I think I have to admit I’ve reached a tipping point. I knew it when there were was a book I really wanted, but the thought of finding a place for it on my bookshelves felt overwhelming. Time to cull out some books. Easy and quick enough to fill a few bags for the library sale, but I’m becoming dissatisfied with my shelving system. Well, system may be an over exaggeration. The hardbacks are in the living room shelves and the softbacks are in our bedroom and office shelves. I have one shelf dedicated to essay collections, but that is too jammed and some essay books are scattered about. I think I need a new approach. I have art history books that I want to group together, divided by exhibition catalogues on the larger . Plus, I need to expand the space for my essay collections. I’d like an shelf for To Be Read (Next-ish). If I’m going to start hauling around books from one section to another, I’m wondering if I should be thinking about something else, this drive to re-organize the shelves may disappear for a decade.
I recall Anne Fadiman writing about merging her library with her husband’s in “Marrying Libraries.” She described him as a ‘lumper,’ comingling all literature together, whereas she was a ‘splitter,’ dividing her books by nationality and subject matter. For me, the thought of dividing my literature by nationality is headache inducing to set up and impossible to maintain. My books are all vertical, but new ones get added in according to whim, not topic.
How do you organize your bookshelves? Any suggestions for me before I stir up a bucket of dust moving around books that have sat for years? I wish it was as easy to rearrange my bookshelves as it appears in this video on YouTube.