How do you organize your books?
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do you do them alphabetically, by subject, if you have history books chronologically?
For my collection of history books I arrange them first my area (ie. England, France) then choronologically.
Literature and fiction (including lit crit and literary bios) are alpha by author (or author who is the subject of the book; for instance, Edmund White's bio of Jean Genet is with Genet's books). Otherwise, they are by subject matter.
Go read our profile first. I'll wait right here.
It's been postponed. I'm working in Delaware, and she's not inclined to do it without me.
Someday... April, at the earliest....
"A group for book collectors. A place to share tips, post want lists, talk about what you're collecting and why you're collecting it . . . oh the possibilities"
yes? I posted this as a discussion on oragnizing your collections of books, how you do it, why you do it. Organizing/displaying your collection is half the fun :)
It is interesting to think about how to organize the library - and I have moved my books about several times when I find the 'filing' system does not work - ie. I cannot access books due to placement confusion.
I know that some people arrange their literature books into 'eras' - I have all mine alphabetically. This includes my books on books and all things related to fiction, such as biographies, essays, etc.
I keep poetry, travel, history, philosophy and science in separate sections. My gardening and cooking books are in a completely different area - and I have not catalogued many of these. All these I arrange by subject, with history chronological. Music I keep separately near the stereo.
I have taken to covering all the hardcovers with Brodart as I realize my ability to predict future valuables is zero (as I recently traded an old Indian photography book on ebay and expected a few cents, yet it bought over $75 bucks. Just never know.
I saw some interesting photos on Flickr on books aranaged by colour. I don't know how functional this is, but sure does look pretty :)
to me its most important to group them by sizes... mine are on shelves and in bookcases (12 shelves) 2 book cases altho if i have more then 5 by same author.. ILL group them also by size( all 26 of my james patterson are together) I own close to 400 books and still going!
First, separated by author. Then if it is a series(ie: a trilogy), arranged in order. If they are single titles, alphabetically. My largest collection of a particular author is actually Leigh Greenwood. His Seven Brides series was straight forward to organize. But He wrote the Cowboys series all out of sequence. I finally organized them in the order they would have happened within the story.
At the moment they are arranged alphabetically by title. LT has helped so much in keeping track of what I have, that now I know if somethings out of place. In the past they have been arranged by subject, and once on a decorating spree by color. The next time I rearrange will probably be by author. It's fun to change it up occasionally because you forget what you have otherwise. It's like discovering something completely new. Also, there is the fancy bookcase near the front door, that has the best editions in it. Of course, everybody I know seems to be engineering types who wander by obliviously and are not wowed by my collection as I intended. The cook books are all in the kitchen, which looks more like a library than a place to cook.
I shelve by genre, then (theoretically!) alphabetically within that.
Cookery books will go in the kitchen when I get some shelves put up for them: currently living on about 5 feet of sideboard space.
All other non-fiction is deemed living room reading and lives in there: gardening, architecture and interior decorating, dictionaries, travel and a few miscellaneous authors like Alan Bennett.
Crime and adventure are treated as one and currently reside in a large bookcase in the spare bedroom. They're double-shelved because there isn't enough space, and one day I'll find somewhere else for them.
Science fiction and romance live in the study or my bedroom. I guess they are the ones I may not want on display for any visitor to see (all those Mills and Boon...).
The only problem is where authors cross genre boundaries. I'm still torn on whether to keep all works by an author together or whether to split by genre. And deciding the cutoff between romantic fiction and adventure/crime isn't easy either.
The question pre-supposes that I organise them at all.
My wife would tell you that I start organising them, and then, magically, they start appearing all over the house for no apparent reason.
She suspects I have a hand in it, but that can`t be right.
re: message 11 - I use that same method (and wife has same complaint)
Nice way to organice Your book is use the digiatal assignement. This is the barcode - not the ISBN thing but 2Dbarcodes. Good thing is about the 2Dbarcodes is you can use your own cellphone.
