She does rather make things worse though by suggesting a list of guides to book collecting which I know simply must have. Am now running out of shelf space again and a big reshuffle of my shelves is planned which will probably take weeks ... and I dread it, not so much because I hate cleaning (which I do) but because I keep finding old friends on the shelves and have to sit down and read them.
I've acquired a tiny handheld vacuum cleaner which will be just the thing for cleaning the books without realising clouds of dust into the air. It was a free gift from the nice folks at the car workshop after I spent many thousands on repairs to parts of the innards I didn't even know existed. (The money that could have been better spent on antique bookshelves and numerous rare first editions.)
I've noticed that there's nothing bibliomaniacs (that's you guys!) love to talk about more than how they organize their collection. (The idea of organising a book collection by colour prompted a lot of discussion and made me realise just how many different ways there are to organise books ... and how idiosyncratic we all are!)
The topic comes up again today on the Guardian blog where Sarah Crown makes a plea for advice, as she struggles to reshelf her books after a house move:
Believe me, I've tried nearly everything. I used to favour the popular "by genre" approach: different shelves for poetry, plays, fiction, non-fiction, travel, cookery ... The problem there, though, is that the travel shelf ends up only half-full, and then you're faced with the problem of what to complete it with. So you pick cookery, but cookery spills over onto the next shelf ... and so it goes. Even if you decide that, despite its flaws, the genre system is for you, there are further choices to be made. Do you organise each genre alphabetically? Do you attempt the infinitely tricky but profoundly impressive, if you can pull it off, genre-bleed - science into sci-fi, history books into historical fiction?I enjoyed the reader comments, suggesting all kinds of solutions I would never have thought of, including:
- organising books by the price you paid for them
- putting heavier books at either end of a shelf so they don't warp (invented by an engineer)
There are also a number of bookswapping sites now on the internet and the Librarything blog has done a good job of highlighting these recently, and here's a list of sites they recommend:
Someone added the best suggestion yet on the blog ... arrange your books in dinner-party order i.e. according to which authors would most like to sit by each other. I love that!