Bookish Questions – How do you style your bookshelves?

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How do you style your bookshelves?

spare room

My bookshelves are a conglomeration of styles.  Where I have enough books from a single series, or group of related series, I like to create a single shelf devoted to that series/group.  For example, I have an entire shelf devoted to Harry Potter. (If you follow my tumblr, I guarantee this isn’t a surprise.)

hp shelf

And half a shelf devoted to books about Oz.  This includes original Oz books by L. Frank Baum, as well as the Oz graphic novels, and books from the new Dorothy Must Die series. I really need to add with Wicked books to this collection, but haven’t gotten around to purchasing any of them yet.

oz shelf

I actually try to rotate these out my series displays, as I also have a huge collection of vintage 70s edition Nancy Drew mysteries, which look amazing together with their yellow spines.  I even have a few Hardy Boys mysteries, with their blue spines, to break up the monotony. But other than the ones I need still need to read, I’m keeping these behind the cabinet doors in the storage section of my shelves, right now.

I also have one shelf dedicated to old books.  Mostly, these are books that came from my grandmother’s house, though a few were gifts from friends.  These books, while generally having nothing in common, are together for aesthetic reasons. It’s probably as close to the “rainbow bookshelf” as I will ever get.

old books shelf

For other books, I organize my shelves by topic and author, a bit like your local bookstore. They usually aren’t in alphabetical order, but that’s because I have the need to keep certain authors together.  For example, with my rather large collection of fantasy and science-fiction, I have Neil Gaiman right next to Terry Pratchett, so that they can share space for Good Omens (which they wrote together). And I also keep Eoin Colfer right next to Douglas Adams, so that I can put Colfer’s Hitchhiker’s book right next to the originals by Adams.

sci-fi and general fiction shelf

I also have a rather full shelf of biography and memoirs. This is surprising, since I didn’t read my first memoir until last year, when I was attempting to meet each of the goals for the PopSugar reading challenge.

biography and memoir shelf

I also have a shelf containing my small collection of graphic novels (not including the Oz books) and related materials. They share shelf space with a few of my children’s classics (once again, not including my Oz books).

graphic novels and children's classics

And another shelf that contains my ridiculously small collection of poetry books. I have exactly 4 of them (well 5, because one is with the very old books). And three of those are written by Shel Silverstein.  Those books share space with my children’s historical fiction books, more properly known as my small collection of American Girl books.

poetry and ag shelf

I think the biggest thing about organization for me, is that I’m the one who organizes my books.  Because I’m the one that does the organizing, I know where everything is. At any given time, you could ask me for a book on my shelves, and I could pull it for you without problems. Unless, of course, I have to ask you which edition you would like.


  1. anna in spain on April 5, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    “Style”? LOL. No, let me rephrase that: ROFLOLPIP!! My bookshelves are tightly packed with far too many books. There is no room for anything else but a little dust. And heaps of books I have either pulled and not put back, or just don’t fit anywhere else. I can’t put pretties on them because they’d get knocked six ways from Sunday when I’m trawling for that grammar book or recipe that I just saw yesterday! And it’s a floor-to-cieling model that isn’t big enough to hold them all.

    If you’re not good, I’ll send you a picture!

    • Andrea on April 5, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      We need to get you a bigger bookshelf!

    • Andrea on April 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      And I know there’s some “style” to it, even if it’s categorization, or shoving stuff in every available space. That’s my husband’s MO.

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