Shelving Habits

One of the (few) things I did during February was organise my bookshelves.  Despite me buying most of my books in e nowadays, I somehow still have piles of books stacked haphazardly here, there, everywhere.  Which meant I was running out of space, and so during a rainy afternoon, I made an attempt at organisation.

I say attempt, because, well, it’s not easy.

I’m not one of those people who need to have all the books in a series in the same format.  I’m a bit too much of an impatient reader – basically I just go for the format that’s available the soonest.  So I happily have US and UK releases, hardbacks and paperbacks (and ebooks) in the same series (yes, I’m talking about you, Mercy Thompson).  But when shelving my books, this means I can’t do everything by series/author because of the different-sized books (okay, I could, but what a waste of bookshelf real estate!).

However, I still want to make it easy for me to find whatever books I want quickly, so I try to shelve broadly by genre – romance, mystery, fantasy, SF – if possible.  But then there’s also a bit of an instinctive grouping happening.

7841670So my Lois McMaster Bujold SF hardcovers are next to those Elizabeth Peters‘ Amelia Peabody mysteries I have in hardcover as well – different genres, but with protagonists that somehow strike me as very similar.  6571644Next to Amelia Peabody are my Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum mysteries (the few ones I bought in hardcover, before I started borrowing them from my library) and then my Lisa Lutz books – both offbeat contemporary mystery series, though quite different in style.

My paperback Elizabeth Peters mysteries are shelved separately – I have them with her romantic suspense books written under her Barbara Michaels pseudonym, which are in turn next to my collection of Mary Stewart paperbacks, because again, they have a similar feel.  I’m toying with adding my Susanna Kearsleys to that shelf as well.

7839024I have my Juliet Marillier hardcovers with Sharon Shinn‘s Twelve Houses and Elemental Blessings books as neighbours (and hey look, Goodreads has the the cover for the third book in the series, JEWELED FIRE!). 21528313 My smaller Shinn hardcovers (which tend to be more YA in feel) are with my Kristin Cashore books, a couple of Tamora Pierce hardbacks, and the two Cecelia and Kate books I have in hardcover.

And I could go on and on… but it’s probably only interesting to me.  I love how I can now lay my hands on the books I’m after so much more easily – my shelves now match how I think of the books in my head.  (Though we’ll see how long this state of affairs last…)

I’d love to hear how you shelve your books (or how you’d like to – if I had a whole wall of shelves, I’d totally follow Angie’s example and do this)!

Non-book related link: This post (and comments) totally cracked me up.

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7 thoughts on “Shelving Habits

  1. Shelving habits! I used to be so organized and now. . . I’m a mess. I need to follow your lead and work on mine.

    I have four shelfs in a small apartment, so I do my best. Each shelf is double and sometimes triple stacked. Three of them are for books read and they are shelved in alphabetical order by author’s last name. The fourth is my TBR shelf. Each shelf contains books by category: contemporary (romance/fiction); fantasy/sci-fi; historical romance; lgbt (fiction/romance); ARCs; literary fiction/misc. And within the shelfs I keep them grouped by authors. At the moment that shelf is a mess! And the other ones are bulging at the seams already. I need to through them and begin the process of weeding out the non-keepers again. Sigh… I give away more print books than I can keep. I admit that it is tough and a challenge to give my books away!

    Like you, I’m not choosy about format. I’m an impatient/impulsive reader/buyer and have complete series in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats! I don’t like my shelves to have the uniform, clean look (I like my library (yes sure) to look well-used, thoroughly loved, and cozy) and prefer well-loved books to books that look untouched — that is one of the reasons I love buying used books. But the books I purchase new, keep the new look because I don’t break spines or twist pages.

    • Hils – your shelves sound super-organised, I wish mine were organised that way! Most of mine are double-stacked too, I haven’t yet reached the triple-stacking stage…

      I did some pruning too – a lot of my suspense/crime paperbacks ended up in the charity shop pile because I rarely re-read them. Some UF/PNR as well. Hopefully they’ll end up in a good home. (I also found two exact same versions of the same book lurking in different bookshelves – goodness knows how I managed that!)

      I love what you say about the mix of books creating a well-loved look – so true!

  2. Pingback: Five (Book-ish) Phone Apps I Use | Me and My Books

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