books / library / poetry / reading

Genre, Format, and Height

A person’s bookshelves can tell you a lot about them—their interests, their histories, their dusting abilities—and while the content is what’s most important, of course, the organization can also speak volumes.
— Emily Temple

I read an article on LitHub about how writers organize their personal libraries and that got me to thinking about my own bookshelves. Being organized is not one of my strong suits and despite having worked in public libraries for five years, I’m not inclined to alphabetize my books.

They are organized loosely by genre, format, and then height. For example, all of my paperback poetry books are together, from the tallest to the shortest. The hardback poetry books are nearby in similar fashion. I struggle with poetry books that are meant for a younger audience – do I put them in a separate section or naw? Initially, I chose to keep them apart, but I ran out of room on the YA/MG shelf. So now, Love That Dog is in between I’m So Fine and Wisdom Teeth.

I’m not sure what my way of organizing books tells you about me, but there it is. How do you organize your shelves?

2 thoughts on “Genre, Format, and Height

  1. I have my books shelved by genre/themes at home too, though most of the books I own now are part of larger collections (i.e. Star Wars, Beatles, Joss Whedon, comics) so it’s not that big of a library to deal with. 🙂

  2. I kind of DON’T organize my books😂!…If I have more than one book by a particular author, I may shelve them altogether with the exception of one or two that may be found to have [contextual] kinship (for me) with some other books in my library…I have a couple of shelves of books dedicated to poets and writers from Detroit because I am a writer from Detroit…Coffee table books have their own area….okay so maybe there is some organization going on, just not of the alphabetical kind.

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