I will make no apologies for having colour coded shelves. It’s not an interior design choice (although it is very calming on the eyes) but based on the fact that I’m shit with names, shit I tell you. Absolutely horrible at remembering names and titles, I’m wired to recognize covers. This is the best way for me to actually be able to locate the books that I want. It’s also become a lot simpler since I don’t have as many books as I used to. I was once a hoarder but I have become a lot less sentimental. I blame/thank Marie Kondo.
That whole “only keep what sparks joy” worked charmingly and has continued to do so as far as the shelves are concerned. If I read a book, and don’t want to keep it, I just drop it off at the charity shop. I’ve given away some very nice books, because if I want to keep finding gems there I most also contribute. I don’t need several copies of “Sense&Sensability” by Jane Austen and I much preferred my copy with a cover by Leanne Shapton so gave away my Penguin cloth-bound. No regrets, and I still have the dress I made inspired by that cover(I’ve made dresses to match covers of both that I had). The only books I consider it worth having several editions of(and quite possibly start to collect are “Alice in Wonderland” and “Pride&Prejudice”). It’s not exactly one in-one out but there is balance.
With the exception of dictionaries all the books in this shelf are read. I keep unread books, and books in progress, in piles elsewhere. I would like to say at the table beside my reading chair but the cat considers that bad feng shui, in fact she doesn’t think the reading chair is good at all and thinks that we, and the books, should gather around and on the sofa. So be it, her claws are a lot sharper then mine.
The stack of unread books stays reasonable and I insist that it does. I too once had a lot of unread books and a written TBR-list that was very long tucked away in one of them. As with so many things(all of them around the same time not very coincidentally) I was feed up. As many are now; I see sentiments echoing the ones I had all over Bookstagram.
It gave me so much anxiety and the joy of bringing home new books was mingled with guilt. I went on a “book diet”; the books I had in my possession and the ones on the list were my priority(specific titels and sometimes just the name of an author) . Only the ones on the list were I allowed to buy but I tried best I could to get them from the library. Some very obscure titles on that list, recommendations from someone probably. I had been very organized and written them in a document in my computer, then printed it before changing laptops. A vain effort to control the chaos.
In the beginning it was easy; so much to chose from, and there was a certain amount of relief very quickly; the eternal joy of ticking things of a list. A few fails happened; one or two of the books hadn’t actually been translated to a language I understand. A fair few classics, and a lot of world literature was reas. In this process I also learned how to “give up on a book”; in the past I have struggled to the bitter end despite not liking it. I rarely do so now.
Towards the end it was difficult. Luckily I was given some good books and could mix it up a bit. As you can see I still have the list, as a reminder. I’m thinking about framing it, or turning it into a work of art.
I rarely visit bookshops now not to be tempted. If I know what I want I buy it online or get it at the library( I’m lucky to live in a city with an excellent network of public libraries). When the TBR-pile is running low then I might just treat myself and the joy is greater because I know I will read it in the not to distant future.