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Quirky Questions > QQ: How are your books organized?

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message 1: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 923 comments Last week we talked about how many. This week the question is how are they organized? By color? Author? Not organized?

Mine are alphabetical by author first, then title. Since I'm a big fiction reader, if there's literary criticism or biography regarding the author it comes after all the fictional titles by that author. So it would be Emma, Persuasion, and then a biography of Austen. This helps me a great deal to quickly locate a book we are scheduled to read or to find out I must otherwise obtain it,


message 2: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments First division is sections -- fiction in the main hallway, poetry in my downstairs library and in the guest suite, reference, history, philosophy and religion, biography and autobiography, foreign language, literary criticism, legal, in separate sections in my downstairs library, children's books and mysteries in the upstairs library, miscellaneous and some inherited collections in the upstairs hallway, arts and crafts in the art room.

Within sections, alphabetically by author.

I can lay my hands on any book I want to in a matter of moments.


message 3: by Veronique (new)

Veronique :0) Both your posts made me smile. So, I have a a very similar system - in general by genre, then by author alphabetically, and finally by title (although if there is a series of books, I'll put those in that order).

Living room has: 18th & 19th century lit (by publisher, so all Oxford Classics, all Penguins, etc.) and Persephone, Scifi, Golden Age Crime and Bio, Children lit, Short-stories/anthologies and novellas, Travel, oversized books including encyclopedia, reference books, Hardbacks, Poetry, Drama, and Dickens
Kitchen: cookery books
2nd room (spare room/library): Fiction (incl. 20thc, YA, Fantasy, Thrillers, Historical novels, etc.), Literary Criticism, Comics/BD, History, Art, Graphic Design, IT, Photography, Drawing, Knitting and Crochet, Languages (dictionaries, learning, writing + fiction by language by author)
And yes it is all in the software too :0)


message 4: by Frances (new)

Frances (francesab) | 296 comments Wow-just-wow! Mine are organized randomly on shelves, piles beside bed, chair and sofa and a few more piles on the floor of the library. From time to time I buy a book having forgotten that I already have a copy (fortunately I mostly limit my purchases to very inexpensive second hand books which I'm then happy to give away again).

I thought my future retirement project would be to read all the books I own that I haven't read, but now I think it might be to organize them as well.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Veronique wrote: "and finally by title (although if there is a series of books, I'll put those in that order)"

I admire your having the patience to figure out the order and get the books so arranged. I have enough trouble just getting them in author order.

The only ones I have in series order, I think, are those like the Barchester and Palliser series of Trollope. But as to most series, I just don't have that commitment or patience!


message 6: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Frances wrote: "I thought my future retirement project would be to read all the books I own that I haven't read, but now I think it might be to organize them as well. "

If your system works, and you can find what you want to, better spend the time reading than organizing!


message 7: by paul (new)

paul My wife and I have books everywhere--even some (almost criminally, in the basement). on my half of the shelves, I have my books by genre (fiction, poetry, non-fiction, reference) and within that, I have them alphabetical by author. A few authors I put in chronological order, if I have enough of their books

But. . .

A couple of years ago, after years of not thinking I'd want one, I got a kindle. I love it. I have War and Peace and Middlemarch, and lots of other books all in one place. Usually, I read more than one book at a time, and I take them both with me wherever I go.


message 8: by Kerstin, Moderator (new)

Kerstin | 576 comments Mod
We have our books organized mostly by subject. Most of them are there in random order. We have books and bookshelves in just about every room and we still can find what we're looking for, even if it takes a few minutes :)


message 9: by Daniele (new)

Daniele Thank you all for your descriptions. You have given my librarian wife a good laugh! (My books are in piles with no organization, whatsoever).


message 10: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
I've just been thinking about how ebooks have made me so much less obsessive about how I organize my books. Really should get back to that.


message 11: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Oh dear, this is can of worms territory in our house. We have a friend who, over the years, loved to goad my husband about his poor organisational skills. It had become quite a pastime our friend. Said person had a library which was coded, decoded, recoded, colour-coded, filed, refiled (defiled?). All of this was before the ubiquitous computer and was displayed and presented with pride just as many like-minded people displayed their holiday slides. As we parted company on one happy occasion, my dear spouse mumbled (after being berated on his abominable organisational skills for the 100th time - more like 1000th, at a conservative estimate!) "being organised is getting things done!".

