On Your Shelf?

October 12, 2009 at 12:00 am 2 comments

IMG_2877 As you may have noticed, in the upper right-hand corner of Literary Transgressions, we have a little section called “On the Shelf” where we tell you what we have our our shelves and thus what we expect to be posting about in the near future.

I recently reorganized my actual, non-digital shelf (too many piles of books!) and, after said reorganization, it got me wondering what you have on your shelf and how you organize it. There are as many ways to organize one’s book collection as there are different people in the world and I find it fascinating how we each choose to do so. Some of my favorite stories of book classification are the ones about people who found the current systems (LOC or Dewey) utterly lacking and came up with something they thought was better. Most of them are forgotten in the face of LOC and Mr. Dewey, but I think their attempt to make more sense of their books, and their world, through new classifications is admirable.

So how do you classify your books and what do you currently have on your shelf? My own ideal classification system involves separating books first into fiction and nonfiction and then dividing the nonfiction part into chunks of topics depending on where patterns form (in my collection this involves a lot of different mythology sections) and then just throwing all the rest together.

As you can see above, my abridged little shelf next to my desk holds all the things I want to read right away or have recently dug into. Comment below with what is on your shelf!


Entry filed under: Musings and Essays. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. KT  |  October 13, 2009 at 11:58 am

    How did I miss seeing this entry? I LOVE figuring out book classification systems, though mine inevitably break down near the end of the process, when I have a bunch of miscellaneous books that don’t fit into any category.

    Let’s see…starting with my lefthand bookshelf at the top, I have first my collection of children’s books. Following that, I have fairy tales, then books about children’s books and fairy tales/mythology (such as Edith Hamilton, Bruno Bettleheim, Joseph Campbell, and my thesis books). The next shelf has my Old-World classics, such as Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontes, and basically any “classic” that wasn’t written by an American. Then I have food and travel writing, followed by a mish-mash of non-fiction and reference.

    Moving over to the righthand bookshelf, I have my American classics like Kerouac, Hemingway, Salinger, Fitzgerald, etc. The rest of the shelf is generic fiction, with some books like Rebecca and Steinbeck’s King Arthur that I’m not sure don’t belong in the classics section. Fiction is followed by sci-fi/fantasy, followed by memoirs/non-fiction that felt more literary than reference-based.

    Library books go in two piles on the floor: have read/need to blog, and need to read. Currently I also have a just-bought book pile awaiting classification. I also have a pile on top of my righthand bookshelf of my antique book finds (but only fiction).

    It’s not perfect, but at least I can find everything!

    • 2. Corey  |  October 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm

      Best comment ever! Your system sounds amazing! What are the chances of you putting up a picture of your shelves somewhere? I’d love to see them!

      It’s so interesting that you differentiate between your American and Old World classics!

      I seriously need to rearrange my books somehow since they are frozen in this pre-college state of organization. Not all my books have been in one place since then, sad to say!


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