Friday, 6 April 2018

Why I Organise My Bookshelves by Publisher (and why you should give it a go too)

There are many ways to organise your bookshelves: A-Z by author, colour-coded for those #shelfiesunday ‘grams, separated by genre or just plonked on the shelves. At some point in my life, my shelves have been organised in all of these ways, but I’ve never been happy with them. Until now.

After watching a video on Leena Norms’ YouTube channel, I decided to take the rogue option of organising my bookshelves by publisher, and I haven’t looked back since. For me, it is the best way to sort my books and I’m here to tell you why you should give it go a too.

It helps you align your tastes with certain publishers

As an aspiring member of the publishing industry, it is really helpful to have a knowledge of different publishing imprints and what kind of stuff they publish. As a reader, it is very helpful to know who is publishing the kind of books I like to read. Looking at my shelves in my publisher-oriented organisational method, I can tell you that I like the crime fiction that comes out of Avon (HarperCollins) and when I look for my recent favourite books, I see Faber & Faber is the home of Lullaby and Conversations with Friends.

Not only is this method incredibly helpful if you’re applying for publishing jobs at specific publishers and you want to find something you have in common with them, but it can also give you guidance when finding your next enjoyable read. I have a number of Picador titles unread on my shelves, but with the recent successes of The Miniaturist and The Muse, I’m a bit more likely to head towards the other titles next to them.

It makes you realise who you’re giving money to

The Big Publishers in the UK are Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Pan Macmillan, but each of these is home to a host of imprints with individual identities and unique lists. By getting to grips with the imprints of each big publisher and organising my shelf in such a way I can see who I’m buying the majority of books from, I have come to realise how much of an imbalance there is between the money I’m giving to conglomerates compared to the money I’m supporting smaller/indie presses with.

Something ridiculous like 1 in 4 books bought in the UK is published by Penguin Random House, which is HUGE, and it definitely plays out on my shelves because I had to dedicate an entire bookcase to books published by PRH imprints. Now, the majority of these are classics in beautiful editions like the Penguin English Library collection of the new Penguin Modern, but even so, the amount of money I’ve spent on (sometimes mediocre) PRH titles is astonishing. By rearranging my shelves and seeing where my spending lies, I’ve been inspired to hunt for books by smaller publishers and put my money where my mouth is when it comes to diversity.

It’s fun to re-organise your bookshelves!

I don’t know about you when but when I get used to my bookshelf layout, I forget to actually look at what’s on my shelves. When you have to take all of them down and put them up in a new order, you often re-discover books that you had forgotten about. Additionally, giving them a new place on the bookshelf might inspire you to read them sooner. In the end, re-organising bookshelves is just a fun activity for a rainy day and you can learn a lot of things about yourself and your reading habits from doing so.

So as part of your spring cleaning, I highly suggest you have a go at rearranging your bookshelves by publisher, even if you don't keep them that way. You can learn a lot about the publishing industry, your reading tastes, and your spending habits just by looking at the books you already own with a closer eye.

How do you arrange your bookshelves? Let me know if you decide to give this method a go!
Happy reading,
Zoe

Monday, 2 April 2018

Book Review: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Title: Conversations With Friends

Author: Sally Rooney

Pages: 321

Publication: 25th May 2017 by Faber and Faber

1 line synopsis: Frances, a 21 year old writer, gets entangled with an older married couple along with her best friend/ex-girlfriend

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Book Review: When I Hit You, Or A Portrait of a Writer as a Young Wife

Title: When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as Young Wife

Author: Meena Kandasamy

Pages: 256

Publication: 4th May 2017 by Atlantic Books

1 line synopsis: a brutal look at domestic abuse within a marriage

TW: domestic abuse, rape

Monday, 12 March 2018

Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist 2018: Thoughts, Feelings, Plans of Action

I love the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Every year, I find books I would never have even heard of had it not been for the prize, and I tend to find some of my new favourite reads. Last year was the first year I properly followed the prize from beginning to end, even going to the Bailey’s Book Bar events with my friends at Waterstones TCR. This year, I’m avidly following along once again.

In case you don’t already know, the longlist is as follows:

H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Book Review: Misogynation by Laura Bates

Title: Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism

Author: Laura Bates

Pages: 360

Publication: 22nd February 2018 by Simon & Schuster UK

1 line synopsis: a compilation of Laura Bates’ journalism on the topic of the various ways sexism influences our everyday life

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

5 reasons you should probably give up on that book you've been 'reading' forever

I have a shelf on my Goodreads account which is called 'DNF' (Did Not Finish) and since the beginning of the year, it's been growing more quickly compared to previous years. Whereas it had roughly 4 books from my 3 years of Goodreads use pre-2018, it's now sitting at a healthy 11 books long. I have officially embraced DNFing and I'm writing to convince you to do the same. Here are some signs that that current read might be better off left unfinished...

Friday, 23 February 2018

Book Review: Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Title: Lullaby

Author: Leila Slimani (tr. Sam Taylor)

Pages: 207 pages

Publication: 4th January 2018 by Faber Faber

1 line synopsis: the nanny killed the children, but why did she do it?