If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Shhh! Confessions from a Hopelessly Unorganized Home Library

by Julie Tollefson

I have a confession to make, and it’s embarrassing: Even though I have a master’s degree in library science, the bookshelves in my home lack even the most basic level of organization.

Seriously.

Adult titles and children’s picture books commingle on the same shelf. A biography of Theodore Roosevelt sits next to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Diary of Anne Frank shares space with a manga version of Hamlet. High school yearbooks, gardening guides, short story collections, classics. Several dictionaries and a thesaurus. They’re all there, scattered across the lovely custom bookcases that were my only true demand when we built our house.

When we moved in five years ago, the books went onto the shelves without a lot of thought. We’ll organize them later, we said. Well, it’s later, and we still haven’t found that spare weekend to impose order on the unruly shelves.

Usually this doesn’t bother me one bit, because I can almost always find the book I want with minimum searching. I picture it on the shelf—purple spine with white lettering, let’s say, about two-thirds of the way in on the shelf behind my favorite chair—and I walk right to it.

Except when I don’t.

This week, as I sat down to write this post, I had a different topic in mind. I wanted to refer to one of my writing reference books, so I went to the shelf where I know it should be (between a couple of young adult titles and one of two copies we own of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road—which for some reason are not shelved together). But it wasn’t there.

I scoured the shelf. No luck. So I checked the other most likely places—beside the bed and beside the bathtub. No luck. My system, such as it is, failed me.

So I’ll save my original topic for another day, once I find the book I’m searching for. In the meantime, how do you organize your bookshelves? What do you do when your organizational system fails you?

13 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I maintain an Excel file that contains the title, author, and general location of (almost) every book in our collection. Location is critical because we have books in both our summer and winter homes (and if I need one, it’s usually in the place I am not).

The nonfiction is loosely organized into several categories: reference, history (in loose date order), biography (alphabetical), writing books, bridge books, business books, unread books.

Fiction is either very organized or a mess. Signed copies are (mostly) together in one spot, sorted alphabetically by title within author. After that it gets a bit looser. One bookcase contains mostly hardcover or leather books, and that one is sorted in author order.

The rest? Hither, thither, and yon. Many of our quick, light reads now reside in the cabin at our summer place, where vacationing guests might pick one up on a whim. “Literature,” poetry, classics, are stored in various bookcases at either the summer or winter houses, depending more on when they were read than any other plan.

Oh yes, and then there are the old, old books. I keep those in the glass-fronted secretary in our winter bedroom. And those include signed books. All of this explains why it is important that my excel file contain the book’s room location to give me a chance at finding it (or not wasting my time if it and I are in different locations).

I must not forget my fiction TBR pile. It is stored in a drum table (summer) or credenza (winter)—except when there are too many, in which case there are stacks on a horizontal surface or two.

Margaret Turkevich said...

We moved to Cincinnati in 2008 and other than unpacking and shelving our books, with few exceptions (gardening and cookbooks), we haven't organized them, just added our kids' college books to the mess.

Spreadsheets, indeed.

Shari Randall said...

Aside from a few absolute favorites and signed copies, I've decided to get most of my books from the library (easy when working in a library). However, I have a LOT of favorites and signed copies! No discernible organization. I just like to see them on the shelf. The major division is between books I've read and books I am going to read!

Warren Bull said...

When we moved to Portland we unpacked and put things in an orderly way, more or less. I'm waiting to see how long it lasts.

Kait said...

Oh Julie! A house with bookshelves. Real bookshelves, gorgeous bookshelves. I need to get over that first, then maybe I can comment!

Julie Tollefson said...

Jim - You've got quite a lot to juggle with your books divided between two homes! I would find it so frustrating if the book I needed was in the house I wasn't. I probably would end up buying duplicates - we already have duplicates of some books in this house, unintentionally.

Margaret - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who just keeps adding to the collection. Some day maybe I'll get these organized. Some day.

Julie Tollefson said...

Shari - I know what you mean about favorites and signed copies. In the photo with the chair, the bookcase next to the lamp holds most of my collection of books by my Border Crimes Sisters in Crime friends - Linda Rodriguez, Nancy Pickard, Sally Goldenbaum, Warren Bull... I like seeing all my friends together!

Julie Tollefson said...

Warren - Ha! Good luck keeping order!

Kait - I love my home library! When we designed the house, I don't think the architect and builders had any idea how important that little room was to me.

KM Rockwood said...

Most of our books are on built-in shelves on one long wall of the family room. Except for the ones in the living room. And on the nightstands in the bedroom. And the shelves in the bedroom we use for a computer room. Or the desktop. Or the dining room table. Or the kitchen table. Or the stand in the entry.

My husband knows where most of them are. I don't make it down the awkward stairs to the family room much, so if I want something down there, he fetches it for me, usually within a minute or two.

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm with you, KM. In addition to my library, we have built-in shelves in my son's room, stand-alone shelves in the family room in the basement, and piles and piles of books everywhere else -- both sides of the bed, around the bathtub, next to the couch in the living room. Wherever you are in my house, you're never more than a few feet away from a book or a dozen.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Spreadsheets indeed! In our house we have bookshelves on every wall and on most doors. In every room. When repairmen come in, the first thing they say is, "Look at all those books! Have you read all those? Surely not! What do you want all those books for?" No organization. We just keep buying and reading books.

Karen and Bill said...

We have a bookcase in every room except for "my" room that has 7 and the living room that has 2. Floor to ceiling. And we are preparing for a move to a new state. Organization? Well, writing books are in 2 bookcases. Bridge, investment, poetry, spiritual, all have their places. And we're finding duplicates as we go through the shelves trying to decide which we'll leave and which we'll pay to move.

A spreadsheet would be wonderful. I tried making one for our wine once but that failed.

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm also afraid a spreadsheet wouldn't work for me. I have a tendency to set things like that up and then forget I've done it!

Good luck with the move, Karen and Bill! We moved 5 years ago, and I hope we never move again.