Shelving Solutions

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One of my shelves

One of the challenges for voracious readers is where to shelve their books. In terms of physical books, I am at the point where any book I finish goes on the giveaway or resale piles unless I pull something else off the shelves in its place. If I haven’t thought of or read the book in ten years, it’s a good candidate to get culled out.

Bookriot article today, “Ways to Shelve Your Books on Goodreads” brings up another shelving dilemma that our book apps create. Where do we shelve our books electronically? Actually, this has been quite useful at times when I have done posts on books in a particular category. The challenge is figuring out the categories, which I may suspect vary widely from person to person. The article suggests some different ways including the year read, the format and location, the genre, by author and book identifier. Here’s what mine currently looks like:

Goodreads Bob Trube The United States 1 056 books

The article provides several examples for different kinds of readers. I am probably much like the author of the article in that my categories get more specific with types of literature I especially like. In my case, it has to do with various subcategories of Christian literature. Mine include works of theology, spiritual formation, on culture, on politics, leadership, ethics, apologetics, and Bible study and more. Under biography, I created a category of presidential biographies because this is one of my favorite genres. Probably I should create one on British royalty!

That brings up another question. When do you create a new category? And if you do, do you go back and “re-shelve” books into that category. I did this with presidential biographies and when I created my “inklings” shelf, but, because I read numbers of books, that can be a bit of work. I might be inclined to consider it “busywork” that I don’t have time for. But that is just me.

Probably the greatest usefulness of this to me is that I regularly get asked the question of “what is a good book on…?” It can be handy to pull up my shelves on my phone and offer a few suggestions. If it was just up to memory, I’d probably find myself saying, “I’ll get back to you” which may never happen.

It is also handy in providing a more extensive set of categories than is easily accommodated here on the blog. I still dream of creating an indexing system that would work here, but at this point it is a dream. You can always search a title on the blog. For categories, my Goodreads page works better and all the reviews I do here are also there.

All this falls in the category of “first world problems.” My suggestion if you are trying to create more shelves than “reading” and “read” is that you create a list of the categories of books you most like to read. Create new categories for things that don’t fit.  Then as you go along combine categories where the numbers of books remain just a few. Figure out if there are any categories that are particularly relevant to your work or other interests. And don’t worry if it looks nothing like your friends. That’s what makes it interesting!

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