History by topic, era and/or event. The larger sections are chronological and fade into each other. American history begins in colonial history, revolution, war of 1812... I also seperate in each of these smaller areas into general history, diaries, and "other" reference (like Hayward's Colonial Lighting). Fiction, by national identity, all the Russians together, the British, the Irish, the Scots, the Americans, etc.. I try to arrange them so overlap authors are in between each national section. This is not easy, but my mind demands it for some reason. Poetry is similar. All the theology and philosophy together by subject. Reference all together. I need another copy of Bierce's Devil's Dictionary so it's in the reference section and the Civil War section. I seem to look for it in both places. Classics by original language(ish), books about books by subtopics and then subs below that as well. Series Like the Foxfire series by Eliot Wigginton, stay together. My Modern Library collection has it's own bookcase and system. They are organized by printing date and binding. If you collect ML this makes a little bit of sense. Writing it out, this sounds pretty organized but it's gray in my mind. *I* know how they're organized and I guess what counts is being able to find anything at a given time. Now if I could remember which books I've given away, lent, sold, I'd be doing great!
I keep some books at work (one hundred, maybe) and they're organized the same way.
just when i am considering myself as a garden variety bookaphile, i come across this thread and find i am unique!
I began my third (and last) library october 1, 2004. The first two libraries were all hardbacks. My OCD wouldn't let me mix paperbacks (of any type) with hardbacks.
Specifically to overcome this OCD, I now read the work in whatever form I find it, but I STILL group paperbacks and hardbacks together, reading only one, then the other, until the shelf is filled.
I access them by plain didital number, putting a non-sticking tag on the spine.
As any good OCD would do, I keep a book of blank pages, in which I list each one by its number. As of today, I have 245 books in my library, with another 1,600 or so lounging around, waiting to be read.
Another difference now is I will only READ THE BOOKS THAT I LIKE TO READ. Before, I'd read the so-called classics such as Aescylus, Shakespeare, Marlowe, and (God help me) Henry James and Joyce. Now, I will only read Macbeth and Hamlet or a couple more of Will's work, no James, and only Dubliners shorts by Joyce. In short, if I cannot admire the work and want to continue with it by page 20 or the end of the second chapter, I lay it aside for another lifetime, or maybe later.
To date, I have done so with just 5 books, and their non-acceptance by me has surprised me. I thought I would love Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," but surprise, surprise, sergeant Carter.... i found the prose so fanciful and noncoherent for the nature of the tale, I put it aside after a few pages. I also thought I'd love Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," as I loved the movie (several times!). However, Kesey tells the story from the Chief's POV and it so upset me I couldn't get past the first chapter. In this case, I will return to it probably as time goes by and I accept such a change.
I guess what amazes me most is that I'm putting spiritual practices into my life by deliberately focusing on change in my acquisitions, and my reading. The only "forcing" I make myself do in my reading is that I must have a spiritual-type book (such as "The Pilgrim's Progress" or Hesse's "Sidhartha" in every titles I acqusiition to this, my third, and very much my last .... library.
One last note in this tome of response:
I have been pushing Tim Spaulding et al to keep the number of "top libraries" at one percent of the LT population, i.e., when we hit 300,000, I asked them to move the total number of libraries from 1,000 to 3,000 and so they did. My selfish guise for doing this is that I may someday join that august body. Well, Tim told me, "I don't know why you're worrying about it. Right now you are number 18,600."
Seems if he (they) (we) wanted to, we could have a number showing our position in the library's size for each of us, but he (Tim) didn't think he'd bother with that.
I wonder if other OCD's beside me would like to know their position in the community of 350,000 plus LTers? If so, tell Tim, not me. Maybe we can prevail in getting this feature. If not, I can take repose in the hope that when we get to 400,000 members, the library listing will increase to 4,000 libraries.
I organize my books using the old tried and true Dewey Classification system....000 - 900. A holdover from when I worked in high school li brary. I use just the Classifications and sort my books into their class, then I shelve them by Classification then Title, and if there are more than one book with similar title I shelve by author. I do not utilize a card system.....but should!
I am fortunate to have a new library in a soom combined with TV viewing, some of my books like mystery's are in bedrooms, for reading before turning out the lights...
Books make a home, and I have them everywhere.....depending on the nature of the room and the book.
