How I Store All of My Books…Revisited

I’m sure that at least once, you’ve heard me talk (brag) about my collection of physical books. As of the time that I’m writing this I have 1905 books in my room….yes, in ONE room.

Back in February of 2012, I wrote the first “How I Store All of My Books” post. This seems to be the most popular post on my blog, even two years later. It seems that readers, authors, and all other book lovers enjoy seeing a large collection of books. Or maybe they thought I wrote the post beautifully…but I doubt that. It was one of the first posts from when I started focusing on turning this into a serious book blog. The post was flawed all over the place, I’m sure. Luckily at least, I’ve learned how to make them prettier ūüėČ

Back at the time of the first post I had around 1,300 books. When I reached the 1,000 mark a few months earlier, I didn’t think I’d have much more room left to store my books. Then I got to the 1,300 range and still doubted I could fit more. How did I get up to the 1,900 and beyond level in the same one bedroom? Creativity, sacrifice, determination to feed the addiction!

In the pictures from the first post you can see exactly how I make the most of my shelf space, and I spell it out in the text to bring the point home. My mass-market paperback shelves are stacks three deep, four across, and as tall as the shelf can hold. There are HUNDREDS in the one case. This is similar to how I shelve the other cases and types of books, as well. I won’t bore anyone with rewriting this all again. You can refer back to the first post for that. Instead, I want to just briefly talk about how I “made” more room.

When you think you’ve run out of space, think outside the box. Or in this instance, think outside the bookcase. As long as there is a top to the case, there is another shelf. On one case, I built up the sides to extend the case upward. That allowed me to house even more books there. I put a top on that…for another shelf (See section 3 for those pics, with the DVD mention). I also do the same thing without the use of extra wood. You just have to make sure the books are of similar size and sturdy enough to stay in stacks. Hardcovers work best for this, but trade paperbacks that aren’t too warped with over reading work as well.

Bored yet? I hope not. I don’t really think there’s much else to say about how I store all these books other than if the time comes when I have to get rid of my bed, I might do that and just sleep on books. My dog might not like that though because he sleeps under the bed at times. Desperate times make us do drastic things, though.

I hope this revisit of my book collection was all I made it out to be. I’m sure I’ll be able to do another in the future. Soon I’ll be at 2,000 books and won’t know what to do with myself then. Can’t wait for that milestone!

Oh, and as an added bonus, I threw some pics at the bottom of the post that aren’t of books. I have some “decorative” bookish things in my room. I wanted to share some of them with everyone.

One last fun fact before you can see my books: At the end of the post two years ago, I mentioned that I was reading Rebecca Hamilton’s¬†The Forever Girl.¬†This time, as a pure coincidence, I’m reading an ARC of Come, The Dark, book 2 of¬†The Forever Girl series.

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1. Mass-Market Paperbacks

Three stacks deep

Top shelf


Middle shelf


Bed level shelf. Holds the most.


Below bed level. Holds the books I’ve already read and some I know I won’t get to for a long time.

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2. Mainly Trade PB and Small HC


Top shelf


Middle shelf


Bottom shelf. Mainly large hardcovers.

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3. Other Shelves


Built this to stack books on top of my DVD area, which is on top of another book case.


The poetry bookcase


I used to hold my DVDs in this case, but realized I could fit more books in here than DVDs, so I put the DVDs up top. The top shelf is mainly signed books, there are others mixed throughout the shelves as well.


If you stack the same sized books on top of things…it’s almost stable enough to trust .


Mainly children’s/middle grade/Harry Potter books


Right now being used to hold short story collections for A Storied Week reading.


My Preston/Child hardcovers (1st editions) and a few others. have to use all the space you have.

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4. Just a few more places, I promise.


My Animorphs collection (almost the entire series). Haven’t read them since I was much younger, but I might¬†


Was able to get rid of some board games and other useless stuff last year. Cleared up this entire shelf in my “closet”. Just wish I could clear the two shelves above it. Will have to do that in time. This may have been in the first post.


Same shelf. Storing them two deep.


Another area where I hope stacking them is stable enough.

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5. The Fun Section: Some of the book decorations in my room.


Some of the first swag I got from Tiffany King! (And my iPod thing, displaying the wrong time.)


An illustration from Cinta Garcia de la Rosa’s The Funny Adventures of Little Nani.


Huge print of the ORIGINAL cover for Tiffany King’s book No Attachments, in a crude frame made from the cardboard it was shipped in.


Random bookmarks (I switch them out regularly). Some of my Grimoire saga Swag from S.M. Boyce and a flyer from a poetry reading for Jericho Brown.


