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i once sorted a (tiny) shelf according to "writers who have slept with each other."


My primary form of organization is theme. When starting a new book, I frequently know what kind of book I'm in the mood for (mystery, classic, Beat, film, journalism, etc) but am just not sure which to choose. Organizing by genre allows me to browse and consider all the options available to me.

There are definitely holes in this theory. For example, where does Chuck Palahniuk go? Lullaby is a mystery, his new one is travel, and Choke, well, I don't even know what to do with that. But, as with orphaned siblings, I really try to make sure all works by an author remain together. So I think CP resides around where the mystery section starts blending into contemporary.

Then there is a secondary form of organization. We have bookshelves in our living room, office, bedroom and hallway. What books get put where? On the whole, our most beloved books are in the living room, where we spend the most time. But the bookshelf in the hallway is nicer and has much more personal value, so first editions and signed books generally go there. The office has become the room for specialized information (travel, philosophy, reference guides). The bedroom shelves are everything that's left over, but we've put the best of the bunch on the top shelves, where they can be seen most easily. I enjoy waking up and seeing Far From the Madding Crowd, Michael Palin's biography and Miss Piggy's Guide to Life first thing in the morning. It's exactly the tone I want to set for the rest of my day.


As I have recently graduated college (last Saturday) and am setting up my first home alone, I've had to give some thought to the book shelves as well. I'm a pretty big fan of chaotic organization. After all the books have been placed, I'll learn where every book is and be fine with that. Sorting by author or title is too strict for me (and difficult for me to remember).

The spine color sorting looks very nice. All my O'Reilly books would be together then. :)


yes, o'reilly books could be sorted by 'genus' or 'order' or 'class', fun!


well - I could go on and on, having been intimately involved with this topic for several years. Various factions at Powell's can become quite fierce in defending their decision to, say, shelve books by publisher only. Or, if you ever happen to check out the film section you might notice that all the books are organized clockwise, while everywhere else in the store has their books-on-shelves running counterclockwise. Passive aggressive? My favorite way of finding books that have been shelved already is to try to imagine where a particular shelver would have seen fit to put it, and see if i'm right. Or, conversely, you could shelve something in the manner you think a certain person would look for it. It's organization by the 'second guess' method. Try it, it's satisfying.

Dylan Tanner

I'm an editor at the college paper in Portland (PSU) and my wife is a friend of Bill Tsitsos and he emailed her the dojo photos. I would REALLY like to run them in our paper....REALLY like to. i love Bill and it would be so funny... I couldn't find any way to email you guys to get the OK so please email me and lets talk about it...
I don't know much about this blog business but-


I have some shelfs that are taller than most books the are organized horizontally on them. I've heard of stacking the books vertically. Some variations would be vertical, horizontal, vertical, etc.

Has anyone done this, and if you've tried it, do you have photos?

Mark Vane

Hey, I recently added a news widget from http://www.widgetmate.com to my blog. It shows the latest news, and just took a copy and paste to implement. Might interest you too.

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