Two loosely related topics.
One, it seems to me that if a library has three books of a tetralogy (one in which the books are as closely related as those in the Lord of the Rings are to each other), it ought to have the fourth. What, I ask you, is the point of having Nightside the Long Sun, Lake of the Long Sun, and Exodus from the Long Sun, if you’re not going to have Calde of the Long Sun? I am now unable to finish the Book of the Long Sun until I somehow get a copy of Calde… which sucks, because the BotLS is pretty awesome. I’ll take this opportunity to once again recommend the works of Gene Wolfe to whoever is listening. I haven’t read anything by him yet that didn’t bewilder, mislead, and ultimately awe me.
Two, I’m trying to organize my personal library, and finding it somewhat difficult. Ignoring the question of ownership – some of the books on my shelves were bought by my parents, some by me, and some I have no idea – there’s the question of how to sort them. Currently, I have two main sections – “school books” and “non school books”. The school books – basically, all the books I’ve read in my English and Philosophy classes the last few years – are arranged chronologically. The other section contains everything else – the Redwall books and stuff like that, but also some non-fiction, some dictionaries, some collections of ancient mythology… and this stuff’s organized by subject matter, loosely, with some books just fit in wherever they can be.
Now, this doesn’t seem ideal to me; I’m probably going to end up organizing by subject matter, ignoring whether or not I read it for school or not. So, ‘literature’, ‘sci-fi/fantasy’ (including collections of mythology), ‘philosophy’, ‘history’ loosely defined… and then arrange those chronologically. The problem is this makes some things hard to categorize – some seem to fit in multiple categories, some in none at all, some need their own special category… plus I don’t have infinite bookshelves to put them on. A very limited number, actually.
Hm… anyone have a better sorting solution? Alphabetical could work, perhaps… but it seems so inelegant. What if I forget the name of the author but know around when it was written (much more likely than forgetting when it was written but knowing the author)? And sorting by subject seems necessary – otherwise there’s no organization at all, just meaningless order. Meaningless order, in some ways, bugs me more than disorder.