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Let's Procrastinate With Books! Post Two

For lost_spook, from this list, comment if you want to play.

17. Preferred bookshelf organisation scheme

I don't really have one! I'm much too disorganized to alphabetize my books or anything like that. Even if I were tempted to do it, I'd just get it out of order the first time I had to put something back on the shelf. My mind doesn't work that way.

Which isn't exactly accurate, since at the bookstore I have no trouble putting things in alphabetical order and making new categories and so on. But in the bookstore, people who don't know what we have need to be able to discover what we have without giving up too soon. All my own books are more or less in the same place and I'm the only one who needs to find them, so further organization is redundant.

I do sometimes make little stacks of the books I mean to read next and put them on the floor. This reminds me that I have books waiting to be read, so I don't go pulling everything and its cousin from the library. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. Right now I have four stacks: 1. 99 Novels, Pratchett, and Miscellaneous, 2. Undiscovered Treasures of my Bookshelf, 3. detectives, and 4. "fell off the shelf that came apart."

20. The coolest bookshop you’ve ever been to

The very best bookshop for Trantor-like endlessness is John K. King Books in Detroit, Michigan. Four gigantic stories of chilly, cavernous shelving, with supplementary boxes, windowsills, tables, and floor towers, all piled high with books and other artifacts of the age of print. Everything you can imagine is here, and quite a few things you can't, from rare books in glass cases to the scruffy, irresistible FREE roller cart stuffed full of vintage computer manuals, charity recipe books, and Pony Pals. Best purchase: a fifteen-pound encyclopedia describing every city, town, and village in the world circa 1920.

Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor has a similar range of things on a cozier scale – it's big, but not daunting – but I like Ypsilanti's Cross Street Books a little better, because I sympathize with its haplessness. It's got a tremendously varied collection in a very small space, including lots of ephemera and half-filled diaries and sketchbooks (some of which I now own); books are double- and even triple-shelved, and it used to be completely impassable in places before the fire department put its foot down. Mention any interest and the resident bookstore guy will find you five out-of-print books about it in the complicated map of his memory and produce them from the back of a multi-layered book wall. Just start at the famous water tower and follow Cross Street downtown, you can’t miss it.

This year, I had the chance to see Livraria Lello (“The Harry Potter Bookshop(tm)”) in Porto, which isn't really a bookshop experience at all. There are books, and if you want to you can buy them, but you can't really browse comfortably because someone is always pointing a camera over your head or trying to pose in front of you, or just standing in the middle of the available space looking up. It's architecturally interesting, and if it weren't famous it might be a nice place to spend half an hour. But they had so many people coming in to gawk and take photos that they had to start charging an entrance fee to make up for all the books they weren't selling because no one can get at the books through the crowds. You can still buy a book there, but why would you? There’s nothing special about the selection; it’s an ordinary smallish Portuguese bookstore, adjusted toward a common tourist denominator (lots of “classics” in foreign languages, lots of Harry Potter gift books).


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC)
Aw, cool - I love your descriptions of the bookshops!

I have never been able to help organising my books at home as well as work. It's a de-stressor. I WILL ALPHABETISE MY BOOKS AND SIT WITH THEM IN PILES ABOUT ME. Much better than alphabetising your sins.
Sep. 16th, 2016 08:06 pm (UTC)
They're such great bookshops! I try to visit each one whenever I'm in town. Usually I impose a strict book limit on myself and immediately break it. :\

:D I can appreciate the relaxing qualities of alphabetization, in theory at least. Maybe I'll try it one of these days when I run out of ways to procrastinate.
Sep. 16th, 2016 10:58 pm (UTC)
Love your answers, honey...:D

Sep. 17th, 2016 03:44 pm (UTC)
I don't alphabetise my books either (music yes). Maybe if I had a mansion full. I go from big on the ends to small in the middle. Oversize on bottom. I like a tidy looking shelf. No books laid horizontally on vertical ones.

The first two bookstores sound cool! I've always liked the name Ann Arbor for a place. The last one sounds sad as it's not really what it should be anymore and become an attraction.

Edited at 2016-09-17 03:45 pm (UTC)
Sep. 19th, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC)
I visited Shakespeare & Company in Paris in 1998, which was interesting. I was not quite prepared to run into a half-naked young man who was shaving in the middle of the book store. Obviously he had slept there, as the unmade bed was in the next aisle. :)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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