Why It Took So Long to Organize My Bookshelves

After months of allowing my book collection to languish in my parents’ house, I finally managed to cart 600+ volumes into my future library. Seized by a fit of industry, I devoted the entire night to setting up my beloved books.

Why did it take so long? Let me walk you through the process.

The dilemma is that there are multiple and contradictory ways to arrange books. Should I organize them by author? Genre? Publication date? Even within these categories it’s not that simple.

At the same time, I try to place my books as to highlight the ones that correspond with the image that I want to project.

Meanwhile, the books that I’m embarrassed to own (most of which were gifts to my middle- and high school self) are relegated to what I dub the “Shelf of Shame.”

Basically, the more I love a book, the closer to eye level it goes.

It gets even more complicated, however. What do I do when I adore David Eddings’ Belgariad but hate his The Redemption of Althalus? Does it matter that Belgariad is a set of well-worn paperbacks and Althalus is a gorgeous British-edition hardcover? My affection is complicated.

Difficult decisions having been made, I have nothing left to do... except totally rethink where I wanted to place the shelves in the first place.

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