Blogging the Bookshelves + Some Finds

I thought about doing a vlog of my bookshelves. But I don’t have a good way to do so. Plus, I’m feeling kind of in a rush to finish some books, so time is at a premium. Among others, I still need to finish my book club book (The Painted Veil) for next week, as well as one of my Classics Circuit books (Strong Poison) for Monday’s post, not to mention Milton, who is getting the shaft this week.

All that to say I am not sharing a vlog of my bookshelves. But surely a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

We got a surprising amount back with our tax return, so I convinced my husband to put a new bookshelf on the “what to do with it” list. I have not had a new bookshelf (for myself) since the year 2000 or so, when I bought two cardboard-backed fake-wood Target bookshelves for about $25 each to store my college collection of books . (We did buy a small bookshelf for our front room when we bought our house last year. It stores our pretty coffee table books in it.) I hope it’s needless to say that my books (of which I’ve been acquiring rapidly over the years) do not fit on those two four-shelf Target things. I had books crammed in them and even then I had some of my books in a box.

The “new” bookshelf I got is actually an old bookshelf I found via Craig’s List (yeay for good quality used furniture!). It’s almost to the ceiling and it has plenty of shelf space. I will note, however, that upon getting the book shelf two weeks ago, I went on a Bookmooch/PaperbackSwap spree, using up all my points at each site. That means that, when the mail has come each day this week, I’ve had a new book to add to the shelves. I’ve discovered just how easy it is to fill the shelves. Since I took this picture, I’ve shifted some books (some of my nonfiction) on to my Target bookshelves so my fiction section will have room to grow. Is that sad? Within two weeks it’s getting too small?

How it’s organized: The top left is anthologies, and underneath that is my pretty poetry collection. (I really want all the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets. I think they are so pretty.) The top two shelves on the right are children’s books, at least the pretty editions I’ve purchased. Then the next three shelves on each side are fiction, alphabetized by author’s surname. The bottom two shelves are my nonfiction, in Dewey Decimal order for the most part. (I like to keep the books about books with the 800s, even if the official Dewey number puts it under the 000s.)

I also want to mention my Bronte pictures. When my mom went to the Bronte parsonage about 15 years ago, she got me some notecards with illustrations from Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I’ve used all the note cards but two and I wanted to keep them, so I put them in a  frame, and now I can see them everyday.

You can see one of my old Target shelves next to it. This new one is four times the size.
My pretty poetry shelf (I love Everyman's Pocket Poets!)
My fiction shelves, A to Z
My four shelves of nonfiction, by Dewey Decimal System, more or less

Sometimes I think it would be really pretty to put all my Penguin Classics books together. I love the black spine and red author’s name. I think it looks so classy. But then I wouldn’t have all my fiction in author order, and that would bug me.

Also, at some point, I want to get rid of my awful condition books and some of those tacky mass market paperback books (hate that size!). I also want a lovely edition of Shakespeare’s plays, each play in its individual cover. I have my eye on this set; sometimes the price goes down to under $100! I’m waiting for the right moment. Much as I appreciate libraries, there is something so satisfying about seeing all my pretty books when I walk in my office. I was pretty good in 2009: I think I bought two books all year. This year, I’m going kind of on a used books rampage.

How do you organize your books?


I really must post about my “finds” more often. This list is huge!!

  • Victorian London by Liza Picard. I am about to begin a major “Victorian fiction” read, so this book gets me excite. Thanks, Nymeth, for the review!
  • Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite. Via Eva. I’ve been looking for something for “Oceania” for the Orbis Terrarum challenge.
  • Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. I recently won six Trollope novels via Twitter from Oxford World Classics. Eva reviewed this in April, though, so you know that I’ve been meaning to read Trollope for a while!
  • This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson. Via Bibliosue. I like libraries.
  • A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. Via Nymeth. I’ve been meaning to try Forster and Nymeth just loves it!
  • Queen of Spades by Pushkin. Via Mel U. Would be perfect for the upcoming Classics Circuit! (Sign up is still open.)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Via Aarti. Sounds like a necessary and interesting book to read.
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft. Via Amy Reads. Despite being from the 1700s, it sounds remarkably pertinent.
  • The Odd Women by George Gissing. Via Nymeth. I really do want to read Gissing, but wasn’t sure where to start. This sounds like a great one.
  • The Essential Haiku. Via Valerie. I am fascinated by haiku.
  • Claire and Verity’s Persephone week. Despite my lack of enthusiasm (I liked it, but didn’t love it) for my first Persephone, I’ve added a lot to my list. The following are some of them. Most of them I want to read because of multiple reviews and/or browsing the Persephone catalog.
    • The Home-maker by Dorothy Canfield Fischer
    • Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
    • Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambell
    • Lady Rose and Miss Memmary by Ruby Ferguson

