Follow my blog on Bloglovin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Books and Their Homes

Thanks to my e-subscription to Shelf Awareness, I just read a delightful column called "People of the Bookshelf" in The Global Mail. Written by one of my favorite authors, Geraldine Brooks, she confessed her secret dedication to preferentially shelving her own personal collection of books.  Brooks said she arranges her books "as she would guests at a dinner party," putting together authors that she thinks might be able to strike up a pleasant conversation. She said she likes to "imagine them, shelved side by side, comparing notes on the mores of their respective eras."   
I just went through a similar dilemma when we added beautiful new built-in bookshelves in our "book nook" at the top of the staircase in my home. I had the shelves built for our collection of children's books. Even though my children are now 17 and 20, I can't bear to say goodbye to books that have been around since my father was a little boy, and I was a young girl. There are books given to my children by their late father and grandparents. These are books I have wonderful memories of reading to my girls over and over. 
Last week, I spent an emotional evening placing these precious books in the new shelves and I must confess I was a bit obsessive about their arrangement. I wanted Maurice Sendak next to Charlotte Zolotow. Then I put all our dog books together; I put Rosemary Wells' McDuff tales next to Alexandra Day's Carl books. I gathered every book about bunnies (and we had a lot) and placed them on the same shelf. My collection of fairy books took a place of honor. And my sister and my beloved Edith, the Lonely Girl, books by DareWright were placed in their own safe top shelf. I found it extremely satisfying to put all these special "friends" together in one place.
Now the rest of the books in the house are not as organized. My husband and I have bookshelves in several rooms filled to bursting and stacks of books on our bedside tables overflowing to the floor below. But if I could just have some more bookshelves built, I could organize the rest of my books…
So I want some feed back from you, my silent readers. How do you arrange your bookshelves? Email me or post to this blog. XOXO


  1. Delightful share! I favor mostly grouping by associated nonfiction topics regardless of author: presidential biographies by eras/centuries, human spaceflight/exploration, sports, leadership, golf history, et al. I am much more likely to have books organized by author when I have multiple books: Steven Pressfield, Tom Clancy, Carl Sanburg, Gerry Wills, Richard Halliburton. But I don't have a single room large enough to house them so they are in bookshelves in every living space I have, which I find I like -- walk into any room and find books waiting to be perused or chosen.

  2. Arranging books is such a personal task. I have books placed on various shelves throughout the house. The books I keep on shelves have a real connection to me, or to my children. Each are loved. They are sometimes re-arranged depending on my mood, but they're typically arranged by genre and author, library style. Extra special books are always set apart, but no one knows why but me. It simply pleases me to see them.