Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bookshelf Makeover Needed. Help!

As I am about to embark on a remodeling project, I’ve been thinking about how to (re)organize my books.
Once upon a time, they WERE organized. Research books and non-fiction grouped by time period. The biographies were in alphabetical order by name of the subject. The “keepers” from my childhood (Betsy-Tacy, The Little Colonel, Cherry Ames) had their own proud place. Travel books and maps where separate and close to the Really Useful tomes on How To Fix a Toilet and First Aid for Dummies.
There was a section for poetry and one for those beautiful books on art. Inspirational books were neatly shelved. And writing craft books were handy, along with a dictionary, thesauruses (yes, more than one), and a book on when specific words came into use. (Imperative to know when you write historical fiction.)
There was a separate shelf for signed books written by my friends. I had a “keeper” shelf (literally) and it was (symbolically) the highest shelf – books I would aspire to write.
There was even an “incoming” shelf for books I had purchased and not yet read, easy to peruse whenever I finished a book and was ready to choose the next.
This list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea. Once, in a former life, I was Organized.
Time passed.
I sold my first book.
I started a shelf of the books I had written. (One copy each, including the foreign editions.)
I had more friends who were writers. They sold more books. I bought them.
I learned about more books that I wanted to read. I found more keepers.
I went to writers conferences. I bought more books. I was GIVEN more books.
I changed time periods. I had ideas for books I hadn’t sold yet. My research library grew accordingly.
My deadlines grew shorter. My reading time briefer. “Incoming” no longer had its own shelf. I doubleshelved paperbacks. Research books for books I intended to write someday were relegated to bags on the floor in order to keep the shelves available for research books about projects I was actually writing. I had books stashed anywhere there was a flat surface, including on top of and underneath chairs.
And, let’s be honest – the floor of my office. (And yes, that is an actual picture of an actual bookshelf in my office.)
So now, as I am forced to box it all up and start over, I’m wondering how the rest of you do it. How do YOU organize your reading material?
Can these shelves be saved?

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