How do you arrange your bookshelf?

In fiction, poetry, writing on 10/16/2012 at 18:53

Beautiful books

A few weeks ago I rearranged my room, including moving my bookshelf a few feet to the left. My ceiling high bookshelf containing an elephant’s weight in books. Quite the undertaking.

I had this grand idea that I would replace all the books by how much I liked them; “top shelf” books down to books I have but hate. Then I wondered a beautiful, color-coordinated arrangement would be better. My OCD kicked in and the books had to also work by size as well. A month later and I still switch a book’s place at least once a day.

But the source of most contention involves which books to display, cover facing out, leading me to my question how do you arrange your bookshelf?

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

It comes down the battle between books I love to read and books I love to look at.

Michael Chabon’s recent “Telegraph Avenue” could not hold my attention and I bailed just under 300 pages in. However, it’s a beaut. A glossy, shimmering red hardcover featuring a yellow, textured record with the title in vintage, comic font. It earned my book shelf’s proverbial “killer spot.”

More puzzling is a collection of short stories by “folk singer”/beach bum Jimmy Buffet–I’ve read one story, find the book’s very existence humorous, and yet there it is with a prime location, because it fits perfectly in place and the pink lettering super imposed over an oceanic map fits the color scheme of that corner like magic.

Not pretty...but perfectly sized and shaded.

There are a few books I actually enjoy on display. A pair of Fitzgerald collections, “The Sun Also Rises” and a great Saturday Night Live “biography.” But my real favorites, the books I adore and drool over, “Middlesex,” the works Junot Diaz and Cormac McCarthy, are relegated to a black and white row near the floor.

Maybe one day I’ll betray my killer fashion sense and hang out “The Great Gatsby” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” despite their drab colors and unimaginative covers. Or maybe I’ll win the lottery and be able to buy all the prettiest covers of books I already own.

So how do you arrange YOUR bookshelf already?


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