Because of my husband’s illness, I’ve been having time off work to care for him.
Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a holiday. I’m not lazing around the house and spending all my time reading – not that that’s what I get to do on holidays anyway (seriously, number of book read when I took 3 weeks off to get married = zero). If I wasn’t caring for my sick husband, I’d probably be on stress leave myself. There’s some fucked up shit going on in my personal life at the moment and my body’s response is to sleep it all off and tag team that with stress headaches.
Note – I barely ever get headaches, so when I get a headache, I can’t cope.
The one thing that is keeping me sane are my books – well that, and my faithful Pokemon, and my snuggly furbabies. My reading couch is nestled right beside our bookshelves, and ever since we moved in I’ve planned on reorganising the shelves because we just threw the books on randomly, thinking we’d only be here temporarily.
It’s looking to be more long-term now, so I sucked it up and reorganised my bookshelves. It was an activity at once soothing and stressful – but in a good way. Books make me happy! Organising things makes me feel accomplished! I had shelves overflowing with to-read books and too many books still on my shelves I knew I wasn’t going to read anytimes soon and that could afford to be packed away in a big industrial crate and live in our spare room.
The Messy Shelves
On the top shelf at the back are my husband’s and my own combined hardcover collectables, but he recently pulled some out, hence the gaps. In front is my adult collection – as you can see it’s very small, because I prefer to read YA.
The shelf below is absolutely chockers full of YA books that I’ve fit in anyway I can, order be damned.
The shelf below that has my most recent acquisitions, my ARCs, and a favourite series. This shelf was already cleared of books I’ve already read, which were put away in an industrial moving crate.
What I didn’t take a picture of was the other shelf on a different bookshelf full of sequels I’ve not yet read, or the space next to the front door on the other side of the room where my to-read ARCs seem to accumulate themselves.
Originally I wanted to make my bookshelf more like a library’s and arrange my to-read books by genre, that way I could easily pluck one off whenever I felt like reading a fantasy or a contemporary or whatever.
My problem was with the YA crossovers. Where do I put historical paranormal YA fiction like Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate? In the historical section or the paranormal section? Dystopians belong with sci-fi, but what about when they’re fantasy like Maria V Snyder’s Poison Study? Does magical realism fall under contemporary or fantasy?
And then I realised my biggest problem: I wasn’t sure which specific genre most of my to-read books are. I just love the blurbs, and I don’t want to have to dedicate way too much time to digging into whether this sci-fi should be placed under romance or not.
Anyway, who defines what’s a romance? I recently read a book other people were screaming ‘love triangle’ about and I didn’t see one in the pages at all. It’s all subjective.
In the end, after staring at my unordered books for about half a day and fighting off a headache, I decided to organise them all alphabetically by author.
The End Result
The top shelf is the sequels pile next to my read ARCs collection (those I’ve kept, I mean). The second, third, fourth, and half of the fifth shelves are now organised alphabetically, except I’m going to have to find another place for my old school fantasy novels on the bottom right because I just got in a new shipment of books in and need to make the space!
Please note – this isn’t the only bookshelf in the house, it’s just that this one is now ALL MINE. My husband has to use a different bookshelf that’s holding my adult books as well. He doesn’t mind – he’s very encouraging. He even offered to pack some of his books away to make room for mine but I didn’t think that was fair.
I love looking at my bookshelf.
It calms and soothes me, and my answer to retail therapy is always to buy another books.
There’s a quote I love that speaks very closely to how I feel looking at all of my unread books:
“A good book resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.”
– David Quammen
Also, I just realised something – ALL of these books have been acquired/purchased since I started blogging nearly three years ago!