I was checking out Bryan L’s commentary bookcase just now and I began thinking (yes, I know–hit the x-out button now!): I wonder how others with larger book collections arrange their books.
I am a little nit-picky about my books, so I arrange them very systematically. Here’s the rundown. I have my books shelved first according to subject matter. I have sections on OT, NT, OT languages, NT Greek, theology, history (which is divided between American, world, and ancient histories), modern languages, philosophy, homiletics, early church…you get the picture. I don’t arrange alphabetically (title or author) because that would create such visual dissonance that I couldn’t focus when studying or just reading (even though my shelves are behind me).
Once this division is properly made, I then arrange books by height and width (no, I don’t get out a ruler!). Naturally, taller books come first, followed by shorter books. Wide books (which, thankfully, are considerably few), if they are not overly wide, such that they obscure more narrow books next to them, follow according to height.
Commentaries, dictionaries, and multi-volume sets are all arranged by series. All the Word Biblical Commentary volumes are together; NICNT, NIGTC, etc. I tried once to arrange them by bible book, but I just couldn’t stand to break them up. The black IVP dictionaries stay together, only separated according to which testament they cover. My TDNT, of course, is all together, as well.
One of the few exceptions is bibles. If it’s one of my preaching or study bibles that are leather, I keep them in their box and lying flat on the shelf. If they are hc or pb, they stand like other books.
If you were hoping for a picture, sorry–I am between office and house with books stacked up on every wall in my office, so the disarray is visually unappealing. Maybe someday I’ll indulge all you who enjoy such things. So, does anyone else have such a persnickity way about them? Or are you so careless as to throw books onto the shelf with no regard for order? 😉
Αυτω η δοξα,