Just had to show my huge dictionary that I use less than I thought I would when I got it.

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Did you enjoy this post? Has it inspired you to rearrange your bookshelves and free up some space?

I’d love to see what my readers book collections look like. If anyone would like to share some pictures and info about their collections, I’d be open to posting a guest edition of this post featuring a reader’s collection. It’d be great to be able to show various personal libraries to everyone else.

If this sounds fun to you, comment on this post or message me through the contact form and we’ll get that all set up.

#Review: The Borrower, by @RebeccaMakkai

Title: The BorrowerThe Borrower
Author: Rebecca Makkai
Rating: 5/5 stars

In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. 

Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?” (description from Goodreads)


It’s not often I come across a book that I enjoyed so much, but can’t really write down words to convey my reaction. Instead of trying to write my review right away, I’ve given it a few days. I let the book play over in my head. I’m happy to say that the story is still fresh in my mind and I almost want to reread it already.

Makkai have written an incredible début novel. The Borrower is filled with a cast of diverse and enjoyable characters, a mild suspense that keeps a reader flipping page after page, and a coming of age story of a unique sort.

Not only is this an enchanting tale of Lucy and Ian’s cross-country trip/run from the law, it’s also a coming of age story about Lucy finding out about herself, her family, and contemplating something as large as the our nation of runaways. There are many different levels to pick this book apart from and each is as well-written as the others.

I probably didn’t say much helpful in this review, but as I said, it’s hard to put my reaction into words for this book. Lucy and Ian are great characters, I was sad that this book didn’t have another 300 pages of them on an adventure. But I’m pleased with everything I read. Makkai will definitely be added to my list of favorite authors, even after reading only her d√©but novel.


You can grab a copy of this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Fun extras:

Here’s a fun list to look at. A reader took the time to write down a majority of the books mentioned in¬†The Borrower. This was a great thing for me to find because when I first started reading the book I felt the need to write down each book mentioned. That was slowing down my reading considerably, haha. So if you’re curious to see what books Lucy the librarian mentions in her story, here they are:

The Borrower Book List

I’d also like to take a second and mention the Books on the Nightstand Podcast. I was listening to an episode back in December and they mentioned this book. It’s a brief mention, but just enough to make me want to find a copy…so I did.

Episode #138


About the Author:

Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose second novel,The Hundred-Year House, will be available from Viking/Penguin in summer, 2014. Her first novel,¬†The Borrower, is a¬†Booklist¬†Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an¬†O Magazine¬†selection, and one of¬†Chicago Magazine‘s choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction has been chosen for¬†The Best American Short Stories¬†for four consecutive years (2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008), and appears regularly in journals like¬†Harper’s,¬†Tin House,¬†Ploughshares, andNew England Review.

Find out more:

Audiobooks – Like ’em, Hate ’em?




Have you tried out audiobooks? Have you stayed away from them for one reason or another?

I was once hesitant to read books through listening. I never thought I’d be able to get the same thing out of the words as directly from the text. The narrator(s) would sound like a completely different person than I’d have imagined myself. (Add in all the other “cons” to audio, if you’d like.)

I was wrong…

I tried my first audiobooks a few years ago when I got my dog. I figured that now that I have to take time to walk him that I could spend reading…I could combine the two. It took a few walks to get used to, but I started enjoying it. I found that doing basic chores and activities allows for the mind to wander. When you put headphones on, and start reading a book instead, my mind can focus on the words/book. Dog walking’s a pretty simple thing to do. I’ve also done this while riding my bike (sounds dangerous, but I don’t go on many roads, just trails through the woods around my house).

My most recent audiobook reading has taken place while shoveling my driveway. For hours a day, I can be reading, all while making sure I can get out of the house and to the store the next day. Since about November, when the snows got enough to shovel, I was able to read the rest of the Pendergast series, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. I’ve also taken some time to read a few shorter books while doing work around the house. My reading time increased greatly.

So, who wants to try out audio now? I know it’s not for everyone. And there are some books that I’d rather read from the text to enjoy it in a different way. Also, there’s the fact that for a review, I’d rather read the book than listen. Audio doesn’t really factor in formatting or editing/proofreading. Those factor into my reviews though.

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I have a few resources for those who want to try out audiobooks , but can’t afford them. I know¬†I can’t afford most audiobooks. I’d rather spend less than $5 on the print or ebook, than $20-25 for the audio. So instead, I got to the library!

