Blitzing the Bookshelves

BeforeWith my current books to bookshelves ratio, i had simply assumed organisation an impossibility for my books. The most organised i got was sections for read, sections for general to-read and one small bookshelf for my next planned 20 reads. The bulk of what you see there in my first photo is my general to-read section. It’s a mess. Or, it was…

I got it into my head recently to sort out my bookshelves. Even if i couldn’t organise them 100% to my liking, i thought there surely had to be a better way than haphazardly piled and precariously balanced. This idea didn’t have to sit with me long before i was pouncing on my books and pulling them from the shelves.

BooksAnd so, last Saturday afternoon i soon found myself amongst a sofa piled with books. I didn’t think too much about how i wanted to try to organise things–that way lay madness. I just went for it. I decided to stop segregating the books i’d read away from the many books i had to read. I can remember what i have and haven’t read (and if i can’t, well, goodreads was invented for a reason, right?). So i piled up the books according to author, with several larger piles of authors i only have one book by. There was so many, i couldn’t fit them all on the sofa (or on the floor near the sofa, and still leave myself enough room to manoeuvre), so a few piles had to remain on the selves for me to work around.During

After01The next step–the best step, as far as i’m concerned–was putting them all back again! I couldn’t resist some read/to-read divide, apparently, but when i have so many single books with no other by that author to pair them with, they are naturally drawn to each other (in my neat and tidy liking head). So, the top shelf ended up being largely (though not entirely) books i’ve read. The rest, i think, went by something resembling favouritism. With John Wyndham and William Golding taking pride of place as the front row on the second shelf. (I can’t even remember what’s behind them now. This might not end well…) Because yes, my books to bookshelves ratio is still too skewed to allow for a single row of books per shelf. It is a burden i will bear until i finally get my library.





I did also make better use of a small bookcase that had held the 50 books i read in 2012, until half of them were gradually removed and scattered around the house for some reasons i don’t even know. Now it holds (one row per shelf of!) authors i own more than just a few books by. It occurs to me now i may have put these in reverse order favouritism, but whatever, Hiaasen’s books are brightly coloured and jolly and nice to look at.


The many and wonderful Brookmyre books got housed atop my partner’s bookshelf, as they are, technically, his. (We may share our lives together, but mingling our book collections is a commitment neither of us may ever be willing to make.) (That’s a lie, i mingled some, in my commitment to keep authors together.) The lack of the rest of this shelving unit is because my partner’s bookshelf is still a mess, and i don’t want that contaminating this beautiful post.


For completeness’ sake, i also include a photo of my diddy shelf which contains the next 20 books i plan to read. Which for some reason are in order from right to left.

To Read

And finally, the books i have decided to say goodbye to. Whether loved or hated, these are simply books i know i will never read again. Now it’s time for someone else to enjoy them. And this may be the largest number of books i have got rid of in one go–i usually hate parting with books.


And that was my recent book blitzing adventure. I feel enormously satisfied. For days afterwards i kept wandering into the living room, simply to admire my shelves. My biggest worry now is what will happen the next time i visit a bookshop and come home with half a dozen new books…


About Wendleberry
I'm odd.

14 Responses to Blitzing the Bookshelves

  1. Rachael at The End of the Chapter says:

    You and I share a kinship…a kinship of messy book shelves! Haha! When I first saw this post, I thought, “Wait…how did my shelves get on here?” Mine look a lot like that too. I have organized them in the past, but every time I get more books, the shelves steadily grow messy again. Also, I don’t know if you do these or not, but I nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Go here for more info:

    • Wendleberry says:

      Yes. The sure and steady messing of the shelves is what i fear, currently. I want to get rid of my walls and just install bookshelves instead…
      Thank you for the nomination 🙂

      • Rachael at The End of the Chapter says:

        You’re Welcome! Also, I think part of my shelving problem is not having enough shelves. About a month ago, I got a new bookshelf, and it’s already full beyond capacity haha!

  2. mshannahw says:

    I hardly own any books, which is probably surprising for an avid reader… But we don’t have much (toddler-safe) space & I enjoy having to be brutal about what I can keep and what gets passed on (though it isn’t too much of an issue as 90% of my books come from the library).

    • Wendleberry says:

      I have an issue with book-ownership, i am aware. I used to be the same with DVDs and CDs, but i got over it… hopefully one day i will be i library book kind of person!

      • mshannahw says:

        I don’t think it’s an issue! 🙂 If we had space, spare £ to buy books & no little people I would have loads of books (& did before I had my son and quit working and moved house!). We still have a lot of DVDs that we hardly watch, though I did get rid of the CDs a long while ago when I needed £ & they were still worth something.

  3. Rachel says:

    I loved this post because someday soon, very soon, maybe not that soon… I HOPE to go through all of my books and gut out the unloved ones and rearrange them all nicely because my bookish OCD can’t handle them being all over the place anymore. Spotted Cloud Atlas in your upcoming 20 – I have that floating around somewhere (in flipback edition – I didn’t know when I bought it) and plan to read it at some point. Probably by the time I’m 30 considering my to read pile is humongous.

    • Wendleberry says:

      A good book organisation is very satisfying, i do recommend.
      I find my to-read list very intimidating, which is why i have my shelf of the next 20 i plan to read. It seems more manageable, even if it is subject to change. I was ambivalent on Cloud Atlas, because it was so damn popular, but then i found out it was dystopian and everything changed!

      • Rachel says:

        Not a fan of dystopian?? I don’t think I’d really class it that way. There’s too much going on for it to be called dystopian. From what I’ve been told it jumps time-periods quite a lot…
        R x

  4. ablightedone says:

    I’m so eager to move and organize my books! I have a really small bookcase, though. I definitely need to look into finding better shelves. But organizing books is so much fun! I need to cull some too! I’m glad you had a satisfying and successful blitz!

  5. Pingback: 2014 End of Year Book Survey | Marvel At Words

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