Thursday, July 20, 2006
Which Authors Dominate Your Bookshelves?
I did reorganize my books. I mixed the fiction and poetry together, arranged alphabetically by author, then added in any essays, journals, diaries, letters, and biographies by or about the authors. I kept the children’s literature in its own section but there too I integrated other material by or about the authors. The rest of the non-fiction is still divided into various sections by subject.
The chief drawback of the reorganization is that my books seem to have multiplied in the process. When I was done, all of the bookcases were full, yet my travel and art books were homeless, sitting in stacks on the dining room floor. I either had to get rid of some books or get another bookcase. I’m sure you can guess which option I chose. I thought I’d run out of wall space, but I got out the tape measure and figured out that I could squeeze one more bookcase into my office. The deed is done now: one more bookcase, bought, built and filled. As you can see from the photo above, I seem to have transformed my office into a library.
There are two things that I particularly like about the new arrangement. First, I think I’m much more likely to delve into the poetry books now as these generally slim volumes are much easier to see when they’re interspersed with thick novels and biographies than they were all squashed together in a clump. Second, as I anticipated, it’s very satisfying to see all of the books related to individual authors lined up next to one another. Here are the authors who dominate my bookshelves (arbitrarily defined as those whom I own five or more books by or about): Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robertson Davies, Emily Dickinson, H.D., Neil Gunn, Margaret Laurence, Mary McCarthy, Alice Munro, Anais Nin, Sylvia Plath, Jean Rhys, Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Virginia Woolf. In the children’s literature section, there are even more authors that meet the criteria given the preponderance of series books in my collection: Louisa May Alcott, Lloyd Alexander, L. Frank Baum, Judy Blume, Enid Blyton, Susan Cooper, Elizabeth Enright, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Maud Hart Lovelace, Lucy Maud Montgomery, E. Nesbit, J.K. Rowling, Noel Streatfeild, P.L. Travers, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the non-fiction sections, only these heavyweights qualify: Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Karl Marx.
Which authors dominate your bookshelves?