Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Library Organization

A friend who lives Way Over There, on the left-hand coast, tells me she's rearranging her library into areas based on mood: The Cheer-Up Section (Grimm's Fairy Tales, Anna Karenina), The Survival Section (How to Stay Alive in the Woods, The Little Black Book of Cocktails), etc.

My books tend to be roughly grouped by project or area of interest: dissertation books nearest to the desk, teaching books, novels, memoirs & bios, etc. (Well, Foucault does get his very own half-shelf, though for humor's sake I put my small-but-growing collection of old medical and sex advice manuals next to him. I thought he'd enjoy that.)

Bedtime reading in and around the bed includes erotica and Buddhist stuff. I wonder if they'll merge some night, so that suddenly those short erotic tales will be of mindful lesbians negotiating nonattached liasions that might help them to mutually glimpse the divine...

So, how are you organizing your books? Or, better yet, if you had the time and inclination, how would you want to organize your books?

(I'm reminded of Ellen DeGeneres's tour a few years back, when she talks about having arranged her CDs by food group...Meat Loaf, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cranberries...)


heather s. said...

Right now, I've got some very non-rigorous categories: comp studies; non-comp rhetoric; tech writing; dissertation books; food studies; cook books; feminist theory; marxist theory; childfree stuff; and all fiction together, and all cookbooks together. Not a very good system, really.

I can't even imagine a good system -- that's part of my organizational problem.

cageyer said...

In our combined library, literature is arranged in roughly chronological order but divided by origin (so early lit is one things, then brit lit, then am lit, drama, poetry, foreign lit, etc.). Pop fiction is a separate unit. Humor also separate. My books are divided roughly into my interest areas: Victorian literature and culture; composition studies; rhetoric texts; globalization; professional education, including law, management, economics, etc. Then there's the section of romance novels, fiction or non-fiction I would just like to read for no reason except enjoyment or knowledge. My Dune collection (12 volumes at this writing) is a separate shelf. Then the household stuff - gardening, home repair books, sewing, building, etc.

I have A LOT of books. My choice would be to file them the same way the library does. But that separates some things from others more than I would like.