How Many Books Is Too Many Books?

IMG_5579 (004)Nicola here, and today I'm asking the provocative question "how many books is too many books"? And as a follow up to that: "What system do you use to categorise your bookshelves?" You see, I need help and advice. The time has finally come to sort out my “library.” This is rather a grand term for a muddled collection of books on shelves, in boxes and in stacks on the floor all over the house with only a notional system of what is where. For years I’ve been saying I need some sort of cataloguing system, yet each time I sit down with my books to try to categorise them, I either get distracted into reading something I had forgotten was there or I am so overwhelmed by the hugeness of the task that I retreat and close the door on the mess. There are obvious downsides to this, most annoyingly the fact that I can’t find half the books I know are there and when I need them for research – or to re-read a favourite novel – I’ll spend ages huffing around looking for them. Also, I have been known on more than one occasion to buy multiple copies of things just because I didn’t realise/remember they were already in my collection. So a neatly-ordered bookshelf is crucial.

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