#17 -- I agree that books make a home, as long as I've got a cat or two sleeping among the piles of paper. Something about books and cats just go together. I can't live in a place that doesn't have both.
My books are "organized" alpha by author except as one person noted above: all books about the author (regardless of who wrote them) are with books by the author. Then, too, size is a consideration. If every shelf was big enough to hold quartos standing, I wouldn't have room for near so many shelves.
I fill boxes that are Lettered and numbered. The boxes are stacked in order along aisles - I write the Letter/number on the end and enter it as a tag in LT. That way it doesn't matter what is in the box, the LT database takes care of the location. Other books that I reference often are on shelves in rooms - each room has a letter, a number for the bookcase and another number for the shelf. I can find any book in my collection by reference LT and finding the tag. As I find more books they go into more of the same boxes (my preferences are archival Magazine boxes I buy in bulk - they are easily stackable 6-7 high without crushing the contents). Understand I own 5000+ books with multiple editions by my favorite authors. I also tag books if they are signed, have drawings by the illustrators or any other notables that make them unique.
I'm constantly reorganizing my library as I haven't found the 'right' system for me just yet. I try to sort by genre and then alphabetically by title. If it's history, it's chronological. Auto/biographical is alphabetical by subject/person. I've also created a separate shelf for the classics apart from the fiction.
It's been interesting trying to group my books together as I have such a wide array of genres and topics and not many books in any one category. As I add more books to my library I think the lines dividing the different areas will become much clearer.
I also have a small bookcase dedicated to the books I've acquired but haven't read yet. It's a constant source of frustration for me. No matter what I do, I always end up buying more books than I can read!
I keep mine in a big stack in the middle of the floor. When I've read a book I simple toss it on the pile. I was thinking about different piles by subject but it seems like hardwork to go through them all.
Our library has several collections and we find it appropriate to organize some of them in different ways.
For the time travel fiction the pocket paperbacks are in one case while hardcovers and trade paperbacks (larger) are in another case. Some back shelfing is needed because of the quantity. Each case is alphabetical by author in a manner that I think many would consider to be traditional.
Another collection is comprised of books which inspired Walt Disney films and television programs. I chose to group the books by feature films first and within these they are sorted by the release date of the film. A like arrangement applies to the film shorts and television program sections of this collection.
The collection of Edward Stratemeyer and Stratemeyer Syndicate books is organized in a less obvious manner. Edward's books are at the top (eventually 160 titles). The rest of the books are grouped by ghostwriter and these are shelved in sequence by when the writer started working for the Syndicate. Inside the ghostwriter grouping, they are next grouped by series depending on the year when that writer first contributed volumes to it.
These organizations make it easier to see similar items in a way that a straight alphabetical manner would not.
I pretty much organize my books by size as someone else noted above. Some shelves lend themselves to 3-deep sets of mass market paperbacks, some lend themselves to small hardcovers, one row has my atlases and other tall books, etc. A secretary in the library contains very small books. Audiobooks are on top of the secretary.
Everything is coded with a location tag, so it doesn't matter to me at all that my Harlan Cobens are on 4 shelves or my Rita Mae Browns are on 12 shelves. Only 3 authors are grouped all together - J.D. Robb, Jane Austen, and Stephen King.
I like the jumble and variety of what's on any given shelf.
My subject in a way that allows subjects to overlap and flow into each other with as few clean breaks as possible. The same goes for sub-subjects. For example history is divided by geography, so countries in the commonwealth come after Britain, France flows into New Orleans and that then flows into American History etc. The paranormal is sorted by ghosts, witches, vampires, cryptozoology, superstitions, and possession, finally transitioning into religion and a new section altogether. Biographies are strictly sorted by birth date.
