Bookshelf Pride

We recently got our bookshelf back. The top part of the shelf had been broken off, but thanks to some glue and nails it’s secured back good enough. Which made me happy as only furniture and books can. Perhaps my true life calling is to sell antiques and first editions…

Stacking a book shelf is an indulgent ritual. First, placing all the books before you on the carpet, then surveying their familiar covers while wondering which order would be best for them to be in, asking yourself whether or not you can put your top ten favourites on their own shelf…

This is how it ended up:

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Top shelf: Penguin Classics and $9.99 Penguin Books because there’s no way those matching covers could not be next to each other.
Middle Shelf: General paper-back fiction in alphabetical order according to author’s last name. This was a hard shelf to organize as I was torn between colour coding, then ordering them by size. Tough call.
Bottom Shelf: From left – plays, reference books, autobiography, hard cover and  acting guides.

That’s when I knew for sure that I was a perfectionist, and pedantic, and a little bit crazy, all with a dollop of ‘should have been in bed not organizing a book shelf at 1am’ on top. But what the hell when looking at it makes me so darn pleased. Except when I think about the books still in that box. Then I have to repress anxiety. And for the record, yes, I left my top favourites on my smaller, special shelf. Though, them being apart from the other’s is actually tearing me up a little. Which is when I realised that I was able to double the crazy perfectionism from above. But just look at ’em sitting there all proud and important.

You can't sit with us.
You can’t sit with us.

How do you stack your bookshelf? Is it important how you order them or do you just shove them where they fit?

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Reminds me of a cosy but messy English apartment where you like to spend the night because it means sleeping with the person you’ve just started to get to know properly and everything is dreamy but sometimes the house is just damp and there are crumbs in the bathroom, and that unnerves you.

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Colour coded? 

Having a bookshelf back is good, but it does make me wish for a house with a personalized library so that I can really pretend to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast (that costume won’t be a complete waste…) but more than that, the idea of having a room of nothing but dark mahogany shelves filled with hundreds of books, with a writing desk under a bright lamp, comfy, worn armchairs, and finally a window seat in a bay window that overlooks a green, tree filled garden. Sitting there on a rainy day with my laptop open for a new writing project, or a new book and a fizzy drink would be heavenly.

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Ah, dreaming is nice. There’s just something comforting and relaxing about being surrounding by books and arm chairs. I guess you could say that it’s one of my happy places. That and a pool full of candy that never gets sticky. Or discovering I have magical powers. Or in the arms of that hunky guy I live with after he’s just fulfilled his dream. Whichever is nice.

There is only one draw back to the return of the bookshelf and that is that I am now gripped by a need to fill the last gaps with more books…

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31 thoughts on “Bookshelf Pride

  1. I organize my bookshelves by category/subject/topic that kind of thing. In the past I tried to do it by author or size but it just got impractical. So now I’m doing my organizing by subject matter-psychology/social sciences/philosophy/religion/reference/novels/literature that’s kind of how it goes for me.

  2. Nice collection. I have of a bit of a book buying problem. I purchase much more books than I actually read.My shelf is not really organized. I mean, it’s neat and all but it doesn’t follow a specific order. It’s not that big, though, so it’s been full for years, and every book that came after is stached in a tall pile next to it. It looks pretty cool, actually.

  3. Alphabetical. But sort of themed as well, ie we have a case of kids’ books, a case or so of fiction, another of academic books, a section of poetry, all the yoga books together, blah di blah. Husband isn’t as methodical as me and it causes me PAIN not being able to find something coz it’s stuffed sideways in the top of another section. But I am not as bad as my mum – she does alphabetical and if she has more than one by same author they are…wait for it… in year of publication order. Am expecting Dewey decimal system labels on the spines next time I go round.

  4. I too have my penguin classics stacked together. after that, I have a shelf for reference books/cookbooks/lifestyle books. A shelf for my crime/thriller books, mostly consisting of stephen king. A shelf for poetry, classics and cult books. A shelf for my old children’s books and chick lit. And finally I have a shelf for my writing stuff, full of folders and beautiful notebooks. It is starting to lose it’s organisation though as I get more books and less shelf space.
    I love my book shelf… it is opposite the head of my bed so when I wake up my books are the first thing I see 😀

  5. I love book stacking. I agree with you that it’s an “indulgent ritual”, and my fiancé and I have plans to create a library room in our house. Though personally I would not have followed your approach! I like to arrange books by height. I’m particularly OCD about that. I have five shelves. I start on the bottom one starting with the tallest book then gradually to the shortest one on the top shelf. Whenever I buy a new book I spend some time seeing where it would fit best, haha.

    1. Oh you lucky ducks, that’s an awesome plan. Ohh no, I understand the height thing. When I finally chose alphabetical I was cringing at how the big book was next to the short book :/
      but then it sort of became nice, like the little books are hiding / secrets you just have to find haha.

  6. Seriously, I want that library in Beauty & the Beast – amazing! I like how you’ve ordered your shelves, met of my books are stuffed in a cupboard as I have no space but one day I shall display them all proudly!

  7. What a delicious smorgasbord of Libraries. I fantasise about red winged chesterfield chairs and small marble topped table in my library. For organization, I would follow my hero King Ashurbanipal’s idea and have a room for each subject! Meanwhile, in reality I have my books in a type of organized chaos which is a polite way of saying a bit of a mess really. Love them all though.

    1. Mmm… maybe I’ll have to buy a big house and have a library wing and not just a room. Haha books are best when spread out over the whole house, even when they are you know where to find each one.

  8. Three or four years ago we had a crack appear in the bedroom wall. Put it down to too much weight in the loft. Result- had to get rid of hundreds of books from the loft. I had not read most of them and probably never would BUT it hurt – and still does!
    As to book order (like CD order) must be alphabetical after dividing fiction and non-fiction. Can’t see it any other way really. Not even putting top ten favourites in a special place. A bit naughty that because all authors sweat blood to produce and it seems unfair to practice book apartheid.

    1. Ah that would hurt me for a very long time, too!
      Definitely alphabetical. It had to win – as pretty as colour coding looked.
      haha, very naughty. But I couldn’t very well have an empty shelf, it’s almost as tall as me but narrow and it looked too awkward and bare without something on it so they had to stay there until I decide what I can do with my other shelf. I’m sure I’ll find a job for it one day.

  9. I feel for you here. Swap books for movies and it’s pretty much the same thing for me! What are your thoughts on e-readers? I’m curious to know your stance on that. Me personally I love the feel of a book in my hands and turning the pages. Or when you know you’re getting closer to the end because your book mark keeps getting closer and closer to that last page. Anyways, I’d love to know what you think about that. Maybe save it for a new post?!

    1. Our movies are currently stacked in a box as we still need to go get our tv cabinet as well. It irks me a little but annoys the hell out of me when I try to find a certain movie and have to take every dvd out of the box to find it.

      Then a post it shall be! haha, I’ll write up my own ebook vs kindle post this week. Hey now I don’t have to come up with a topic, so thank you 🙂

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