It seems like many libraries have started getting digital collections in ebook and audio formats. Instead of going to the library and borrowing the book or CD, you can now download files to your computers or tablets/mobile devices, then listen or read the books. Great what technology can do right?

There might be a few apps to help you link up with your local library. The one I use is Overdrive. That’s where I first found out about this option for borrowing library books.

Another place to go, the first place I went, is Librivox. You won’t find new books here, but you’ll never pay for one either. Librivox is a place set up for volunteer narrators to record audiobooks for public domain works (most books published before 1923). Have you wanted to read a classic, but it’s a little slow to read or grasp the older writing style? Try the audio! For me, listening to many of the classics has gotten me past my hesitations about them…and I’ve started enjoying them. Just keep in mind that since they are read by volunteers, you might not get the best quality recordings of a professional studio. But there are some narrators that are also professionally employed and seem to have better equipment and also some great voices for the job.

You can also check Audible. I did mention that most books are expensive, but there’s always some discounts going around. Many audio books are discounted to anywhere between $0.99-4.99 if you own the ebook (if the Whispersync option is set up for the book. Find out more on that here.

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I think now, I’ll end the post. There’s more to discuss regarding audiobooks, but I’ll save that for another time. (Like, is it really reading? I know some people have mixed feelings about that.)

Now it’s time to hear your thoughts. Do you already read audiobooks? Do you want to try one out now? Still against it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And remember, like I just said, some time soon, I’ll be revisiting this discussion to expand on the “morals” code of books, and whether or not listening is still reading.

Aged Pages: Give Back, Support Your Favorite Store

Aged Pages, new banner
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It’s yet again, another Wednesday. That means it’s again time for another installment of Aged Pages.

Most of the time when I go into a used bookstore I’m going to fulfill MY needs for books. What I don’t often consciously keep in mind is that it’s a business. A bookstore isn’t just a place for me to find great books and bring them back to a new loving home. It’s also a place that needs money to run and keep providing the great service to the community that it does.

There’s a simple way to help out and there’s a not so simple, or at least not so easy way. The obvious way to help out the business is to buy from them and buy from them often. This is the case for any store. I’ve had the¬†luxury¬†of doing business with used bookstores for years. Over that time, I’ve been given the perks of getting discounts often. But despite this, I can still make up for that small loss of sales. All I need to do is come back to the store often. Sometimes, back in college when I had nothing better to do, I’d go in multiple times a week and just grab books. Who doesn’t love that.

Not everyone can get to a bookstore often. There are more people who just don’t have the money to spend sometimes. Currently, I am one of these people. I tend to spend the little money I have in my wallet when I go to a bookstore and not have it for more “necessary” things. (It’s the curse of being a book addict.)

When you don’t have money to spend, you can always help out by spreading the word about a particular bookstore to friends, family, and random people you walk by on the street. That last one could be a little creepy, but it could also be very hilarious. It could also lead to either a new friend, or in the very least a new customer.

Now that the obvious and more simple suggestions are out of the way….it’s time to get serious. Why are we about to get serious? That’s easy…I’m about to commit a crime book addicts everywhere may hunt me down for. This suggestion won’t be for everyone to partake in. Only the strong will accomplish it.

A way to support a used bookstore and keep it afloat in the difficult times all bookstores are in right now is…to…bring in….b…o…o…ks. There I said it. Bring in your books. Many used bookstores buy back books that are in acceptable condition. You maybe get around half the price that they’d sell it back for, but it’s still some money in your pocket. At my bookstore I know you get a larger percentage back if you accept store credit instead of cash. So in the end using this method helps everyone. And if you want to be very generous, you can always donate the books and accept no money for them.

Woah….I’m still alive and allowed to keep typing up this post. Good. I was scared for a moment. Let me keep going on the topic of giving book back. There are some readers who either don’t mind reading a book and selling/giving it back to the store and there are also some readers who simply can’t fit more books in their home but LOVE to read. I personally find it extremely hard to part with a book, let alone many books. I’ve only sold books back on a few occasions. This was when I accidentally had a double of a book or my mom didn’t want some romance novels anymore (since I wouldn’t read them anyway).

In a way buying and giving ¬†back is similar to having a library system. Only this one isn’t exactly “free” like a library. On the bright side, you’re directly funding this¬†pseudo-library and not ¬†tax dollars.

Well, that was my rant about supporting a used bookstore. But remember libraries are also great places to get books (not that I follow this advice since I hate giving books back ūüėõ ). Yes, that’s very PSA of me so I’ll just stop now.

Happy reading and all that. Go smell some musty pages!