Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And now, a bookshelf interlude

One of the first things I do when I find myself at someone's house is start poking through their bookshelves. Partly it's curiousity about the bookshelf-owner -- do they like Jane Austen? Do they own a copy of The Story of O? And part of it is that I'm just plain addicted to reading. I can't go a day without it, and can't have any text in front of me without wanting to read it.

When I was a kid, my mom would often ask me to clear the table for dinner, only to find me a half and hour later, completely absorbed in the leftover newspapers from breakfast. I'm the world's slowest filer, too -- do you have any idea the things that get stuck in files? They're facscinating. And don't get me started on the internet -- for every hour of research I do, I spend at least two hours on blogs or wikipedia or true life ghost story pages.

Anyway. Here's a picture of my bookshelf (the one in the living room, by the front door):



Trixie said...

I've been feeling a little bookless lately, even though my bedside table AND all my bookshelves are full--the reason...Alex won't let me bring ALL my books up from the basement since we moved here because they take up so much derned space! (Plus, he's have to carry them...) sooooo...I long for the day when I can have my own office and FILL it with my books. And though I have TONS of books I still need to read, it doesn't stop me from going to the library and checking out YET. MORE. BOOKS. i need 'em, i love 'em, i gotta' have 'em. (And I am totally the same way with blogs and newspapers and cereal boxes oh my!)

Sam said...

I have to ask how you file your books? Do you have a nonfiction section? I think, when it comes to books, that how they are arranged can be as telling as what they are.
Mine are alphabetical by authors last name with comic books on the bottom shelf and nonfiction on a shelf entirely it's own.

seester said...

I like to shuffle my books around on the bookshelves, too. I've never been so ambitious as to alphabetize, though. Right now, I've organized things into loose categories around interests... perfectly condescending English authors on one shelf...strange feminists on another...and the ever popular, "hey, that was on my high school reading list," shelf. We'll see what happens next time I start dusting.

momeester said...

My books, if they are in any order, are by acquisition. I buy a bookshelf, fill it, buy another, fill it, etc. Books from college are together, books from Dana's intense Quaker period, books about the prayer book. In a sense topics come together but Harry Potter can be next to a historical geology of New England if they were acquired on the same trip to Borders. I want to get on of the software systems for cataloging the personal collection. Then it won't matter where the book is, the computer will tell me the location: Bedroom, NorthWall, first bookcase, third shelf.

All this reminds me of my Aunt Ann Boyd. Like my dad, she is dislexic and loves reading. She is particularly fond of a Baudelaire poem, I grew up in the shadow of a big bookcase


Nora said...

Oh, I have no system. When we first moved in to this apartment, I tried to organize thematically (all my translations of Dante and Dante criticism on one shelf, books relating to classics and mythology on another, etc), but I haven't maintained it.

Right now, my system's probably the opposite of my moms: books are arranged together by what was used last -- so all the refrences I used while preparing my Iliad lectures are together, alongside the fiction I was reading at the time, and all my books on Greek Tragedy are together with Nietzsche and Keats and the latest Suzanna Clarke.

I don't usually have trouble finding stuff, though. Whatever system I have, it works.

trixie said...

You know, I am a Virgo and also probably considered fairly...well...anal in a lot of regards...but organizing books?? I can't do it...can't bring myself to alphabetize or any of that...it almost seems proposterous to me. They land where they fall in my home. Plus, I just moved too much. I lived with an archivist once who I don't think felt complete until his books were appropriately shelved. At first I felt inferior about this, then I realized what a release it was to just let them fall where they may...ok, but if I think about it a second...I DO tend to keep my college poetry books in the same general bookshelf...no order other than that though. Isn't it funny how much we all think about it (or don't)though? :O)