Friday, 5 June 2009

Book arrangement

Well, here is the promised post about book arrangement; it's been germinating in my mind for a few weeks now. After looking at my to-be-read-bookcase the other day, I started thinking about how I arrange my books. Because even though I have a rapidly expanding bookcase of books which I've not yet read, a number of unread books have made it into the main collection (this is mainly because I want to keep all of my Daphnes together, and there are a few books which I have which are very low priority reads, or just got shelved before I had a tbrbc).
The majority of my books are fiction, and I have them arranged in one long run, alphabetically by author. There's a few exceptions where an oversized copy doesn't fit on the smaller top shelves, and obviously the majority of the books which I haven't read. My collection of Chalet School books is another exception as I have a very tiny bookcase by my bed which is the perfect size for these smaller books, and just big enough to take the collection of around 80 little books (EBD only wrote 58 but I have some duplicates in different editions).
The problem with this is that it isn't hugely aesthetically appealing. My Dad has always arranged his books by size (and he has even more books than me, so I'm not quite sure how he finds anything). The majority of my Persephone books are currently on the tbrbc, and I'm going to be sad to split them up and interfile them with my collection when they've been read, because I think they look so good together. It's the same with Virago books; I'd love to have my new Daphne Du Mauriers sitting next to the new Rosamund Lehmanns, and have a section devoted to the old green editions. Unfortunately the librarian in me wins out and demands that they are shelved rationally.
Non fiction is a bit more complicated. I haven't (breathe a sigh of relief) got as far as to classify my books according to Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress or even my own classification scheme. However, I have grouped them loosely by subject. Most of my nicest hardback books are non fiction and I keep them on the one nice bookcase in my flat (see below), and they are sort of arranged by size within subject. I've got a shelf of biography (although this is arranged according to subject's surname), and a shelf of history. And a shelf of nice hardback books (less logical I admit...) And I keep my recipe books together, and my health books, and my guide books in one place. It's not hugely satisfactory and it offends my inner librarian but I haven't come up with doing it in a better way that doesn't make the sitting room look completely like a library.
I do think that my books make my flat aesthetically appealing, much better than wallpaper.

In other news...
* I'm trying to get a hire car so I'm not completely stuck at home tomorrow - can you imagine how much cake my boyfriend would come home too? All of my friends and family seem to be otherwise occupied so it might be a bit of a dull day :(
* A lovely book arrived in the post this morning - Vera Brittain's Honourable Estate. It's quite a big volume, but I'm looking forward to it. I've read her Testament of Youth and Testament of Friendship and find her a fascinating character, but I hadn't realised that, like her friend Winifred Holtby, she'd written some fiction too.
* I read Girls in married bliss last night, finishing the Country Girls trilogy, but I was disappointed. The story wasn't nearly so gripping as the previous volume, and somehow it didn't seem so well written. I don't know if I was disappointed because I read it so soon after The girl with green eyes or whether it was just a disappointing book...

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