Bookcases: 100%, but…

They are finished and in, the shelves up, boxes and boxes of books out and the alphabetization process is well under way. Our books will soon be shelved! Great!

Well, no.

You see, there were quite a few boxes of hardcover books, but then this is a big wall of shelves. But books take a lot of space on shelves. There were a lot more oversized (larger than normal shelf height) books to go into the bottom two rows, so no regular books could go there. The largest category of books is hardcover mystery so those were alphabetized by author and readied first. The second largest is SF-F, then general fiction, then non-fiction, then poetry, then children’s, reference and so on.

Here are some photos (sorry some are a little blurry, the camera seems to be acting up), I’ll explain them and the rest of this below.

Okay, so as you can see, there were books everywhere, waiting to be sorted. We spent a lot of time doing that because when books were packed, in order to completely fill every box some things got mixed. So we set out all the boxes and opened them, then every box was gone through and the books sorted into piles by genre and alpha. The mysteries were on a large table (in rear of 7th photo) ready to go first, the shot shows A-P, the rest still boxed.

We got a lot of that work done, with the help of the cats, you can see our Grand Old Man, Powder, supervising. in the 2nd photo.

After the guys came with the shelves and we got them up, we started with the mysteries. Turned out the top shelf was too short, the carpenter thought we wanted a different height there (we didn’t) but it was kinda too late, so paperbacks and short stuff will go there. Anyway, we got up a couple of vertical sections worth of mysteries and it was obvious we had a space problem as that only got us into the J’s (picture 1). Uh oh. Turned out the mysteries took 4 vertical sections plus two of the fifth (picture 12). That’s where we stopped, at 7:00 p.m. last night. The SF-F, which I dearly wanted to have out, especially all the NESFA books, won’t fit by any stretch of imagination, they would take at least 4 sections, maybe more. Maybe the general fiction will fit in the space that’s left, or the non-fiction.

Meanwhile today I put away as many of the oversized books as I could get in. It’s most of them (last photo) but some will have to go back in boxes and to the downstairs storage room. Drat. We’ll have to figure out where more bookcases can be located in the house, but unfortunately, at this time we’re going to have to re-box a ton of books and put them back downstairs into storage. Bummer!!

[LATER…]  My dear Wife offered the shelves in her home office for the SF-F which should just fit. We finished sorting them (that’s them in photo 9) and by golly they DID fit. Not a lot of room for growth, maybe two or three books, but at this point that’s just fine with me. After yesterday and today, I’m sure not in the mood to buy any more books!

We still have fiction, non-fiction, poetry (a huge box full), children’s etc. There are five shelves still empty, but none of those, maybe the poetry, will fit in total. I may pick favorites from those genres for now, it’s obvious more shelves will be needed. The next possible room is the “art studio”, a room for painting, sketching and such that is still embryonic in it’s development. I may be able to design something to store art supplies: canvases, large sketch pads, paint tubes, chalks, pens and pencils, etc. and combine it with a bunch of bookshelves. We’ll also be putting a sofa bed in there for guests who are not comfortable or able to go down and up stairs. More photos tomorrow, of the final version of the bookwall plus the SF-F in the home office, but for now, this is all I have for you. I had hoped it would all fit, but I was overly optimistic. What a surprise.

My back hurts.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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16 Responses to Bookcases: 100%, but…

  1. I know this is a painful suggestion, but maybe you need to weed your collection. I donated a couple bags of books to our local Library for their annual Book Sale. Or, maybe you could find a Good Home for books you’re unlikely to reread (Evan might benefit from that approach). As I grow older, I’m slowly realizing Less is More.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’m glad George said it first because that was my thought too. We’ve been ruthless here lately. Anything we’ve read, are never going to read again, by an author we are not collecting for some reason, and it goes on the Exchange.

    Of course it helps that we have more paperbacks and you have a sh!tload of hardbacks….

  3. Richard says:

    George & Jeff – Of course I thought of that option, but I had hoped that, for one shining moment, I would have them all out, on shelf and viewable. It’s not to be, unfortunately, plus there is little to no room for growth. Rats. Yes, weeding it will probably be, though I did that just 7 months ago before the move.

  4. Bill Crider says:

    No weeding here, which is sad. I really should. But I’d rather just buy another house and fill it up with books.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    That way lies the Andy J. 12-Step Program!

  6. Art Scott says:

    That way lies a new episode of American Pickers! Or maybe “American Bookscouts”, which I’m sure someone is pitching to the cable networks even as we speak

  7. Actually, one of the World Class Book Weeders is Art Scott. If you can’t face the weeding process, persuade Art to do it. It’s rumored he works for free books (ask Bruce Taylor).

  8. Charles Gramlich says:

    I use the tops of my shelves for oversized books. they are kind of a pain to deal with.

  9. Carl V. says:

    That was very sweet of your wife, and although that is probably not where you wanted your SFF to be shelved, at least they aren’t stored in boxes. Books don’t like to be stored in boxes! 🙂

    I’m so sorry that these lovely shelves aren’t quite fulfilling all of your needs. Hopefully someday you’ll be able to get some more custom shelves in elsewhere.

    Your home is lovely, by the way.

  10. Patti Abbott says:

    We just gave away about three hundred books to our library, who I am sure will pitch many. We give away that many each year but probably buy half of that again.
    Not only books we had read and knew we wouldn’t read again but books we have never read and had lost interest in. I read an article about a guy who started doing this and weeded his way down to about one hundred books. Not such a bad idea.

  11. Evan Lewis says:

    As hard labor goes, that’s about as enjoyable as it gets.

  12. Richard says:

    Evan, I meant to call, but the Wife was On A Mission and HAD to get the books out of boxes and the boxes out of the living room… so you’ll just have to come by to browse.

    Art, Bill, et al: Weeding is tough. What I’ve done – as I said some more photos, hopefully in focus, tomorrow or so – is to go through the general fiction and non fiction and pull books I wanted shelved to the limit of the shelf space. The rest went into either an “Overstock” box to be kept but in storage, or a “Outta Here” box (so far with only a dozen of so) to go to Powells, the library or Goodwill. There will be more that shift from Overstock to Outta Here before anything is carried anywhere.

    Carl, thank you for the nice compliment. A couple of things are slated to be boxed and shipped to you. The shelves are beautiful and now that a great deal is up I feel better than when I started this post.

    Patti, that’s a lot of books. I generally only buy books I’m pretty sure I want to have, and being a slow reader I keep them a long time until I get to them. I hate getting rid of books I bought but have not read.

  13. Richard says:

    Uh oh. Another book just arrived in the mail. I have a goodly number on pre-order… Ah, it’s a paperback by Matthew Hughes, SF-F, his new The Damned Busters. Watch for it new New Arrivals… There is space for it downstairs in the library.

  14. Laurie says:

    I have no problem weeding, and have done it several times over the past few years because I’ve moved so much. The problem is I’m now down to owning only those I haven’t read. I’ve made a vow to not buy any more books until I can make a dent in the pile I have now. I figure Amazon is safe without me for about another year.

  15. Carl V. says:

    I was telling Jeff and my wife about your plight tonight and, book lovers themselves, they were sympathizing with you and your situation.

    And thank you, I’m thrilled!!!

  16. Richard says:

    Laurie – There are many books that I’ve read, and will read again and want on my shelves even if I don’t get back to them. Those must stay. Examples? Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, my Nero Wolfe and Travis McGee mysteries, the science fiction of Poul Anderson and fantasy of David Eddings.

    Carl, I’m not sure when I’ll get the box in the mail, but I hope you like what’s in it. Yes, Jeff would sympathize. Tell him to drop by here for the final photos (today).

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