I started this week off by finally reading, in full, Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library” which I’ve been meaning to read for a long time.
Then this charming rainy-day read of the same name popped up in my feed: Unpacking my library. It features seven contemporary authors with their book collections, and small anecdotes about them.
I especially like Gary Shteyngart’s organizational method (“mostly I want to be surprised every time I look at the shelves”) — this is how my mom arranges her large book collection and it drives me mad when I’m looking for something, but it is true that you make random connections between titles, and always discover that something you haven’t read or even considered reading seems suddenly interesting.
Personally, I arrange my books by category/subject, and then alphabetical by author’s last name within that (or in the case of travel guides, the country). Classics go highest up since I am likely not to re-read them, then the other categories: poetry, foreign language books, nonfiction, contemporary fiction, etc. I stack little books laying flat by size because they look most attractive that way. Art books get their own place on the coffee table because they are the heaviest— and, of course, the most glamorous.