The Library Diaries Vol. 1: Random Stacks

on Saturday, July 30, 2011
Of the various dilemmas I have faced throughout my life, this has got to be the most bourgeoise: How will I organise my amazing new library? In my last place - a small apartment in Port Melbourne - I took a rather lassaiz faire approach to book storage, just stuffing them wherever there was space. In cupboards, drawers, on shelves, tables, the floor. See that doorstop? That's Tolstoy! Or David Foster Wallace. This propensity for obsessive, chaotic book hoarding was a hangover from my childhood home, where Mum used to joke that she lived with a husband, two sons, cats, snakes, ferrets and a veritable menagerie of books that, she maintained, reproduced faster than rabbits. When my parents finally moved out (they gave up on waiting for me to) and left me as caretaker, it only got worse. There wasn't a room that I didn't turn into a literary wasteland.

Last week, standing at the front door of the new house, I watched with glee as the removalists lugged box after box after box of books inside. Knowing that I don't have the room to store them all, I now need to work out a way to choose the books I most want on my library shelves and then decide how best to organise them. Do I group my favourites and keep them nearest to where I will be sitting? Do I just order my entire collection alphabetically? Or perhaps subdivide them geographically? Or by genre? Do I mix hardcover and paperback?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. For now I have to simply sort through them all and decide which are the keepers and which are to be sent into exile at Mum and Dad's, to line their bare shelves. And so it begins. Several thousand books. God knows how many days. Don't expect to see me round the traps for a while.

Day 1: The Sorting Begins


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