New Books: How Should I Sort Them?

I have some serious sorting to do.

So I own some books. Well, ok: “some” is being a bit conservative. I own a lot of books. Most of them are fiction, with some nonfiction that’s mostly sociological. I added to my collection a bit the other day, picking up The Great Gatsby, Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (author of Life of Pi, which is currently among the top 5 books I own), a nice hardcover edition of Ender’s Game, a big, beautiful, hardcover, illustrated edition of The Divine Comedy (mostly for display purposes), and another big, beautiful, hardcover, $5 Brönte sisters collection. (Something interesting that I only realized the next day is that Beatrice and Virgil are Dante’s two guides during The Divine Comedy, so it’s a neat little coincidence that I bought those two books together without being aware of the connection.)

In order to sort and display my books, I have three shelves, one large, one medium, and one small. They can be seen below.

Until yesterday, I was using the small shelf for my movies and video games, and they all fit pretty neatly. But I realized that I had some built-in shelf space that was being wasted by some old phone books, shoes, and odds and ends. So I cleared that stuff out and found better places for it, then moved my games and movies over. I also moved some stuff out of the bottom compartments of my large shelf and put it in the closet.

These moves left me with quite a bit more shelf space for my books, and that’s where my dilemma comes from.

Previously, I had my books organized into two groups: speculative fiction (fantasy and sci-fi) went on the medium shelf, while everything else went on the large shelf. But now I have three shelves instead of two! So which books do I put on the small, prominent shelf? I think I’m pretty much set on putting the spec fic in the medium shelf, because it fits well there, and the large shelf will end up holding whatever’s left over after I sort things into the small and medium shelf, so it all depends on what goes in the small shelf.

A couple options I’ve thought of are to make the small shelf hold my Nonfiction, a couple of series or collections (Tom Clancy, JRR Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, Terry Pratchett, etc.), my Top 50, or just a handful of my “prettiest” books, like the old leather-bound “Children’s Classic” series you can see in the above photo.

Help me, please! Also, I have more room now, so send more books!

5 thoughts on “New Books: How Should I Sort Them?”

  1. I have non-fiction together on a shelf, a textbook shelf, and then fiction is divided (like yourself) into 'speculative' – sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction – 'modern/popular' fiction (Clancy, Ludlum) and 'classic' fiction (from Dickens to Hemingway). Authors I have a lot of (Vonnegut, Coupland, Lewis) get their own little section. Also non-fic I have divided into outdoors resources, history, and other.

  2. I don't know if I should get that specific in my sorting. I could do Nonfiction, Classics, Modern, Speculative, I suppose… I feel like that might make it harder to find certain things, though, if I'm not sure whether I called it a Classic or not, etc. But I guess that's part of the fun. And it's not like I have 1,000 books or anything.

    1. @TimSevenhuysen Ahh. Well, I myself would likely go with the "prettiest books" idea. Have the old leather bound tomes out there on display.

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