So I technically have two different offices, though I spend the majority of my time in one of them. The biggest problem with this arrangement (even bigger than having to walk back and forth during the polar vortex of winter) is that there is a used bookstore in between the two. This is a place I just generally try to stay away from, because I’m such a bibliophile and could easily spend a lot of money there (and do on basically every visit). My brother is a big fan of used books, so around Christmas and his birthday I try to amass a big list of authors to look for in the hopes that I can find a few. I have yet to go in to purchase books for him without also purchasing for myself. Anyway one morning this week I was walking to work with my husband, and he made a joke about dropping me off at the store instead of my office. I laughed it off because I haven’t been there in ages. Of course on my walk back to my other office, a battered copy of Lady Oracle caught my eye in the “Loonie Bin” (that’s a dollar for any non-Canadians), so I impulsively bought it. Because I have no self-control. I love Margaret Atwood but it isn’t even one of my favourites!
Anyway, since I am shortly going to have to re-organize my book shelves to make space for the new acquisitions (I buy a bunch and wait until I have enough to make this kind of project worthwhile), I thought this would be a fun time to do a quick tour of my bookshelves!*
* As a recovering student of English Literature and Library Science, my taste in books, and organization structure, is a bit all-over-the-place
Obviously the largest section of my book collection. I used to be a snob, and would only read literary fiction, but I have no such scruples now. I tore through everything Liana Moriarty had ever written this summer, and loved all of it. A HUGE portion of these books are Canadian Literature, because I love it and have studied it several times. My Margaret Atwood collection in particular continues to grow (as I spot books in the Loonie Bin, mostly), and I never pass up a chance to add another book to the shelves. One of my major problems when I was organizing my books was that some of the writers write more than one genre. I have Atwood fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, and Cohen fiction and poetry, just to give two examples. It tears me up a bit to have to break up their works over different sections, but that is what they do in libraries, so I figured I had to. I have huge collections of some authors’ works (Atwood and McEwan spring to mind) and it also hurts me to have to separate the entirety of their books over two shelves. If you’re not getting the picture yet, I’m a bit crazy about my books. My fiction actually fills this entire shelf and the beginning of another, and is followed by short stories (almost entirely Alice Munro)
I don’t have a huge poetry collection, but I did take some poetry classes, or courses that included poetry, and kept all of my books from them. This includes children’s poetry (which is really just the Shel Silverstein books, though I am slowly annexing more of my childhood books from my parents’ house)
I’m a Shakespeare nut, so that is the bulk of my drama collection (including two anthologies of The Complete Works of Shakespeare….). I also have some other interesting plays in here, like The Beauty Queen of Leenane, by the man who wrote In Brugges, and pretty much everything in this section comes from The Isles. I should probably track down a copy of Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet for at least a little credibility as a Can Lit fan.
My non-fiction collection is pretty varied. It includes lots of textbooks from various courses over the years, lots of biographies of people who interest me, like Shane McGowan, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Rapp (because those are three names that you usually see in the same sentence), and lots of info on musical theatre. I also have a fair bit of general interest, and on Impressionism (which I love, but don’t know a lot about?). One day I had too much time on my hands and decided to organize this whole section according to the Dewey Decimal System. I’m not super patient, so I didn’t go into incredibly fine detail, but I stuck with the Dewey groupings the best I could. I really do like having everything organized according to subject. It used to be organized by title and it was a bit difficult to find things I wanted
I studied French Language and Literature, so I have a small collection of French books, and some textbooks too. These are divided by fiction and non-fiction, and then organized by title. Since we are headed to France this summer for the Euro Cup, I’m going to need to start brushing up on my French again. Can’t wait!!
My reference section is basically anything that is too heavy to sit on a shelf. It takes up the bottom shelf on each of my shelves, and includes literature anthologies for my courses (good old Norton), dictionaries, thesauruses (thesauri?), and stuff like that. I still use my Dictionary of Quotations regularly, though it is a bit hit and miss.
Over time, Joaquin has managed to wrangle two shelves for himself. This may even need to expand with the next bookshelf update. He loves Dennis Lehane, Anne Rice, the Dexter books, and mysteries. I’ve also been giving him Stephen King books as I spot them at the used book store. He is definitely building up his horror collection (and I want no part of it)
Yes I love YA books. Blame it on The Hunger Games (though the love goes back to Harry Potter and Georgia Nicholson, really, and I defy anyone to not still enjoy reading The Chronicles of Narnia or the Green Gables books). A lot of these are favourites that I remember reading growing up, while others are ones that I discovered as an adult. ALL of them are great for rereading. I can’t tell you how many times I have read Louise Rennison’s books, or the Harry Potter books, or Redwall. In fact I’m big into rereading right now because I am having trouble dealing with the suspense of not finishing a book in a day (more on that in a few weeks). Anyway I love this collection. This also mostly includes my boxed sets, which have their own place. They are all YA collections (except Joaquin’s Dark Tower), and they are SO PRETTY. I love to look at them, though I don’t read them that often because I’m a bit fanatical about caring for my books.
So that’s a whirlwind trip through my bookshelves. I’m going to focus on some of my favourite reads another day (as this post is already way too long).
Questions for you:
How do you organize your books? Alphabetical? Colour? Any order?
What do you think about splitting up authors and different sections? Do you have any suggestions to improve mine?
What is your favourite book or author?