Emily M. DeArdo


Seven Quick Takes No. 83

7 Quick Takes, booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments


OK, so this week, we are going to talk bout something THRILLING!

How to organize books

I know. You guys just can't wait. 

Actually, I get this question a lot. People come to my house and see the massiveness of bookdom and ask how I know where everything is. I will tell you. 

It's because I'm slightly crazy. 

(Really. The first thing I did when I got home after transplant? I re-arranged my DVDs, because they were out of order in my bedroom. ) 

I am that person. (and no, I don't color code my closet....)

But even if you don't have as many books as I do, these might be helpful to you in organizing your library. 

(And sorry the pictures are sort of smudgy...I wrote this on Thursday night, so the good light was gone.) 


First, I divide everything by broad category.

Fiction/Non fiction/ biography/autobiography/books about Jane/theater-performing arts, for example. Then I divide them into smaller categories: fiction--novels; fiction--poetry; fiction--short stories. 


Then I shelve them. 

Or we put them on the floor or windowsills. Because I've done that. Right now, actually. I do not have enough book cases for all the madness. This does not stop me, however. 


Yes, those are all my cookbooks. Because I am CRAZY. But these, for example, I keep by the kitchen. (DUH!) These are loosely organized by author, but really it's more about use. The ones I use the most are on the top bracket, not in the sofa table. 

(And yes, there's piles. I'm sorry. Keeping it real here, guys)


OK, so this is the "main" bookcase on the main floor. The pile is of my my performing arts/theater books. My scripts and librettos from shows I've done are downstairs by the keyboard with the rest of my sheet music. But here on the Shelf Proper, we have Jane on the top--books about her always come first--then autobiography/memoir, biography, current events, English Literature criticism, and some fiction creeping in at the bottom. 

Jane is nestled among the Precious Moments figurines (DON'T HATE). And yes, I've read Into Thin Air  a LOT. 

That bring us to....


I only keep books I'm going to re-read.

I know some people don't re-read books, but I do, compulsively. Right now, for example, I'm re-reading the Pink Carnation series. I've re-read Outlander more times than I can think of, and, of course, I re-read Jane. So every book I keep is either great for re-reading, or here because I will not toss them (like the Jane collection--people bring me books about Jane when they travel overseas. These are precious to me!). 

So every book you see here has been re-read, and some of them are heavily marked up. Yes, I do write in books. To me, books aren't here to be decorative. They are here to be loved! That being said, I do take exquisite care of most of my books. I do not like them torn or manhandled! But many of them have been well-loved. So well-loved, in fact, that I've had to replace them (Fiery Cross, for example.....pages falling out....) . And yes, I do fall asleep with them around me sometimes. I try not to hurt them. :-P 


Some books I have multiple copies of. This isn't just because I'm nuts. 

Behold--the Shelf of Jane (mostly). 

You see the Oxford's first, because that's my "scholarly" set. That's what I used for my academic work. The Annotated collection (Persuasion is being read, so that's why there's a space after Emma) I've been collecting, because they are darned useful for things like "What were the currency denominations in Regency England?" and exactly what a Barouche Box looks like. (And I have to capitalize that, because Lady Catherine Speaks of Hers in Capitals!)

The Ignatius ones (black spines) have a Catholic perspective on Jane in the end notes and essays, and the Marvel versions are just awesome. I mean, come on! So they all serve unique purposes for my Jane Girl Fandom. And yes, those are post-it notes you see in some of them! 


So, yes, that's a quick tour of my library, leaving out the book room on the second floor, which is two more bookcases and more piles.  (That's almost all fiction, and theology. And YA.) But generally, I arrange by category, then author, then publishing date (or, in the case of unpublished works during th author's life, when it was written chronologically.)

You do not have to do this! As long as you have some system that allows you to find what you want easily, you're set. But this is how I do it, probably because my college boyfriend worked at his town library in his summers before school, and thus introduced me to this system of author then pub date. Before, I had just done author. 


Do you have a book system? Or do you just think I'm crazy?

(Good crazy, right? :) )