Nowadays, social media is all about the visuals, which can be good or bad. I think Instagram is great in that you can see crystal clear pictures of anywhere in the world that you can’t easily visit. On the other hand, people tend to go out of their way to create something that’s deemed visually or aesthetically pleasing. This could mean succumbing to what’s generally ‘in.’
However, following a trend isn’t necessarily bad, sometimes its a good thing. As for the one you’re about to see, well, we’ll let you decide that one.
On Instagram, where life plays out in squares, there’s a hashtag going around about books and it’s a bit random. #Backwardsbooks has made its way onto the ‘gram and people are getting mad. Many decor, home, and apartment sites have been displaying it. What’s the hype? People are rearranging their bookshelves so that the plain inners of the book face outwards rather than the distinct and colorful spine. It’s supposed to be a more modern and aesthetic way of displaying your books. Kinda like these pics:
I mean, I totally understand that it looks nice and the yellowed, aged pages look earthy, worn, and minimalistic. Plus, it’s more neutral than covers of every color. But at the same time, there’s so much to be said against it. For one, you won’t be able to find a book you’d like to reread. If you have visitors, you’ll be less likely to discuss common reads. Also, they’ll just learn less about you.
By showing the inners, we are taking away from the books by making them a piece of decor. At the same time, it’s a little silly to show off the covers of all your books just to appear literary on social media. All things considered, though, I’d still take the old-fashioned way.
I try to see both sides of everything, but my idea is this: Having your book spines facing out isn’t showy at all, it’s just what we’ve done with social media that’s made it out to seem that way. So if you’re in on this slightly impractical trend because you like the look of it, then go ahead. But don’t just do it for the ‘gram.
These Japanese homeowners are so committed to their books that they designed their entire house around keeping them safe. Their enormous wall-to-wall bookshelf is specifically engineered to withstand earthquakes.
Image Via Shinsuke Fujii
The bookshelf leans inward, so if an earthquake shakes things up, it won’t shake the books off. It’s a simple idea, but it’s a quirky request for your architect. The homeowners asked for an earthquake-proof bookshelf specifically. The architects at Shinsuke Fujii then had to design the Yokohama City house around this request. The firm stated, “By setting the walls [at a slant], it also expands the space [of the] living room.”
This is kind of funny too. The bookshelf is so enormous that you would ordinarily need a ladder to reach the top. However, it’s slanted just enough that you can simply climb up the lower shelves. Not only does that tidy things up, it also surely makes readers feel a bit like adventurers.
Image Via Shinsuke Fujii Architects
Because the bookshelf had to be built on a slant, the entire outside of the house looks like it’s lurching over. The homeowners probably have a pretty good sense of humor, or at least some seriously quirky sensibilities. From the outside it looks like the house was designed by some architects with a truly unique vision. But, really, it just looks that way because there’s an earthquake-proof bookshelf inside. Can you even comprehend the degree to which these people love their books?
I am two things: an avid reader and an organized person. Or, at least, I’m organized when it comes to things I can see daily, like the books in my bookshelf. I reorganize my bookshelf in different ways every couple of years just to mix it up and make it easier to find the books I most often look for.
Now, you don’t have to organize your books. It’s not for everyone. But if you’re an organized person or if you’re trying to find a way to fit all your numerous books on your bookshelf in an appealing way or you just have a bunch of time to kill and need a project, here are six cool new ways to get organized and maybe even gain a new appreciation for your books.
1. By color
Image via Curbed
This may seem simple, and you’re probably wondering how organizing your books by color is “cool” or “new.” Well, anything can be cool or new if you add a twist, and here’s mine: use the color of the spines to organize your books in such a way that they form a picture. I once organized all my blue and black spined books to create the cover art of The Great Gatsby. It took a lot of time, but the end result was amazing, and a real conversation starter.
