Musings From A Bookmammal

Musing Mondays–The Shelving Habits of a Booklover


Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or, you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my Musing Mondays ramble for this week:

I-would-be-most-contentI’ve always loved this quote—but, of course, once you’ve got the bookshelves, it’s time to start filling them with books! Today I started thinking about my own shelving habits, and that made me wonder about the ways that other readers arrange their books.

I have a lot of different kinds of bookcases in a lot of different rooms of my home—and I’ve always had a system for arranging my books on them. I know that some people arrange their books by author, by size, by hardcovers vs. paperbacks, or even by color—and some people don’t have any sort of arrangement system at all. Obviously, there’s no “right way” to do this—your home, your books, your way!

I’ve always shelved my books by theme. When I bring a bag of books home from the bookstore, it would NEVER occur to me to put them all together on one empty spot on my bokcases. No—they need to be shelved with other books of their same topic. Within each topic I do try to keep books by the same author grouped together, and I try to keep similar sized books together, but I don’t alphabetize in any way.

my bookcase in my office/loft/library

my bookcase in my office/loft/library

I have a bookcase in my kitchen where all of my cookbooks live, but it’s also where I keep my books of essays about food and cooking, food memoirs, and even a couple of mystery series that have cooks as their main characters.

My bedroom is where I have my bookcase devoted to books on education—some books on educational  theory, and  a lot of teaching memoirs, year-in-the-life-of-a-teacher, etc.

My other bookcases in my living room and office areas have sections covering other nonfiction areas that I’m particularly interested in  such as African American history, sports, books about books, true crime, politics, the Presidency (with a special section for biographies of Presidents and First Ladies—and yet another whole shelf for books on the Kennedys), religion, journalism, and biographies of non-political folks such as entertainers.

My fiction is arranged a little more loosely—I do have an area for classic literature (Hemingway, Salinger, Twain, etc) but my contemporary fiction is shelved together in no real order—except books by the same author live together. I do tend to keep hardcover fiction separated from paperbacks.

one of my living room bookcases

one of my living room bookcases

My friends tell me that browsing through my bookshelves is like going to their own personal library or bookstore. What can I say? It’s a system that works for me–I can always find any book that I may be looking for!

How about you? Do you have a system for arranging your books at home, or do you simply let them mingle freely together? If you live with other readers, how to do meld your shelving habits?  I’d love to hear about your bookshelves—please share!

Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

13 thoughts on “Musing Mondays–The Shelving Habits of a Booklover

  1. I try to arrange. And then it all gets mixed up soon. My books are wanderers on the bookshelves, but I always know where each one is, much like having many children 🙂

  2. I have a shelf for new unread books. I did build a whole room full of books shelves and after I have read a book it goes in alphabetical order by authors last name. I do keep paperbacks and hard covers separate. Here is my short MM

    • I would LOVE to be able to have an entire room of bookshelves–and then just one very comfy chair and a good reading lamp. Heaven!
      I’ve never been able to stick to the alphabetical order idea somehow, but I do like the look of paperbacks and hard covers separated.

  3. I only have three bookshelves in my home. The two smaller ones are filled with my son’s books. The larger one in my loft has my books as well as my husband’s college text books (which he refuses to get rid of). My books are mostly arranged by author, however as the shelves are getting filled to beyond capacity, I have had to start stacking them by size. So now they tend to be slightly mixed up but within the same letter of the author’s last name. I really haven’t thought of doing it any other way, but now I might! ~Deanna

    • I love the fact that your son has a special place for his books!
      I’ve kept a few of my college textbooks, but only the ones that have to do with teaching.

      • Yes, soon I’m sure his collecting will be screaming for a new bookshelf! My husband is an engineer so I can imagine for him some of the text books are still useful. They are just so darn ugly, they are cramping my style!

  4. LOL, I’m one of the ones that pile all kinds of books together

  5. Since I got my Nook, I don’t often buy physical books–but I do enjoy having shelves on my Nook!

  6. Your shelves look great! I have bookshelves all through the house, and in each one, books are alphabetized. Sometimes, however, books will be arranged alphabetically, shelf by shelf, rather than A-Z throughout the whole unit. But the alphabetizing is the primary “theme” to my collections. I have too many bookcases to arrange them according to topical themes. The only ones kept separate from the others are the ones not yet read. They live in my office atop the coffee table and on top of a bookcase that sits next to my desk.

    I would love to have one room with enough shelves for all the books, with them all arranged alphabetically from one end of the room to the other.

    That is not likely to happen…lol.

    Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

    • Do you find that you have to keep shifting books to make room for new ones so you’re able to keep the alphabetical order intact? Or do you shelve loosely enough that it’s not an issue?
      I sometimes wish that I had the space for all of my books in one room (that would be one huge room!)–but usually I enjoy being able to see them all throughout my home.

  7. I keep all of my books mixed up and arrange them according to themes (alphabetical/content/genre/size, etc.) every now and then 🙂

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