reading habits

Things I Learnt from ‘Shelf Re-Organisation Day’

The shelves in my study have been in disarray for months.  When I bought new books, rather than lovingly place them alongside other books of their genre/author/colour, I instead adopted a Finding-The-Best-Hiding-Place-For-This-Book-I-Shouldn’t-Have-Bought system.  I know, I should patent it.  I would have taken a ‘Before’ picture if I’d actually intended to undertake the long overdue re-organisation.  What really happened, though, was that I wandered in to the study to find something and became obscenely frustrated with the pile of books sat on my desk next to the shelves and decided that this morning was absolutely the best time to re-shuffle.  I’d decided on a genre-based system a while ago on the basis that I often decide what type of book I’m in the mood for very early on in the choosing-next-book process. 

It turns out that categorising books is actually quite hard.  Which is how I ended up crouched down on the floor of the study trying to work out whether my collection of two Sarah Waters novels should live in scary fiction (I don’t own anything that ordinary people would term ‘horror’) because of The Little Stranger or whether they should live in historical fiction because of The Night Watch.  Separating the Sarah Waters novels was inconceivable, obviously…

It also turns out that I had become completely clueless about my own book buying habits.  Things I learnt from Shelf Re-organisation Day include: 

1)  Despite it being the genre I would name as my favourite if forced to name a favourite, I don’t own that many fantasy books in paper copy

When I started out, I thought I owned enough adult fantasy and YA fantasy to separate them out onto their own shelves.  The result looks a bit sad…

And by ‘sad’, I do of course mean, must be fixed via Waterstones very soon.  I’m pretty sure that the main reason behind the surprising lack of fantasy is that the epic fantasy that I favour tends to be…well, epic.  To save my spine from having to suffer the lugging around huge books, I do most of my epic fantasy reading on my eReader.  Sad for my shelves but true.  The only exception to that is my Wheel of Time series in all their edition-switching glory, who share a shelf with my Terry Pratchett books and are peeking into the picture below.  One day, I will re-read that entire series and love them all over again.  That was another thing I decided today.

2)  Although I definitely do love a good historical fiction novel, I don’t love it quite as much as my shelves would suggest

I have to confess that the historical fiction shelves have merged slightly with the ‘random’ shelves.  Some books defy categorisation.  Also sad but also true.  This particular shelf anomaly is probably owing to the fact that my Mum is a big fan of historical fiction and I get a lot of books passed on from her.  That might slow now that she has a Kindle, I suppose, but in the meantime, I have plenty of historical fiction to be getting on with:

The double-stacked shelf (I know, *cringe*) is mostly historical fiction (along with the rogue The Little Stranger – I went with ‘historical fiction’ for Ms Waters in the end…) and the books being propped up by Morph (or his friend, I’m not sure :s) are the aforementioned random contingent.

3)  I only own 4 non-fiction books

The fact that I can actually count them without too much trauma is a testament to how embarrassing that section is.  The few I do have are snuggled up with my glossy red collection of Vintage paperbacks to make itself feel better.  Boyfriend (who barely ever reads) has more non-fiction than me.  What can I say?  It might make me sound stupid but I’m not just not that big a fan of reading non-fiction in my down time :s

4)  I have far more unread books than I do read ones

That is now mostly owing to the fact that I cleared away some of the read ones that I hadn’t been that keen on and put them in a charity shop destined bag.  It was quite fun pulling all of the unread books off my shelves only to find more unread books but it was also a bit worrying :-/

So they’re the lessons I learned from sorting out my shelves.  I got rid of plenty of books (most of which were old law books in areas that I don’t practice in but for which I have for some reason kept statute books for years but they COUNT dammit!), cleared some space for new ones and made my shelves look beautiful in the process.  I do like Sundays.

PLEASE tell me that I’m not the only dork to spend a couple of hours re-organising book shelves before smiling lovingly at the results?!  Also, feel free to tell me if you have your own system (as long as it isn’t better than mine because that might prompt me to have to start the organising exercise all over again…)