From Kate's Writing Crate...
I read about a woman visiting a friend who was upset because her friend's books were not in alphabetical order. The woman couldn't figure out how her friend could find a specific book.
It never occurred to me that people would alphabetize their books. I did a quick survey of my family, friends, and co-workers to check on my hypothesis and no one alphabetizes. Why should they? Home libraries are not for public consumption.
My library is a reflection of how my mind works. My books are placed according to how I see them relating to other books I read.
Few people would be able to find a specific author, but, as I rarely let others browse my bookshelves, my system only has to work for me. Furthermore, I know where 99.9 percent of all my books are--unless someone borrowed one without permission which is a punishable offense.
I have multiple bookcases for fiction, non-fiction, classics, writing books, reference books, recent purchases, and books loaned to me. Within those bookcases, I organize my fiction by similarities, not authors' last names, because I read fiction by mood. I do have mysteries in one section, chick lit in another, and beloved childhood favorites and YA fiction in another. Paperbacks are on higher shelves than hardcovers---and are also piled in a small, little-used closet, and spine up in the shallow drawers of two old bureaus.
Classics/poetry are put on shelves they fit on either by height or whole shelves if I have the complete set by an author like Mark Twain.
Memoirs again are organized by topic/mood.
My Writer's Crate is filled with writing, reference, and inspiring books. Writing books are sorted by topic, then most useful or best-liked. Reference books are arranged most to least used. It's a working library for a writer and editor--not much in there for general readers.
My entire library is in constant motion. I have as many as 20 books going at the same time so they move to my desk, reading nook, or bedside. Writing books are rarely read straight through. Some books cannot hold my attention for more than a few pages at a time while others I cannot put down. Reading until 2AM is not unheard of if a book warrants it--as all book lovers know! Plus I reread favorites.
New books and books loaned to me go in one bookcase which I browse like a bookstore when nothing else interests me. When I finish a book, I return it or donate it to a public library or lend/give to a friend or place it with great thought in my library. When shelves are full, reorganization is needed--sometimes along with adding another bookcase.
I love looking at my bookcases. To me, they are every bit as beautiful as a favorite piece of art. Shiny new covers brighten up the muted shades of older and used books in these interactive installations. Who knew readers were also artists?
How do you organize your books?