Book-Talk Monday: Let’s Talk Home Libraries
As bibliophiles, I’m sure we all have different ways of organizing and keeping our beloved tomes—both on our physical shelves and on our virtual shelves. So let’s share a little bit of how we do it.
1. Describe your physical library/bookshelves. Are they randomly placed or do you have them organized in a special way? Are they confined to one area, or are they spread out over your house?
- With the exception of one bookcase in my living room and the above pictured “brag shelf” (also in the living room), all of my bookshelves are in my spare bedroom/office. Now, that doesn’t mean all of my books are in that room, but that’s where they’re supposed to live. I have them sorted into fiction and non-fiction, with further categories in those: contemporary, historical, classics, YA, science-fiction, general fiction; writing books, biographies, old school textbooks, Bibles and Bible studies, Civil War, Jane Austen/Royal Navy/Napoleonic/Regency Era; etc. Within the fiction genres, they’re organized alphabetically by author. In non-fiction, they’re organized by size—tallest to the left, smallest to the right. When they’re all shelved, that is. Which isn’t very often. Right now, I have several new books (from the last few months) in the living room. I have several more in my bedroom. And there are more than I want to think about stacked on the table and the floor in my office waiting to be organized and shelved.
- Since I do most of my reading on my Kindle these days, I’m not bringing as many hard copy books into the house as I used to—which means that those which I am getting in hard copy are “treasure” books: books by friends and/or people I admire or books given to me as gifts. I need to go through and cull my collection and give books I’m never going to read (or never going to read again) to the library. That’ll be part of my spring cleaning plan this year. But there are some books I will never get rid of.
3. How long has your oldest unread book sat on your shelves?
- Hmmm . . . at least twenty years. I know I have several Civil War books I bought when I was in college that I’ve never actually read (no, they weren’t for school, they were books I bought because I loved the era and was minoring in its history. I just never got around to them).
4. What is your most treasured book?
- Victora by Willo Davis Roberts. Even though I haven’t read it in two decades, it’s the book that drove me to start writing, so it’s one I’ll always treasure.
5. If you could pick one “lost in the stacks” book to re-read and share with other readers, which would it be?
- It would be a series, not a single book: the Tobey Heydon series by Rosamond du Jardin. I picked up the first book to read the summer I was fifteen, Practically Seventeen. It was one that had been my aunt’s (her name is written on the inside of the front cover), left behind at my grandparents’ house. It is YA chick lit written in the 1940s, so not only did it resonate with me as a teenager, but the cultural quaintness of the series is fabulous. Practically Seventeen was followed by Class Ring, Boy Trouble, The Real Thing, and finally Wedding in the Family, which is told from Tobey’s younger sister, Midge’s, viewpoint. (There was another Midge book, One of the Crowd, but I never read that one, because I wasn’t interested in Midge as a main character.)
5. What kind of e-reader do you have? What percentage of your reading do you use it for?
- I have a third-generation, 3G, keyboard Kindle. At this point, I do most of my reading (at least 99%) on it.
6. How many ebooks do you have, and how do you keep them organized?
- According to my “Manage Your Kindle” page on Amazon, I have 469 ebooks, most of which I downloaded for free (classics, special promotions), some of which are galleys (for endorsement consideration or of my own books), and some of which are library books which have long-since expired. And that number doesn’t include the few samples I have sitting on it right now.
I have genre categories set up on my Kindle to make finding things easier.
This is an old image of one of the screens on my Kindle—last year, I went through and archived everything but a few titles in each genre to hopefully help it run faster, which did help some. I also deleted all of the dozens and dozens of book samples I’d downloaded since I first got it in the spring of 2011. As I did, I looked each one up online and started a Books to Sample board on Pinterest. Which I actually like better than having the samples sitting on my device—I usually ended up going on the computer to look them up and see what they were about (and look at the cover) before deciding to read one anyway. So it’s just as easy to start off on that board and work from there.