Operation: Book Nook

Hello everyone! I am writing from my brand new chair in my room and it is pretty exciting. Well, the chair itself isn’t new, but its location is. About a year ago I wrote about how the alcove off of my bedroom got turned into an office, and then last spring I reorganized my bookshelves. Well the sprucing up continues with a new book nook.

The desk that ended up in my now office was one that has floated around the family and from place to place for years. But all the while I had my desk from high school that was mainly being used as a place to put things that I wanted to keep but wouldn’t necessarily use all the time. So the random stuff kept on piling up and I would just ignore it as it got messier and messier. It was a vicious cycle. Well, over the weekend I finally did something about it.

For a while now, ever since I started in on my bookshelves, I’ve been meaning to give my old desk to my mom for her to use and to put a chair in its place to add some more cozy to my room. And that finally happened. There were many recycling bags involved, and I still need to go through an end table filled with random books, but I have a reading chair now :).

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I covered it with a throw I got for college to up the cozy factor, and I might replace the pillow it came with with a different throw pillow (also from college) depending on how comfortable it is in comparison. I also have my rug from college that would fit nicely in front of it – I love that I can reuse all this stuff again!

Today I also went out to Barnes and Nobles and bought a lap desk, which was something I’d been debating doing for a while. Now that I have a couple of options when it comes to places to work I think it will come in handy. It is black with polka dots on the bottom and pink elastic straps to hold papers secure, and I am using it right now. So far so good.

I seem to have fallen into an every other week posting schedule, but hopefully I can bring the posts back up to once a week. I do have some book reviews and other fun things planned so stay tuned!

But on a completely unrelated note, we seem to have fully entered into the holiday season. I always know that this happens right after Halloween (lets be honest, its before halloween a lot of the time), and every time it seems to throw me off. There were advent calendars today being sold at Barnes and Nobles, and when I went into CVS on Halloween to see if I could find a last minute witch hat (all the halloween stores were packed) I was greeted instead with Santa hats. On Halloween. Maybe I could have gone as Mrs. Claus.

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How to Organize Your Books 101

I am still working on the project of organizing my bookshelves, although I am nearing the end. I just have my collection of notebooks that I have accumulated over the years (which is a lot) left to sort through and then it is on to my desk – a whole other project which will be a whole other post.

But in all of this organization that I have been doing lately, I have spent a good amount of time figuring out how to organize everything. Right now my books are in loose categories. I have a young adult shelf that starts with Dystopia goes on to fantasy and ends in general YA fiction. Below that I have a poetry/short story/miscellaneous shelf with room to grow, and below that are notebooks.

My second bookshelf has more general/literary fiction, a Christianity section, Harry Potter, my high school yearbooks, and playbills from over the years. I debating alphabetizing the various sections that I have, but I ultimately decided against that.

But then I got thinking – what other, more fun, less conventional ways were there to organize my various books? Genre is predictable but what about by size? Hardcover vs. paperback? How about something like:

Books That I am Emotionally Attached To:  This could include any book that would be unthinkable for me to get rid of. Most are from my childhood but not all. This list also includes books that are not currently on my shelves but that I love anyway. Some examples are:

2-red-heart– Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling- no explanation necessary

– American Girl books – also no explanation necessary. My American Girl books are in storage in the attic, but they are still loved, I can assure you.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – absolutely blew me away, and I don’t think I ever came back.

– My entire Billy Collins collection – because who doesn’t like Billy Collins. He came to speak at my high school, and it was amazing!

– The Collected Short Stories of Amy Hempel – Another staple of mine. Amy Hempel was the one who introduced me to sentences that can blow you over in ten words or less. I thought short stories were boring until I found her. I’m not entirely sure if I really fully understood her stories when I read them as a sophomore in high school, but I could still tell that they were amazing.

Also in Movies:

– The Sound of Music – I had the tape growing up and I finally bought the DVD recently, which was an excellent life choice. I must have watched this movie at least once a month, if not more for a long time.

– The Parent Trap (do not own) – I distinctly remember the day when I learned that Lindsey Lohan didn’t have a twin, and it changed the way that I looked at movies. I also watched this on a regular basis on about the same schedule as The Sound of Music

– Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – This movie didn’t have as long an interest span as the other two, but it definitely was a staple, particularly on weekends when my family went to Long Island. This is referring to the older version with Gene Wilder, not the Johnny Depp version.

– Up – I have a deep, meaningful connection with Dug the Dog.

