Apr 11, 2013

stacks of books and a red rubber pony

Because I know you like to look at books. Or you wouldn't be here, right? And finally, after moving about five months ago, I have organized my bookshelves! They were all a jumble, just put up any-which-way when unpacking from boxes. Here's some of the sorting that went on.

First I pulled all the keepers off the shelves. The books behind the red pony, on the floor and three shelves just to the right behind his butt, are all unread books. Yikes! The lowest middle shelf is juvenile fiction I keep accessible for my daughter, the next bottom shelf (going right) is baby board books for my toddler, and the last bottom shelf in corner is oversize coffee-table type books.

Then I sorted them into two main heaps: fiction and non-. Asked my kid which she wanted to "play" with- she was making stacks of books into stairs for her slinky to walk down. She said the fiction, because guessed there would be more books in that pile. And she was right, I think! Here on the floor are all the fiction, with non-fiction shelved again to the far right, organized more-or-less by subject.
That was it, I took a break for a day. This afternoon took all the fiction books and sorted them into piles by first letter of author's last name, and then further sorted each stack as I shelved them, until all were alphabetized.
It was quite a task! In the process I also dusted and flipped most of the shelves (they start to bow downwards under the weight of books so I turn the adjustable ones over periodically). I found in the sorting that I have a lot of books whose author name starts with S. And not a single one with I or Q. And only one book by a Z author- can you guess which?

I also found that I miss my books. Handling them all and turning a few pages here and there made me really want to sit down and read them all. But I have had little time for reading this year (as I'm sure you've noticed by the frequency of baby-book posts here). I did however note a lot of authors I want to read more of, and am surprised I haven't yet. Must find a way to remedy that! They are:

Marion Zimmer Bradley- only read Mists of Avalon and always wanted to try more
Orson Scott Card (the Ender books- I still haven't read the two most recent ones)
Pat Conroy- only have read Prince of Tides and must read more!
Bryce Courtenay- only have read Power of One and want to read more!
Barbara Hambly- want to read more of her stuff beyond the Winterlands series (which I loved)
Richard Kennedy- did he ever write anything besides Amy's Eyes? must find out
Gregory McGuire- liked very much Wicked and the stepsister book, I know there's a lot more!
Neville Shute- only read A Town Like Alice, must try more
Barbara Kingsolver- loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Prodigal Summer and Poisonwood Bible; I suspect I'll like most everything she's written.

that all sounds very repetitive- must have more!- but it's the prevailing sentiment about books!

And then there's quite a few authors that are out-of-print or not popular (at least, not in my library) so I keep them in the back of my mind for hunting in used bookshops, to see if I can make more discoveries: David Stephen, May Sarton, Richard Balch, Will James, and Rumer Godden begin that list.

And has Elizabeth Marshall Thomas written any more books about prehistoric peoples? because even though I found lots of criticism on the accuracy of her depictions in those, I still enjoyed them a lot...


  1. I do like to look at other people's books because I don't feel so bad about my stacks when I do. Organizing them was a lot of work.

  2. Fantastic! One day I hope I can be as organised as you!

  3. It's a lot of work sorting and shelving books. I hope you rewarded yourself with a treat :) Love the red rubber pony btw.

  4. Bermudaonion- I like looking at others' stacks to peek at titles. Don't think my photos are quite clear enough for that, though.

    Stefanie- It was a lot of work! but enjoyable. The pony was my toddlers' xmas present.

  5. Is the Z-author book Shadow of the Wind? It's the only book I can currently think of whose author begins with a Z...

    Rumer Godden is a good author to look for in used bookshops! She has written a ton of books, so it's not insanely unlikely that you'll find a book by her, but because most of her stuff is out of print, you still feel like you've made a proper Find when you discover one of hers. Especially if it's one of her books for kids! Her books for kids are the best.

  6. Oh you HAVE to read Kingsolver's newest, Flight Behavior!!! It's so good!! I don't know if you ever listen to audiobooks, but she reads it herself and does a fantastic job! Her essay collection, Small Wonder, is really good too!
    I love going through my bookshelves every now and then and just rearranging them :) It is nice to look at them all and remind yourself of what you have!

  7. Jackie- well, it's still not quite as organized as I'd like! The non-fiction is still rather haphazardly placed; I'd like to find a better way to sort those. Maybe someday.

    Jenny- Nope, guess again!
    I've only got three or four Rumer Godden, and they all came from secondhand places. I always keep my eyes out for her books.

    Chris- Why have I never even heard of that one? Certainly will look for it now! I've been wanting to read Small Wonder for a while, too.

  8. Wow, what a project! I got tired just thinking about it! ;)

  9. I need to read more Nevil Shute books too. I've read A Town Like Alice and On the Beach. Both were excellent. Have only read the new Kingsolver, which made me want to read more.

    You're very organized! I haven't managed to get my books in order, since moving. We have fewer shelves in the new house, unfortunately, so I need to do another major purge.

  10. Anna- It used to make me tired just thinking about it, which is why it took me so long to get around to doing the job! I had to have: free time, energy, and the absence of a toddler (who would make havoc of the stacks of books all over the floor)!

    Bookfool- Purging is always such a difficult task.

  11. I'm impressed. 5 months is nothing. After three years I'm still trying to organize my shelves. The biggest problem is I've run out of space and I KNOW I need to get rid of some but I just can't. I'd love to read more Kingsolver, too. I've heard great things about Flight Behavior!


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