I have new built-in bookshelves! And they are now painted (ultimately there will be crown molding across the top, matching the rest of the room, and cupboard doors at the bottom, as soon as funds allow) and although there is still painting to be done elsewhere in the room, I am ready to start shelving. You can see that I am not making good progress.

Here is what is happening to me:

-- all the books that will be shelved here are ones I keep for re-reading, so the moment they are in my hands I want to read them, and when I pick them up I get a rush of remembering and am overwhelmed, but I don't want to rush past this because I want to make time for friends, family, places, feelings....

--I shelve emotionally, not logically.  I feel it's almost an alchemical process, in which I consider which books will react well to each other, but I enjoy this sort of careful thought so again am not rushing it (I am not sure, for instance, that the Clare Dunkle books are happy with the company they are keeping....Kill Fish Jones, by Caro King, goes well with them, but the Diane Stanleys and Holly Webbs have a different feel...).  And who would Kelly Barnhill's books like to be shelved with?

--there are incomplete series, so should I a. leave space b. quickly spend a few hundred (thousand?) dollars on the missing books, or c. resign myself to repeatedly reorganizing?

--Ursula Le Guin has shared my bedroom for almost 40 years, but these shelves are for my sci fi fantasy books, so she belongs down here, but I will miss her and am having second thoughts.  

So I am quitting for the night!


  1. I feel you on the choosing, sorting and pairings of books on the shelf. Although mine isn't as alchemical as yours :) It is fun seeing all their spines lined up together and not in a stack.

  2. Love a built in bookcase! These look wonderful. But what a task! I felt similarily when unpacking my books after a move last year. I also arrange my books mostly by who I think they would like to be next to, haha. However, I only had two bookcases to fill. As for incomplete series, I would go for option A, though I can imagine that may not be practical depending how many series your'e working with.

    1. Also the question of how much space to leave has a different answer--Robin McKinley, perhaps 3 books (hopefully) vs T. Kingfisher, a whole empty shelf....

  3. Gorgeous! And I wonder if the Clare Dunkles might be happy near Elizabeth Marie Popes?


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