But what I really want to know is how do you all have it set up? Do you have a separate room, a dedicated area in a room, do you fill a certain room mainly used for another purpose, do you have them all over the house...etc? I currently have a dedicated "library" which is a sort of dead space in my long living room. I have a big mantle going from end to end of the far wall which I use as a shelf, with a gap in the middle for your typical mantle display of candles, a clock, bottles of roses and a skull, and I have two small bookshelves angled in the corners beneath the mantle. It's beautiful and I always had the intention of finishing it and making it look as much like a beautiful classic library (if tiny) as possible, with a large painting over the mantle and a rug in front and a globe bar. But we just bought a house two weeks ago and now I'm finding that not only will I never see this precious area of mine finished, but I'll have to leave it and figure out a whole new scheme. This is proving to be the most painful part of the impending move. I know that sounds ridiculous but if anyone understands it's you guys. Primarily I want the new display to look grand and attractive, and to be able to look at it all the time. I can't think of any dead areas in the new house to dedicate to this purpose, so I'm desperately trying to figure out what to do in order to still have my special sacred space. So far my only thought is to turn the entire living room into a library, but one with a TV in it.
(26) Forget the TV, just keep books in your living room. :)
I would if I didn't have someone else living here who likes his TV. :D
@26: I do something similar with my books, actually. Science fiction is sorted by author, ending with the authors of whose work I have the most, ending with Arthur C. Clarke's SF. Then I have Clarke's non-fiction works on space exploration, then my other space exploration books, then my books on space science and engineering, then my general science and engineering books, then books on the "softer" sciences, like linguistics and sociology and you get the idea now I think so I'll stop rambling now....
I am conditioned by the overall lack/scarcity of space: in the living room, a small shelf with books on Milano, where I reside plus, on top of two tall cupboards, some 400 art exhibition catalogues; in the dining room a couple of longer shelves with books by members of my family and with a sampling of "quality" editions, for ex. by Arion, Mardersteig, Tallone, Facsimile Ed., London etc; the "dining" table is militarily occupied by some large volumes and by books issued by the Cento Amici del Libro, a 70+ years old Italian group which publishes yearly high qualiy livres d'artiste (130 limitation).
In a relatively long corridor, a classical library of five elements about 2 m high and almost 1 m wide ea. The first holds history books on WW2 and Shoah, the second 8° volumes on general history, the third pocketbooks on the same, the fourth French and English and some other literatures, the fifth Italian literature and a few books on science etc. History and literature books are classified by author, in alphabetical order, except biographies, by name of subject. In the same corridor, two other elements, less tall, but deeper, hold books on Roumania and on Jewish subjects. Also in the same corridor, on top of a cabinet, a relatively tall pile of large size books, kept horizontally.
Other books are in a relatively lage library in a small study room, in the bedroom (kitchen and travel guides) and in all other available spaces, however small, including some math books in the ex bedside tables.
Separately and in cartons, many books on art.
I dream about a classical library large room, but at age 82... and limited means... I'm aware it will stay a dream.
My sorts are Folio society in one large bookshelf , a room for art and collecting boolks + cartography, a passage with shelves for Africana, a Wall in another room for English/ Irish Scottish topography interrupted by a bookcase for the London collection, a half wall for architecture , a few shelves for natural history and botany/ flowers/gardens and then in my third room I divide according to country with British and European history taking up most space. Plus a big section for travel and exploration. I think arranging books in a private library depends on numbers of books in a particular collection, sizes of the books, geography , history and one's subject areas. I suppose one could go for Dewey or Congress order but as I do not wish to mark the books with catalogue numbers and one's eye knows one's own interests one should just please one'self. that is the real pleasure of owning books. the bookshelf alongside my bed has the books I am reading! Trouble with books and collecting is that it's pretty impossible to move house.
Our home is only about 1,100 square feet (102 square meters) so fitting 7,300+ books in it is a challenge. It is three bedrooms and we have books in each of them plus the dining room and living room.
Our bedroom mainly comprises "to read" volumes.
One of the other bedrooms is our "office" with academic books, Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, cat books, etc.
The other bedroom is the "library" with most of the juvenile series books, Cussler, Adams, time travel, and books which inspired Disney films and television programs.
The dining room has Tom Swift series books and books by Jules Verne.
The living room has books selected for their display qualities since this is the first room that guests see. If they are bookish people then we may show them more.
In a future home we hope to have more rooms for our collections so that they can be displayed to even better advantage and fewer must remain in boxes.
These are older photos but will give an idea of the arrangement.
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