A Quotation for Friday: Book Ownership

All the hundreds of books around the house had been shelved according to no system, except maybe in the last year or so, when the system had been simply to place them in order of acquisition in the one available space – the bookshelf in the far right corner of the living room. No system and yet I knew to the last short story collection, the skinniest publisher’s samples, where each and every title rested. Over the years I’d thought about cataloguing them in some sort of order – not the Dewey system, but at least something expressing logic, such as collecting all the Australian fiction in one place, or all the green Virago reprints in another – something sensible and not too anal. But then when I found a little-read book or a title I hadn’t touched for many years, I always decided not. Why change something that suited me perfectly?

From The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

I was particularly pleased to meet a fellow Virago collector in print!

My book shelves and boxes are pretty random, but I have a fair idea where most things are. Though I have to admit my books are tagged with their location on LibraryThing to make sure I can locate them.

What’s your system? How quickly can you find a particular book?

7 responses

  1. The quote is lovely. I think I can picture what the shelves look like. I have no system other than piles of not-yet-read and already-read-pass-to-someone-else.

  2. I didn’t have a system until a few weeks ago and I just shelved them in alphabetical order. Then I used another shelf just for YA, made another shelf for Library books, and yet one more for ARCS/Review books. Not too bad, now I know where everything is located 🙂

    I really enjoyed the quote that you shared with us.

  3. Some of my shelves are colour coded (bottle-green Viragoes and grey Persephones) and others are themed (drama/Children’s Lit etc.) I always know where everything is, even though every shelf is double-backed with books due to limited space and more and more books!

  4. My shelves are very random. I stick books every which way. They are starting to be stacked on top of each other. Which means I need another bookshelf.

  5. JoAnn – i love random. It’s great to pull out a book and then be drawn to something else entirely on the shelf nearby.

    Margot – My not-yet-read are all over the place, but I do have a particular pile of those I won’t want to hang on to.

    Staci – Now that is organisation – I am impressed!

    Claire – Actually I do have a Virago bookcase (double banked and with a few books horizontal in the gaps between shelves). I’ll post a photograph one of these days.

    Linda – I subscribe to the view “books do furnish a room”. Which is fortunate because i have no more space for shelves!

    Stacy – I love reorganising, but I try not to do it too often because I’m far too indecisive. I can spend hours just shaffling books.

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