I love having books stacked up on the floor of my library. John doesn’t. What I didn’t realize when we decided to have some additional shelving built in the basement was that he was going to then consider floor stacks to be a thing of the past. Oh well. I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, with my new shelves, I have some open space.
The bottom part of this unit was in the house when we moved in. Half of it is devoted to a radiator and the other half has some of my urban planning books, a small portion of John’s gardening books, guide books, CDs and some other odds and ends. The top part of the unit is brand spanking new.
The geometry and layout of the basement is funky enough that the three over two of the new configuration isn’t as jarring as it could be.
Surely this could get taller without falling over? Little hard to look at any of them though.
More orphaned books from the library that needed a place to go. The majority of the books that were to go on the shelves are non-fiction. Author memoirs and bios and books on books, books on royalty and the UK, etc.
So I got this far in the process of loading the shelves when I realized I didn’t like how things were going. The problem is that most of these non-fiction and short story collections are things that I am unlikely to read from cover-to-cover. They are the types of books I want to dip into now and again. It seemed to me that if they were down in the basement, that kind of serendipitous browsing was highly unlikely.
So this is what I did: I moved the fiction that I have already read down to the basement. After many years of culling I am down to books that I truly believe I will read again, but I don’t need to see them on a regular basis. Even this, however, presented a problem. The new shelves didn’t have enough space to hold everything. My OCD brain needed criteria for leaving some of that already read fiction upstairs. So I decided to leave those books by authors whose work I have a lot of. So all my 24 Brookners and my Shutes and Sartons and a few others stayed up in the library.
This is what it looked like when I got the non-fiction, my reference library, up to the library. It was at this point that John needed some smelling salts.
Things got worse before they got better. Most of what you see towards the right is my chronological TBR shelves. the emptyish area on the left contains my author and publisher fiction that I have read that didn’t make the trip down to the basement.
Organizing my non-fiction was not the easiest thing to do. There was enough crossover between categories that all attempts to have an iron-clad classification system were pretty frustrating. I wanted all my volumes of letters in one place, but then I had the urge to have letters of one author next to their memoir or bio or some other author-related volumes. And then the volume of Gustav Mahler’s letters. I wanted to put them with my books on music. Did books on the Bloomsbury Set go with my books on books or with my books on England? In the end I did a very rough job of organizing them. No doubt another rainy Saturday will take care of that.
And here is the final mishmash. Books I have read that didn’t go downstairs take up the top five shelves on the left-most bay. The top four shelves of the four right-most shelves contain my TBR in chronological order. Row five has a bit of that as well as my short story collections. The rest is all of my higgedly piggledy non-fiction that I am happy to have back in the library. You never know when I will want to look at my 1950 Street Atlas of London. Or maybe I need to peek into one of the two bios I have of Fanny Trollope. Nice to have it all close at hand. For shelf voyeurs, this photo enlarges pretty nicely if you click on it. And just look at all of that empty space.