Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Organize Your Books (No, Please, NOT on a Kindle!)

It must be something in the air: several blogs that I read have recently posted about organizing and culling their book collections, which is something I half-heartedly did a few weeks ago. By half-heartedly, I mean that as soon as I saw a couple inches of bare shelf, I stopped…and promptly and happily bought a bunch of new books.

C.M. Mayo at Madam Mayo offers very helpful suggestions and hard questions to ask yourself as you go through the process. If she weren’t such a wonderful writer, I might suggest that she go into professional organizing.

“4. Does it have serious sentimental value? Because everything may have some sentimental value, this needs to be rated on a scale of, say, 1 - 10. I have enough shelf space right now that a minimum of 5 on a scale of 1 - 10 works for me.
-->If yes, goes to appropriate shelf. If no, on to question 5.”

Read the whole piece here.

Cliff Garstang, at Perpetual Folly, offers this comforting discovery:

“For a long time I've been embarrassed by the large number of books I own that I haven't read. I read a lot, but buy more than I read because I love books. I'm currently reading The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and I was very happy to find this passage in the introduction to Part 1:

‘Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.’

So, it turns out that I have a sizable antilibrary. Yay.”

Read the rest here.

And Mark Sarvas, at The Elegant Variation, encounters a conundrum that any writer will recognize as being of vital importance:

“The unpacking of the Sarvas Library continues, slowly but pleasingly. … Along the way, though, I encountered a problem that I haven't yet sorted out to my satisfaction. I'm presently unpacking fiction only. Typically, I've kept my collection of writers' letters - another obsession of mine - in a separate section, which has always worked reasonably well. Now, I'm sort of wondering what to do about writers' biographies. I don't have nearly as many of those, but I've accumulated a few since the last time the library was on shelves. So I'm left wondering do I store my copy of Frederick Brown's Flaubert biography with the rest of my Flaubert, or do I separate the biographies as well.”

Read more here. (And be sure to read the comments...there are some very intense book organizers out there!)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.