So, I was bound and determined after last week to get some more reading in. I tackled the new Robert Galbraith (a J.K. Rowling pseudonym) first, something I have been excited to read for quite a while and it did not disappoint. I am not, as a rule, a fan of mysteries or detective novels but this series is great. It has the perfect balance of originality and familiarity to make it a ton of fun to read, not to mention that there are just some hilarious spots in this book. The second of the Cormonran Strike novels, The Silkworm is definitely worth a read. Rating -★★★★★
Then I immediately tackled something else in the stack, reaching for the first thing I could get my hands on, which happened to be Arclight by Josin L. McQuein. This YA book is a dystopian novel that gives off the feel of a zombie/vampire book along the lines of The Passage but YA and turns out to be something completely different which was a nice surprise. The twist in this one was not at all what I expected and it made for quite an enjoyable reading experience. I put a hold on the next book in the series the moment I finished this one. The writing was a bit weak but the plot was great. Rating – ★★★★
The I tried to read a book called The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen. I got started and simply couldn’t get into it. I don’t know if my timing was bad or what but the book was dull and it shouldn’t have been since it was supposed to be about time travel. It felt like a poor version of the time agents from Doctor Who without all the fun or a severely smudged and extremely waterlogged quick sketch of Stephen King’s 11/22/63. So I threw it back in my library bag and reached for something else. Rating – ★
What I ended up with was Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield. I have heard wonderful things about this author but for some reason, I haven’t been able to get to her first book yet (The Thirteenth Tale), although I have wanted to for quite some time. However I was able to get my hands on her second book and have put off reading it because I heard that it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great. I picked it up, fulling realizing after my last book that it would probably join the unread but back to the library pile. I very much enjoyed this read. It was a slow thoughtful read with a bit of mystery. I can see why she calls it a ghost story although it offers little in the way of thrills or chills, rather a book about a life lived in the shadow of death, the ghost of what could or should have been. Definitely worth a read if you can keep an open mind. Rating – ★★★★
At this point, I was on a roll and picked up the book on top of the stack called The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler. I was expecting light fluffy goodness. What I got was an author taking her writing way too seriously and her main character making some of the strangest choices I have ever read. It was a romance novel trying to be literary fiction and failing miserably. Why did I keep reading, because the author can write, she just can’t plot. Rating – ★
I started in on another book but kept getting interrupted and so I decided to go back to my book cleaning project. I finally finished removing every sales sticker, library pocket and anything else you can think of from every book on my shelves late on Saturday night. I can’t tell you how glad I was to see the end of that project. I cut my fingers a few times and got so tired of prying stickers off of books (not to book sellers – certain adhesives and books should just not happen – ever). Now with a trashcan full of old library dust jacket covers, I love the look of my books.
Wish I had this much room for books
Then I moved forward with organizing my books. When we moved in, I just threw everything on the shelves for the most part. A few of my favorites found each other but for the most part, I didn’t bother organizing much and it started to drive me crazy. For example, I have all of the books in the Dark Tower series but couldn’t find the first one and the rest were in sets of two or three in a few different places. I had also started buying a few duplicates of books because I wasn’t sure if I had them or not. So I decided that I needed to organize everything and create an inventory that I could search while I was out book shopping to hopefully keep myself from buying books I already have.
I love this site (click on image to find out more)
I started with the inventory. I used goodreads and my phone to scan the bar-codes from a majority of my books unless they didn’t have one due to age (or something else). I started to rethink the large number of old paperbacks that I have because I had to enter those all by hand. By the time I finished, the final count was 642 physical books.
Then I started organizing my books. I separated the fiction and non-fiction first. The non-fiction was then further separated by category and shelved. Those took up two of my smallest bookcases (while I have some non-fiction, the majority of my collection is fiction). The fiction mostly stayed together. The only things I really separated completely were my classics and Christian fiction. The rest ended up separated by author and series. Some authors got their own shelf or had to share it with one other author (Orson Scott Card being the author with the most books in my collection). By the time I got that done, I sorted what was left by size and loosely by genre to get as many books as possible onto the shelves. I think the final result turned out great.
My tall shelves
Yeah, okay the one above isn’t mine (but I wish it was). Mine, as you can see, looks quite a bit more cramped and unfortunately isn’t that big (although I wish it was). I had to really crowd to get my books in, so I think it might be time to buy another bookshelf or two.
The shorter ones (two more aren’t pictured)