It might follow that I'm not a fan of such intricate filing and this is true although there is a certain morbid fascination with the brightly coloured squares of coding. Perhaps I didn't have enough exposure to colouring books as a child. :D

Just recently I managed to put Austin and Dickens together. Chronologically? Of course
not! There is only so much time in a lifetime. I mean that I actually put them together on the same shelf! Then my younger daughter decided to rearrange them according to
the publishing house: Penguin, Oxford, Wordsworth etc. Are these publishing houses?

Nevertheless, if coding and careful filing are your thing, do not under any circumstance listen to me. (I'd die from the shock!). Please feel free to code to your heart's content or as we say in Ireland go ahead and "fill your boots!"


message 12: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments And btw, Deborah, I really like the idea of biographies rounding up the fictional works!


message 13: by Amalia (new)

Amalia Gkavea There are four bookcases in my house. I have three in my living room and one in my bedroom. I keep all my book series on the top shelf of each bookcase and everything that has to do with Theatre and Poetry goes on the last shelf. The rest are organized by size, it's the only way in order not to look messy. The fourth bookcase is reserved for exclusively non-fiction books. This one has a large drawer where I keep my teacher's textbooks and notebooks.


message 14: by Brit (new)

Brit | 88 comments Organized, what a great thought! Alas, there are not enough bookshelves and book cases for that. There is some organization in that like books are together, but any system break down quickly. But here are some principles: a set of small, nicely bound classics (from BnN) is on a shelf in the bath room, history books are together elsewhere, gardening books and art books likewise. A few bookshelves are double stacked with the less likely to be reached for in back... but books are my friends, so in general, I find what I want to read or reference.


message 15: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
My organization is along the lines of what you are describing, Brit. (No color coding, I swear!) My cookbooks live in the kitchen. Nonfiction in the back room. Fiction in the living room. Etc. But when I don't keep an eye on them, my books tend to move around and end up in piles next to my beds and chairs. And they never seem to go back to their shelves of their own accord! Dastardly things!


message 16: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Love it, Renee! Books are free by nature. They love nothing more than a good midnight party!


message 17: by Lynne, In Memoriam (new)

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) | 243 comments Mod
I am an organizer by nature. Comes of being a techie and math person I suppose. I have one room devoted to books. Lest you misunderstand, this is a very small house, and one entire room is books. Then there are shelves in the other rooms. I separate fiction from non-fiction. Non-fiction is organized by publication date. Fiction is alphabetical by author. I am in the middle of my umpteenth reorganization (reorg in tech language). As soon as I am finished, I may wait a month and then begin a new reorg. I think I just like to fondle my books, remember what I have, enjoy memories.........


message 18: by Suki (last edited Jan 17, 2017 11:57PM) (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 23 comments I have 27 bookcases, and half the basement is my library. My books are shelved by genre, or even subgenre if there are enough of them. I used to do strict alphabetical order by author and then by release date, but a lot of times this results in various size paperbacks mixed in with hardcovers, which takes up unneccessary room and looks messy. Now I have author "blocks" where like-sized paperbacks are stacked together, and hardcovers and larger paperbacks stand upright. I keep exhaustively detailed spreadsheets of all my books. There is also a 28th bookcase in the kitchen for my cookbook/nutritional reference book collection. My TBRs are stacked throughout the room- they don't get shelf space until they've earned it. Once I read a book, the keeper gets a spot on the appropriate shelf, and if it's not a keeper it gets boxed up to be sold, traded, or donated. Since mom moved in, I don't have as much free time to keep the shelves as meticulously sorted as I would like them to be, but I still know exactly what I have and where to find it.


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