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March 6, 2012

How I Shelve My Books

Posted by tbrmaureen

Everyone has their own method for shelving their books, be it alphabetically, by genre or perhaps something else. So how does Carol Anshaw, author of the newly released CARRY THE ONE, organize her books? Read on to find out!

I have a special bookcase for my favorite books. It has four shelves. On the top one I keep my favorite books of all time. I now have too many favorites and so these spill over onto the second shelf. The third shelf is for also-rans. The bottom is for books I’m going to read that I suspect will find a place on one of the upper shelves.

I’ve kept this bookcase for over 20 years. Some of the books on the top shelf have been demoted to make room for those I come across that I think are better. Others have hung tough from the beginning. Sometimes I re-read a book to see if it still deserves its status. I’ve been surprised a number of times by books I worshipped when I first read them, and now find pretentious or obvious. In these cases, I’m embarrassed for myself as much as for the book. Of course, when the book has stood the test of time, I feel like a genius for seeing its merit right away.

The best thing about keeping a bookcase like this is that it serves as a record of your reading life. Like old songs, old books call up past summers, vacations, relationships. (Nothing is sadder than an old favorite novel inscribed from a lost love or fallen friendship.)

Your bookcase can have fewer shelves, or more, but keeping it a certain size means your favorite books have a cut to make, hard choices. They have to fit on these shelves. This will give meaning to the term “favorite.”