2. By next read
Image via Pinterest
This may seems simple and cliche, but, honestly, it’s a really good way to stay organized and get to reading faster. I have tons of books that I’ve bought and am waiting to read, and I have no idea how to choose which book to read next. One year, what I decided to do was randomly pile my ‘to read’ books into my bookshelves and just read whichever book was on the top, and go from there. It helped cut down on decision-making time, and it was cool for other people to see what was on my list by reading the titles in the piles.
Need a recommendation? Check out As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. It’s always been a favorite of mine!
3. Genre or series with a feature
Image via National Library of New Zealand
This is another one that’s cool because of a twist. When I was in a phase of only reading series, I would fill my shelves with every book of the series in a normal fashion, then turn one book forward, so everyone looking at the shelf would see the cover. I’d place that book in front of the spines of all the other books in the series so that it acted as a feature book. It’s very organized, and a very good way to find exactly what book you’re looking for. This isn’t just for book series. The method also works if you decide to organize your books by genre.
Here’s a tip: if you have a historical fiction genre, your feature book better be Les Misérables!
4. In order of “goodness”
Image via Faling for YA
If you have friends who are books lovers, you’ll have to tell me what that’s like. But more to the point, if you have friends who are book lovers, this may cause some controversy. But we’re all entitled to our own opinions. Put your books in order of your favorite to your least favorite. Your favorite will be the first book on the highest shelf, and your least favorite will be the last book on the lowest shelf. I never had a favorite book, so I could never do this, but I had fun organizing my markers by favorite color, so I’m sure this will give book lovers the same feeling, and I would’ve loved to put A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in the last slot. This method is definitely time consuming, but it’s a great way to showcase your interests and easily find your favorite books that you want to read over and over again.
5. By life stages
Image via Sunnysideup
This is a really fun one and my bookshelf was organized this way just a few months ago. Organize your books by when you read them in life. All my Dr. Seuss books were first. Then I put in my Arthur books, The Berenstain Bears series, and one of old favorites, Anne of Green Gables. On my last slot is the hardest book I’ve read to date, the original French version of The Count of Monte Cristo. You can also use the opposite method, putting your recent reads first, and the children’s books last. This is an easy way to find your books. When I was in a nostalgic mood and I only had ten minutes to read, it was way easier for me to find One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish than ever before.
6. By emotional response
Image via Children’s Book Review
This is the way my books are organized currently, and I’m planning to stick to it. This method makes it easy to both recommend books when a friend asks for a scary book or sad book, or to grab a scary or sad book for yourself when you’re in those kinds of moods. Whenever I need a sad a book, it’s easy for me to find Anna Karenina, and on sunnier days, it’s simple to grab my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (clearly the best book in the series). The best thing about organizing your books this way is that it’s really fun to do!
Bibliophiles will agree that a great bookshelf can almost replace decoration. The beauty of books, their thought-out cover designs and vast arrays of colors can easily be the center point of a room.
Besides housing books, you can also put pictures, book-ends, knick-knacks, or really anything that will sit on a flat shelf to decorate shelves or at least to use as a spot holder until you get more books to fill up your self.
Because it’s actually all about books, the most important thing you have to do is organize the shelves. Each person has a different collection of books, so, like snowflakes, no two shelves are alike. How you categorize them can be vital.
Courtesy of Pinterest
You could do it by color. This is probably the most aesthetically pleasing way, to make a rainbow row of novels. That’s the strongest feature of shaping your shelf this way. The down side can be too many books that are blue, or you can’t have all your Amish erotica books sitting by each other.
If this is your issue, it might be best to sort by genre. While this can lack visual stimulus, it can be the easiest way to find handbooks or poetry collections. Bonus points if you use the Dewey Decimal System.
You can do it chronologically. This can make you realize some parallel times and give you a grasp on history. You might not have otherwise known Mein Kampf and The Great Gatsby were published the same year.
Courtesy of Pinterest
You know your ABC’s, one of the most sedentary and fundamental things we have all learned to communicate. It can also function as an organization system for an otherwise lawless stack of books.
Whichever method you choose, your shelf is uniquely yours. You could sort by genre, color AND the ABC’s if you’re ambitious. You can also sort by none, stack them up from the ground, or use them as furniture.