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. So I have to ask – how in the world did you use up your bookmooch points?? I tried to do this recently, simply because I have so many on there. I don’t even list any books on there now because I have over 20 pts and no way to use them up! I tried to look up every classic I had on the shelf that was old and needed replacing, and NOT A SINGLE ONE was available. Then Jason and I went through his entire TBR pile of old classics, at least 100 of them, and only one in that entire list was available. I can’t use my bookmooch points even if I try!
    .-= Amanda´s last post on blog ..BEA Scheduling =-.

    1. Amanda, I’m finding it harder and harder to use them up, and I no longer list many books there (only a couple that have some minor writing in them). I did lots of searching for books that I’d love to have and got lucky on some. it bothers me that people list wrong books under wrong ISBNs so I always ask as I mooch. Biggest problem with bookmooch: people take forever to send books. I have six books pending, and I am suspicious that they just still haven’t sent them…..They’ve already taken my point…

      I think everyone with good quality books has moved to Paperback swap, so that’s why there isn’t so much. I won’t request or send books with foreign countries and most of them are foreign now a days.

  2. Lovely new shelf! And great collection. I am also a little crazy about keeping books in order. My fiction is all alphabetized by author name, same with biographies. Other non-fiction is still a mess at the moment though unfortunately.
    .-= Amy´s last post on blog ..Review: Believers by Jeffery L. Sheler =-.

  3. I love seeing other people’sbookshelves and thanks for the mention of PRW!

  4. Your new bookcase is lovely! It’s amazing how fast it gets filled up, isn’t it? You think it will take months, maybe years and then in weeks you find yourself double stacking them.
    .-= Stefanie´s last post on blog ..Reading Notes =-.

  5. HOORAY for new bookshelves! What could be better?? Yours look so lovely & cozy – congrats on the upgrade. 🙂 I can hardly believe it, but mine are starting to feel a bit cramped, as well – I thought it would take much longer!
    .-= Emily´s last post on blog ..Seeing =-.

  6. I love filling up new bookshelves. Mine are getting really, really cramped thanks to acquisitions and the fact that each one of my two bookshelves is only three shelves. I think I need to go Craigslist shopping soon as I’m running out of room.
    .-= Christina´s last post on blog ..Secret Son =-.

  7. It’s great to get new bookshelves! But it does lead me to buy tons of books; if I know I’ll have somewhere to put them, I lose all restraint. I come by it honestly, my mother’s just the same. One year my uncle said he was going to make my family four floor-to-ceiling bookshelves while we were on vacation, and we bought so many books that year that our car broke down. And the mechanic said, “Jesus, what do you have in there, rocks?”

    Most recently I organized my books by genre and then from right to left by how much I couldn’t live without them. It actually makes it incredibly easy to find things.
    .-= Jenny´s last post on blog ..Review: If You Come Softly, Jacqueline Woodson =-.

    1. Jenny, that is EXACTLY what happened. I knew I had just bought bookshelves so I mooched and I visited Goodwill (I can usually get good quality classics for less than a dollar!!) and I found a new bookstore…this is dangerous.

      I cannot imagine organizing my books as you describe. But, I’m glad it works for you!

  8. That is a great bookshelf! I really need two more…because our last house had built-in cases, and so there’s fewer shelves for my books in this current house.

    I love the Everyman Pocket Poet collection, too! I haven’t bought any yet; I just know if I do, I’ll be obsessed to try to collect them all :-).

    I try to group my books by subject, but sometimes the size makes it hard to keep them together.

    Enjoy your new bookcase :-). Also I hope you enjoy the Essential Haiku when you find it.
    .-= Valerie´s last post on blog ..“Government Girl”, a Memoir by Stacy Parker Aab =-.

    1. Valerie, my husband wants built in cases. And as a for the everyman’s, I’ve been pretty good at restraining my craving for them. And I always buy them used, in like new condition. That makes them half the cost 🙂

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