I Want to Go to There: Books that feature fantastic places where I would want to visit/return to/never leave. There will be some overlap starting here, which is why this system is probably not the most practical way to organize books as duplicates may be required.

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– Harry Potter – again, no explanation necessary. And I’m not just talking about Hogwarts here, although that is definitely high on the list. I am also including Diagon Alley (although I don’t think I would be a fan of the Gringotts carts), Hogsmeade, The Burrow, Grimmauld Place, The Ministry of Magic (preferably not during the 5th-7th books), and the Quiddich World Cup.

– The Night Circus – a real magical circus? Who wouldn’t want to go!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – I want to go to Wall and Faerie.

– Narnia – I have’t actually read all the Narnia books, and it is something I am planning on doing on soon, but I would love to have tea with the badgers and Mr. Tumnus as long as the White Witch has already been banished. And of course, Aslan.

I Do Not Want to Go to There: Most of these books I really loved, but if I was offered a chance to go to their world I might pass it up for something else. This includes:

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– pretty much any dystopian novel (specifically the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched series) – Adventure is good, but I also like my democratic government and free will, thank you very much.

Les Mis by Victor Hugo – Amazing movie, still haven’t read the whole book although I would love to. Goes along the same lines as the dystopian books though. That and I tend to get sick pretty easily, so revolutionary France might be a bit rough for me.

Books That Made Me CryThis is slightly different from Books That I am Emotionally Attached to, although there is some overlap. This list is smaller though, because I have noticed it takes a lot for me to cry while reading a book. The same is true for movies, although I have a slightly lower threshold when it comes to movies, probably because they are more directly visual than books are. But this list includes:

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– Harry Potter – Honestly, HP could probably end up on every list. The only time that I cried when reading Harry Potter was during the last book. I think it was during the battle, although I don’t specifically remember what part (it might have had to do with the Weasleys 😦 ). Plus, it was also about four in the morning by the time I got to that part and my defenses were down.

The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak – I was fine through most of this book, and then it got me in the end. This means that between my love of Geoffrey Rush, and the plot itself, I’m pretty much guaranteed to cry my way through the movie.

Also for Movies:

– Finding Neverland – I tend not to like sad movies, or rewatching movies that make me sad but Finding Neverland is my exception. First of all, its Johnny Depp. Second of all, Freddie Highmore was so young and such an amazing actor then. Third, it’s about a writer and Neverland. Much like The Book Theif, I can get through most of the movie okay. The few scenes that get to me are when Peter destroys his play, when they see Neverland, and the final scene with J.M. Barrie and Peter. But it is soooo good!

And anytime an animal dies in a book or a movie (particularly a dog) it is unacceptable!

Books With Awesomely Strong Female Characters Who Do Whatever They Want: This shouldn’t be a surprising category for me to have. It could also be titled as Books With Fully Flushed Out Female Characters. This is true for any character, really, regardless of gender.

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– Harry Potter – again, no shocker. But really, there’s Hermione, Ginny, Lavender, Luna (I love Luna so much!), Mrs. Weasley, McGonnagall, Trewlawney, and Lily Potter. Need I say more?

– The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Again, this is not shocking. Katniss doesn’t really do whatever the heck she wants because of the capital, but she does a pretty good job of working within her parameters/breaking out of her parameters/not caring about the Capitol at all. Good job, Katniss. Also, Jennifer Lawrence, so yea…

– Divergent by Veronica Roth – Tris is a really good example of a strong character who is quiet, which isn’t always the case, and can be a bit tricky to pull off during the writing process. She definitely is a Dauntless and a Divergent, and she does what she needs to do, but she is also quiet and calm and an overall great character. (See more of my thoughts here).

Graceling by Kristin Cashore- I even talk about strong female leads in the title of my post on Graceling, so it has to go into this category. I do not own Graceling, I borrowed it from a friend, but I would be okay buying it, as I will want to read it again. Katsa is strong at the beginning of the book in that she fights and is independent and all that, but she also finds out more about herself and her powers as the book goes on which makes her develop more. That and she and Po have an awesome and refreshing dynamic.

Books That I Enjoyed More Than I Thought I Would: The title pretty much speaks for itself. I read it for fun (or not) and was pleasantly surprised/blown away.

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– The Book Thief – Again with the repeats, but honestly I wasn’t expecting that book to be what it was. I’ve been debating reading Zuzak’s other book at some point as well.

