Last month, I bought bunches of books. Seriously, bunches. This morning I stared at my bookshelves in the library and decided it was time to sort through, at least non-fiction, cull some I’m never going to use, and make some room.

Theoretically, this should be something I do twice a year, or at some kind of threshold. I will never be the “a new book came in, so one book has to go out” person (I mean, people didn’t do that with their kids, did they? So why books?). In fact, I do it when I feel like it… and that happens to be about twice a year.

Five shelves of a bookcase, filled with nonfiction. Lower left, a Victoria Whitehand porcelain figure.
Main non-fiction case

The image above is my “main” nonfiction/reference case. At the bottom left you see a Victoria Whitehand figure and the carved spiral rock Sharon gave me for Christmas. The jumble of cords curling out on the right is my “charging station.”

While my fiction section is sorted alphabetically by author’s last name, the reference section is loosely by topic. Topic, and one other important shelving factor–which shelf a tall book will fit on. For example, I have a mythology section in the other case but both Bibles, mine from Confirmation and the New Jerusalem bible I bought second hand, are on this case because that’s where they fit.

Sections, to the extent they are sections, include:

  • Personal family history
  • California and US history (and a pocket copy of the Constitution)
  • General history, kind of
  • 1920/30s books
  • The Inklings
  • How-things-work books.

The second shelf holds:

  • Bronte history/biographies
  • Victorian times books
  • Tudor times books
  • Hawaiiana
  • Native American history
  • Construction/architecture
  • Trade

And it goes on like that.

Close up of bookcase with dictionaries, style manuals , essays
The second case

The second non-fiction case holds a thematic jumble.

close up of bookshelf with essays  about writing

The first shelf contains essays about writing and two baby-book names. Why? Because they fit there. Also, C.S. Lewis’s religious books ended up there, and I don’t know why.

The second shelf, not pictured, holds style manuals and dictionaries, including all of my language dictionaries.

Detail of bookshelf with herbal books and tarot books.

The third shelf holds mythology/religion books, books on herbalism, magical systems (like Tarot), symbology and so on.

On the fourth shelf you’ll find my charging paraphenalia, my travel journals, a collection of letters my father wrote to my mother when they were long-distance courting and planning to get married, geology, and travel guide books. The bottom shelf holds a couple of hardcovers that wouldn’t fit anywhere else, and the start of the fiction section.

I was brutal. I managed to cull about 20 books, which I plan to offer to Second Chances Used Books today. At first I didn’t see any visible difference, but looking at the photos, I see I made some room on the bottom shelf of he first case. Probably just enough room for the Petaluma-themed non fiction books I got as prep for the next Comeuppance story.

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