Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How do you organize your books?

So, I've recently been organizing my books into my new office at mercer, which has been really exciting. As comes with such moves, I am left wondering what are the best way to organize my books, and what are the ways other people organize them.

Currently, my books are divided into the following sections:

  • Animal & Food books.
  • Art and Oversized books
  • Classical Western Philosophy
  • French Philosophy
  • German Philosophy
  • Italian Philosophy
  • Literature
  • Other Philosophy & Theory books
  • Vicissitudes of Identity

Now, these book sections are listed by alpha, but are somewhat more haphazardly thrown together. Within each section they are organized alpha by author, and then by original publication date as much as possible (I really enjoy this, because for many authors it gives me a quick visual sense of when a work lines up with other works in that author's career). Now, I am beginning to question these categories. First of all, talk about eurocentric. I could try to organize my Vicissitudes of Identity books by a nation, but for good reason they are a lot harder to organize by geography than the Europeans (and the Europeans are hard enough, and often pretty random). But, for example, where do you put someone like Frantz Fanon? Does he belong with French philosophy, Caribbean philosophy, African philosophy? And notice how quickly we go from European nation, to a whole region, to a whole continent.

Anyway, looking for suggestions, but also just curious how other people organize their books.