We are in the process of reorganising aspects of the house: The Mr’s office, downstairs, will somehow be made to fit all his music equipment, thus giving him a combined office-music room, and the freed, upstairs, room will become both my office/studio and the library. My desk will move from the landing;
my extendable work table, which is currently squeezed into the bedroom, will be able to open its flaps once more; my art supplies will come down from the loft, and all our books will be given a proper home (see header image for more of their current situation!). We had some idea of asking someone to build and fit shelves, but that’s too expensive so I’m hoping to get floor to ceiling bookcases from Ikea that will perfectly fit the space, after which will come the question of how to organise them? The options seem to be:
•Alphabetically by writer, whereby all of them are mixed together and filed left to right, A to B.
•Grouped by genre with the books filed alphabetically within categories.
•Grouped by colour.
•Grouped by some other way I haven’t thought of.
Alphabetically by author feels like the easiest way when thinking about putting one’s hand on a book one knows is there; for example, if I want a book by Cormac McCarthy I’d be able to go straight to the Ms and find it instantly; but, what if I’m looking for, say, poetic inspiration? In that case it would be good to be able to go to a section that has all the poetry where I could browse, ponder, and perhaps be surprised by something I’d forgotten we had. Ditto philosophy: I can’t always remember which philosopher said what, so to be able go to the philosophy section to jog my memory could be useful. But how many categories, of what sort: big loose ones, or small tighter ones?
Fiction; non-fiction; poetry (big and loose)?
Novels; short fiction; poetry; philosophy; maths; art; architecture; science; natural history; history; geography, etc. (smaller and tighter)?
What of anthologies (which can be a mixture of all number of genres); magazines (ditto); and odd things like books on fishing; knots; bricks… When grouping by category/genre how small is too small? Do I put photography in ‘Art’ or give it a shelf of its own, and do biographies get their own section or do I put them in the section in which the subject was active – e.g. a biography of Erdös in Maths?
I think I can discount colour as a tool of organisation, the likelihood of either of us deciding we want to read a green book is pretty slim.
But what of the ways I haven’t thought of?
Any suggestions on any of this would be great, how do you organise your books (have I asked this before?)?