Life Geek: Bookshelfies Edition
Do you know exactly where all your books are located? When you go over to someone’s house for the first time, do you zero in on their book collection in order to determine if you are kindred spirits? Is loaning a book to someone a silent act of genuine trust for you? If you answered yes to all three of these questions, then you will certainly enjoy this month’s Life Geek! Bookshelfies Edition. Take a look through our proudly displayed books, and then tell us, without any shame, how particular you are about your own books.
This is one of three of my bookshelves, but I also have a variety of spots throughout my home for books as decor. I organize by category because it’s easiest for me to find what I am looking for that way. I have categories like critical cultural theory, feminist theory, classics, southern fiction (yes, seriously, it gets that specific), YA, comics, and so on. I generally then organize them by visual appearance on the shelf, horizontally and vertically, because it allows for more space. My biggest concern buying a house with my partner–how are we going to combine our massive book collections? We also have many of the same philosophy and theory books so we will have duplicates, but because we both write extensively in our books and refuse to get rid of them, I suppose we will just have duplicates. I do however get rid of books that just don’t do anything for me. I know some people won’t get rid of any of their books, but I figure if it’s not something I would reread or use for reference, I can take it to the used bookstore for trade-in! More books, yay!
My boyfriend and I have a combined collection that spans seven bookshelves. Two are designated “general fiction,” one is for nonfiction and organized roughly according to the Dewey decimal system, and one is for autographed/really nice show-off books. We also have a single shelf each for plays, poetry, and anthologies, as well as a shelf dedicated to school books/canonical “classics,” which desperately needs reevaluation. All our shelves are alphabetized by author then organized by year of publication.
We ran out of room in our spare bedroom so we keep our graphic novel shelf, arranged by publisher and title, in our bedroom beside our comic boxes.
This is most of our books, before they were put on shelves.
My dream home will have a two story library with rolling ladders and shelves built into the walls, but for now, I have my IKEA bookshelf. I have books everywhere around the house, but my favourite reads are on display by the front door beneath my apocalypse ready katana and wakazashi. I collect comic trades specifically so that I can keep them on my precious shelf, along with my CLAMP manga, and my Maxim, National Geographic, and Talk magazine collections. My books are guarded by Angela, Harley Quinn, Iori, Nicholas D. Wolfwood–and most recently, I’ve been infected with the Funko virus which causes me to uncontrollably buy all the adorable figures from their Pop! collection. I let my husband have a corner for his military, history, and aviation books, but the rest is mine, mine, mine.
When my wife and I first moved to Seattle, our first purchase (maybe even before we got a bed) was one of those big IKEA bookshelves. Over the years, we have slowly shipped boxes and boxes of books from the Midwest; between that and trips to Powell’s Books in Portland (oh, and the decades of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine my mother-in-law gifted us with), we now have four bookshelves stuffed full. Our main bookshelf, the IKEA monstrosity, doubles as a room divider, so there are books facing out on both sides. The “library” side has manga, comics, art theory, art history, classics, sheet music, and our most beloved fantasy and science fiction books. They’re organized roughly by category and subject both horizontally and vertically. So, for instance: classic manga is left of Yoshitaka Amano and Neil Gaiman, which is above art theory and left of Asian and European art history. Art theory abuts the cat’s “window” and is above manga and anime textbooks to the right of which are Ursula K. LeGuin, Tolkien, and Lloyd Alexander. On the “studio” side of the bookshelf are travel and language books as well as my wife’s art reference books. Of the other bookshelves, one holds “guilty junk food fantasy” books, another holds comics and manga, and the third is taken up with the F&SF Magazine collection and the guiltiest junk food fantasy. Basically, guests are lost if they try to find anything, but hey: we know where the books are!
Our books are split into several shelves throughout the house. There’s my daughter’s bookshelf full of books that were given to her as presents plus my books from when I was a kid. We organize this according to book format: board book, Golden Book, paperback picture book, hardcover picture book, and easy readers. She also has a pile of books on top of her dresser. These are rare, highly sentimental, and/or valuable titles that we read, but they’re placed up high to make sure they survive until she’s older. The shared shelf is in our living room, and we stock it with conversation pieces and books our friends tend to borrow. My personal collection is in my office. It’s divided into four shelving categories: Read/Loved, Future Reading Material, Reference, and Read/Don’t Want To Even See the Spine Again.