– The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I bought this book at college as a last-minute purchase to keep me entertained on the train ride home from break, and I continued to devour the book throughout vacation. It was back a few years ago when The Help was really big, but honestly it is a great read, not too hard – just right for a school vacation, and I really enjoyed it.

– Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – This one we read in high school, but reading it for school didn’t completely ruin it for me, and I have read it again since then. I don’t think I was able to pick up on Dickens’ style when I was reading it as homework, and I haven’t read any other Dickens books, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

– Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller – Blue Like Jazz is a great book. It was the first Christian book I read, and it definitely wasn’t what I thought it would be. Donald Miller writes casually and realistically about real issues. There are also fun anecdotes and comics as well, but at the same time he isn’t afraid to go deep.

And finally, my last category is

Books That I Decided to Keep, Whether I’ve Read Them or Not, to Make my Bookshelf Look More Impressive: Again, the title is pretty self-explanatory for this one as well. Whether it’s because I want to be have the ultimate BA in English or because I actually have read or want to read these books at some point in my life, here are the books that I have that bulk up my shelves.

wise_owl_sofa_logia– Underworld by Don DeLillo – Most of Don DeLillo’s books are short, but Underworld is a tome. I got through a good portion of it I am proud to admit. He has a great style that I do really enjoy. Maybe I will pick it up again some day.

– Great Expectations – I did like this one, as I said before, and so what if it makes my bookshelf look more impressive? It’s a good book. Jane Eyre also fits here as well

– A Passage to India by E.M. Forester – This is another one that I liked, and it does bulk up my classics section a little more. Also, I could see myself rereading it again sometime in the future.

– Les Mis – While I could probably fit three more books where Les Mis is, I still keep it on my shelf, because one day I will sit down and read it.

– The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemingway – Confession: I still haven’t read Hemingway. He was on my to read list when I got out of college and had time to read, but a lot of other things were on the list as well, and I never got around to it. He’s the type of author I am expecting to enjoy. One day it will happen.

So there you have it. My ultimate, not so feasible book organization method. How are your bookshelves organized?

Operation: Bookshelves

A few weeks ago I started a rather ambitious project: organizing my bookshelves. I have two bookshelves in my room – a tall white one and a shorter brown one. They have always been jam-packed full of books, but as I was going through them I noticed that 1) I tended to double layer books on the shelves and then forget what books I had 2) it got to be pretty cluttered.

I am not one for getting rid of books, but I do have limited space, and many of the books on my shelves were ones that I either wasn’t going to read or didn’t really want to keep, so now I have a large shopping bag of books to donate and another bag in the works. It was getting to the point that books were stacking up around my room – the windowsill, my desk, bedside table, under the bedside table, next to the bookshelf. There was definitely room for improvement.

I also took this opportunity to loosely organize my books into categories. So far I have fantasy, religion, and classics/lit fiction (which is split between the top shelf and third shelf down). Each section is loosely organized by author – it’s not the dewy decimal system, but it works. I also have a few books that are doubled up to save space, but not as much as before.

I still have the second bookcase to go through, but I was noticing there are a lot of books in that shelf that I would be okay getting rid of. There are a few keepers (Harry Potter, my yearbooks, playbills,) but there is a lot of potential space there as well. I also need to go through my notebooks from over the years that took up the bottom two shelves of the bigger bookcase – I am planning on consolidating them to one shelf. I am a hoarder of notebooks and while I do want to keep many of my stories and journals from over the years, the ones that have one page written in them and don’t go anywhere after that I don’t need to keep forever. I’m not entirely sure what I will do with them yet, but I can cross that bridge when I come to it.

I also have a stack of miscellaneous college books I either want to keep or haven’t been able to sell over the years (obscure modern irish plays I’m looking at you) so some of those will be added to the pile as well.

I’m pretty excited about this because it will clean up my room and make my bookshelves less intimidatingly messy than they were before. Also, if I don’t double up all my books I will have more room to put finished origami projects. A few months ago I started doing origami and it stuck. It’s great thing to do while watching tv or a movie (it doesn’t help my Netflix addiction) and its pretty and satisfying. Right now a lot of my origami is in my office space, but with the extra room I will soon have, I can expand to my bookshelves as well.

So here’s a few pictures of what I’ve done so far:

bookshelf 1 (with my “I’d rather be on Martha’s Vineyard” sign and a phizz origami ball I made last week) –

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A close up of the Phizz ball –

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A few other origami projects I’ve done recently (a kusudama and a rosette) –

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