Bookshelf tours are some of my favourite videos to watch on YouTube, since I like knowing how other readers organise their shelves and what books they keep on them. Until recently, I thought that this type of content wasn’t really appropriate for a blog. Last month, however, I discovered Meg’s blog, The Bookish Linguist, and on it I found a post where she shared photos of her bookshelves. I immediately decided to do something similar!
My shelves are not meticulously organised. I do have two basic rules that I always stick to, though. Not only do I keep unread books apart from the ones that I’ve already read, but I also always place read books by the same author next to each other. Moreover, I try to keep books from the same collection together, whenever this doesn’t go against my main rules. I also decided not to keep all the books that I’ve read. I always keep books that I’ve rated with either five or four stars. Occasionally, I also find a place for some three-star reads, especially when they are part of a collection or feature a specific noteworthy element.
I’ve already read almost all of the books that I own, as since last year I’ve been trying to only buy books as I read them. It helps me to never stop being interested in reading the books that I own.
The first shelf is a great example of how I would like to keep books from the same genre together (without separating books written by the same author obviously) if I had more space. Most of these are fantasy. This is where I keep the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, the first two novels in The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb, The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (it’s massive, so it holds the others!).
My second shelf is one of my favourites aesthetically-wise. I love seeing all of my Penguin English Library editions together. It’s relatively noticeable that I also tried to colour coordinate the books in the middle. I just wish that Virago had continued to publish the novels by Daphne du Maurier with the stripy colourful spines. They are gorgeous! And I’m not a fan of the forest green spines. This shelf also features three of my favourite books – The Miniaturist and The Muse by Jessie Burton and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – which is a plus.
As you can (hopefully) see, the third shelf is a mix of a variety of genres. The highlights are my Vintage Classics editions of Virginia Woolf (Orlando) and Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey). Let’s not spend much time looking at those horrible editions that I have of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Emma. Although I love gorgeous covers, the important is the content! The novels by Ian McEwan that I’ve enjoyed and kept are placed at the end of this shelf. I also decided to put my edition of Hamlet by William Shakespeare next to McEwan’s Nutshell, since it was the inspiration for that novel.
The last two shelves of this bookcase feature some of the oldest books that I own mixed with relatively recent acquisitions. The upper shelf is the home of the majority of my poetry collections, almost all of them by Fernando Pessoa and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. Other two Portuguese authors whose books I keep on this shelf are Eça de Queirós and José Luís Peixoto. Two of the novels that I own by Peixoto, Cemitério de Pianos and Uma Casa na Escuridão, were 3-star reads, but I decided to keep them nevertheless. I also keep side by side on this shelf some books that are at least partially set during the Second World War.
The lower shelf features books by authors whom I haven’t read in a long while – Orhan Pamuk, Gabriel García Márquez and Luis Sepúlveda. The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien also have a place on this shelf, although in an ideal world I would have placed them next to the other fantasy books.
The rest of my books are on the first two shelves of another bookcase. On the top shelf, it’s where I keep my Margaret Atwood’s novels, which I managed to link to a couple of Ancient Greek Myth retellings through The Penelopiad. The read books on this shelf are hold by my unread books, which at the moment are only three – The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney, Lillias Fraser by Hélia Correia and Gaveta de Papéis by José Luís Peixoto.
On my last shelf, the first division is where I keep the few graphic novels that I own and also a couple of heavy illustrated books. The second division is mostly dominated by books by Elena Ferrante, Mia Couto and José Saramago.
This is basically all the space that I have to store books at the moment. So, I have no idea where I’ll keep the books that I’ll read in the next few months.
How do you organise your bookshelves? Do you keep all of the books that you read? Tell me in the comments!