My dad is a hobbyist carpenter, and when my sweetie and I moved in together the year before last, he built us a gorgeous, gorgeous bookcase (right). Of course it was immediately full, and half the books on it are inaccessible at any given moment on account of fascinating trinkets shelved in front of them. I love books, but I also love interesting things, so we’ve had to become creative with where to keep things. Having filled that space–and of course, floppy single issues don’t take too well to traditional shelf storage, we use vintage suitcases too beat-up to sell but still sturdy enough to showcase annuals and A4 UK-size 1980s weeklies. I bring home practically every magazine rack I see, too, which suits both comics and my finely-honed, 1960s Satanism-fuelled, sense of aesthetics.
I have two of these big, beautiful, black bookshelves that my father bought for me when we moved from New Jersey and started our new dull, tax-less life in Delaware. When we moved I had about six boxes full of books, manga, comics, and movies. When I moved out as an adult (ha!), I had about twelve–after going through everything and condensing my collection. Those DC animated movies always get me. I only took a picture of one of my shelves, as my other one is currently under reconstruction due to the new movies I got for Christmas. The way I like my shelves organized is by genre one month, then how often I read a series another month, and then by how much I enjoy a series another month. This has driven my family and friends mad with their typical by the alphabet preferred means of organization. But that’s so boring. So I still have some of my old middle school and high school collected manga (there’s actually more on my second shelf including the ever wonderful series Fruits Basket), a shelf of novels, and the bottom is all my comics. I also decorate with various Funko Dolls, plushies, and some handmade plaster art that a friend made me back in high school. My Funko Dolls are Captain America, Robin (Tim Drake edition), and Jason Voorhees (who’s adorable!), and finally a newly gifted Wonder Woman bobble head. Do I also have two Pikachu plushes? Why yes, yes I do. Also, a Gororo plush (if you haven’t watched Sgt. Frog do it now), and a Kyo plush because Fruits Basket is one of the best manga series ever.
I have one bookshelf for my books and it’s in my room. I got it from IKEA. It was a joyous occasion to pick it out, and as you can see, I need another one STAT! I tried putting my books into some kind of order–topics (superhero fic, dystopian, etc.), age (YA, adult) and alphabetical–but all failed. Best I can do is keep my books by the same author/part of the same series together. I also have a makeshift comics corner on my armoire with some books that haven’t made it to my bookshelf. This is me guys. A mess ball of stories.
I, um. I have more bookshelves, but I thought I shouldn’t reveal all my crazy at once. Shelfie 1 is the one in my office. Shelves 1, 2, and half of 3 are folklore and fairy tales. The rest is art, knitting, and my computer books. Shelfie 2 is part of our collection of graphic novels and game books. That black square is a cube filled with loose comics. There’s another two columns full of board games out of frame. Shelfie 3 is the rest of our graphic novels and art books.
My books all reside in these five shelves, along with my DVD and magazine collections. From the left to the right, shelf 1: Yearbooks and my Amy Pond figurine reigning over all on the first ledge, short story anthologies on the second, and then YA starting on the third. Shelf 2: All YA books. Shelf 3: Mother’s books on religion; manga and Arashi photobooks; lit theory texts; Angela Carter, Dorothy Parker, and Shakespeare; Harry Potter nook. Shelf 4: More YA, and general fiction starting on the bottom ledge. Shelf 5: Various toys/stuffed animals; more general fiction; film DVDs; magazines; TV DVDs; speculative fiction titles. I’m not gonna lie, I am not looking forward to yet another rearrangement of these shelves now that I’ve got 20-something more books to add.
The suspicious dragon humidifier keeps a watchful eye over my books which are organized haphazardly by books with pictures, fiction with no pictures, then nonfiction, pictures optional. Prized possessions include: all of the Octonauts books, a Lord Byron collection dating to the 1860s, and a Killer Croc figurine signed by Paul Dini. The autograph says, “It was a big rock,” and Mr. Dini had no idea what that meant when he signed it. Not pictured: one of the shelves has a box that’s completely filled with Magic: the Gathering trash commons. Unfortunately, this photo is a lie: those Absolute Editions on the top shelf are only ever upright when I have important guests over. Why? See below: