcover and paperbacks, shelved by author A-Z, with no genre split. I actually thought I would hate this, but it turns out that I don’t. There is an Evanovich shelf mixed in on this side, but I’ve shoehorned all her books I have and stacked them in one shelf together.
The second wall is author A-Z again, with no genres. The only difference is that because I am bad at measuring, the top two shelves are slightly taller, so I can actually fit medium sized hardcovers there (thank goodness)! So those are A-Z, and then from the third shelf to the bottom is another author A-Z set.
When I was sorting these shelves though, I was talking to a friend about which way I should alphabetize it. When I figured out the spacing it became a lot easier to decide, but there were options!! It also meant that I then had to reshuffle the books again once I had discovered I could only fit medium sized hardcovers on the top two shelves…
I guess what I’m trying to say is, there’s a billion ways (probably not) that you could organise your books. But unless you want to spend a lot of time arranging and rearranging your books, you should probably figure out what you want ahead of time. Trust me, when you get to my numbers of books even buying a couple can mean 30 minutes of arduous shuffling around.
I keep trying different ways because I’m not sure what I want (surprise!). But, if I ever feel inclined to take all the books off the shelves and sort them again (it would be the fourth time since moving in June), I might actually go back to a colour sort. I acknowledge that it drove me crazy, but it was very pretty to look at. The other benefits were that it was easy to pull books out to take photos by colour for instagram!!