I share Andrew’s pain: this week-end has been devoted to tidying up our bookshelves, which is kind of a massive and daunting job if you happen to own more than 1.300 books as we do and if you’re not inclined to day-to-day precision (as we do). It was about time to tame the mess, before we go shopping for new racks to indulge to our reading habit, as the situation was really out of control:
Things I learnt during the process:
- no matter what criteria you choose, you will never be satisfied. This time we decided to forget about sorting by author, title or genre, and we tried to make our libraries look good, sorting out by editor (and then by author): in order to find a book we have now to remember what the editor is, but it’s a minor inconvenience as my wife has an exceptional photographic memory, which helps a lot finding needles in haystacks;
- no matter the sorting criteria, you will always find your shelf too small, and you will be looking at two books in your hand that just don’t fit, considering if you should really reshuffle the damn thing all over or just burn them before someone notices;
- tidying books up is hard. We have three bookshelves in three different rooms, and I’ve been constantly walking around, jumping on stairs to reach the high-rise shelves, throwing books around and sorting them on the floor, moving shelves and reshuffling all the time;
- books catch a lot of dust. Take an overheated house, a tall bookshelf close to a few hot lamps, a ton of dust flying around, a few miles spent walking between rooms and jumping on stairs: the final result is an half-naked yours truly frantically trying to make some sense out of the tangled web of books.
From now on, it’s time to commit to keeping our shelves in good shape: I don’t want to do this again for at least a few years. And of course, from now on, we will be able to buy just books from publishers whose shelf still has some room to breathe. Or buy a new bookshelf. Or two.