Tag Archives: books

How To Organise Your Bookshelf, Part 2

So its been roughly a week, and I’m checking up on the progress of my bookshelf project. I was very busy (*cough cough* busy procrastinating *cough cough* but I’ve at least picked up all the books that were lying on the floor or stacked on top of the shelves. So, without further ado,  here is the new and improved Library de la Mrsmarlenehawthorne…


The bottom shelf is now two rows of fantasy and historical fantasy: much better, finally! And for those of you who were wondering,  the Order of the Phoenix randomly placed in the middle is actually fake – a hollowed out version with a secret compartment for my top secret stash of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!


Now my ‘favourite’ fiction shelf, with the very battered books as I like to think of them – JK’s finest, of course, but also Divergent, The Hunger Games, Blood Red Road, and the more obscure ones which remain firmly rooted in my heart such as the my perpetually incomplete Darren Shan books and a gem of a discount bookshop find called Dark Parties by Sara Grant.  Mostly Dystopia, the genre that has won my heart.


The classics bookshelf! Bookmarks sticking out everywhere, as you can see – I procrastinate reading classics sometimes too. I also made the difficult decision of putting The Lord of The Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia on this shelf, too, rather than fantasy or deeo fantasy. I’ve had that copy of Narnia since I was seven, which I received  along with a toy mermaid from what I can remember. Over a decade later and it still remains one of the most intelligent, insightful, captivating reads to have ever existed. Easy enough for a seven year old to read (or at least seven year old me, but then again that was the only thing I was good at as a child) but now,  nearing adulthood, I still pick up tiny clues and insights that I missed the last time I read it. If you haven’t read it yourself – why the hell not! It’s deep fantasy for people who don’t like deep fantasy and probably comes highest recommended on my list.


Finally the most asthetically pleasing area of the bookshelf,  my… ummm… teen reads? ‘Popular’ books? It’s a wierd mix of ‘girly’ diaries and John Green or Nick Hornby. It makes sense to me to think of it as all the fiction that is set in the real world and current ish time (although it’s really an alternative universe when you think about it, otherwise all the things in the book would have to have happened in real life, and they haven’t, so…). But I’m really quite proud of how it looks,  and hopefully when I get a bit of free time ( I don’t get free time) I’ll sort the others to look nearly as good.


Now the top two shelves, which you first see when you enter. The series are very muddled in order, but are at least together, and there’s a vague semblance of the front stacks ( they’re double layered) being fantasy, although you can see that from the Micheal Morpurgo book, for example, that it isn’t quite. But it’s way better than it was! And by the time I sorted this out I’d been going for hours,  so with my laziness it’s impressive that the genre is together at all.


And finally, the shelf you still can’t see, hidden behind my work folders. It’s actually probably the most sorted of all the shelves there, with clear fantasy all the way through, and some amazing authors: Derek Landy, Malorie Blackman, Scott Westerfield and more. Once again, if I ever get the chance, I’ll sort it out properly into favourite to least favourite but for now, this is the total of all my updated bookshelves.

If anyone’s done the same as me, please let me know: any big projects completed over the school holidays?  For me, this was huge, as there are about 500 currently ‘living’ in my bedroom. What about you guys? Are you a hoarder or a borrower? Let me  know in the comments. Good luck! And…



How To Organise Your Bookshelf, Part 1

I’ll be the first to say that I am no interior design expert- I don’t even live in my own house! But I am passionate about reading and my books would probably,  worryingly enough,  be one of the first things I’d save in a fire. So, based on extensive (*coughs*) research, here are 5 of my top ways to proudly present your books.


This is the most common and although not always the easiest to do, it is certainly the easiest to use once the bookshelf is complete. Looking for books by rummaging will be a thing of the past,  particularly for those of you with a logical mind. This is my goal for the holidays,  too, so comment below if you’re planning on doing the same.


This is probably the most contreversial: amazing to look at, undeniably, but for those of us who aren’t very pictorial of mind,  not the easiest to find books. Organise your LGBTQ+ fiction into a rainbow, travel guides into a flag, YA fiction into clashing colours… The possibilities are endless. I would advise this best for people who don’t use their collection too much, and have a fair amount of books to arrange.


Fancy a laugh? Feeling down? Want an easy summer beach read? Organising by genre is something you’ve probably already unconsciously done, even if it’s just fiction/nonfiction or poetry/novels. And it can be used with many other methods, like alphabetical action or colour coded cookbooks.


This is for those of you with a bit more time on your hands. Buy some thin paper, similar to tissue paper but slightly thicker (I think it might be called craft paper? If someone knows what I’m on about, comment below) and cover all your books with it. Use different colours and colour code them, or all the same fours for continuity. Now put them back. Voilà! Every time you pick up a book, in theory anyway, you won’t know what to expect.  “Don’t judge a book by its cover” in action.
For those of you who don’t fancy a craft project, much the same effect can be obtained from turning the spines to face inwards.


The list goes on. If you like visuals, organising by publisher will give you similiar spines lined up next to each other.  Try book poetry or book writing and spell phrases out with your titles on the book shelves. Order them based on emotions: the laughter level, crying corner, nostalgia nook…

Good luck with your projects and of anyone does decide to reorder their shelves, let me know! By the end of this week I should have lovely, probably alphabetical bookshelves and I will be posting an ‘after ‘ picture to accompany this ‘before’. Good luck, readers!


The bottom shelf is awful, oh dear…


Hermione’s accusing face, she doesn’t like the mess either…


Lily Collins, guardian of the languages, non fiction (some of) and graphic novels


The main shelf, currently half hidden behind work and a complete mess


The ‘to be put away’ pile, which has been there more or less since Christmas, along with a textbook or two

We Love People For Who They Aren’t, Not Who They Are.

I was reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and, as often happens because I’m a speedy reader, I mis – read a character saying that they loved someone because of who they were and saw weren’t. I re – read it and realised my mistake,  but by then the gears in my brain were whirring away.

I love people for the qualities they lack. I love my best friend because she isn’t impatient, rather than because she is patient. Patience is surely just the lack of impatience: because we wouldn’t notice patience if there weren’t impatient people to compare to. Apply this to any adjective and you get my thought: I love my sister because she isn’t selfish. I love my friend because he isn’t stupid.

Voilà: now you’re thinking like a confused teen. Give yourself a gold star.

Why Every Teenage Girl (and Everyone Else I Guess, But I’m Making a Point) Should Read Rainbow Rowell ‘s Fangirl




If you haven’t heard of Fangirl, where have you been?


Oh, that’s right. Outside.


Social lives apart,  those of us that are the most ‘active in the fandom’  will have seen that green, geek – ed up cover all over tumblr and Facebook. I was both scornful and desperate whenever it was mentioned (I have a haughty mode I retreat into whenever someone says that they’re a fan, like I’m going to out fan them). Ever since I aquired a copy of the book, however, I’ve felt nothing but the upmost respect and admiration for an author who seems that AWARE. The only person who’s ever come close was John Green and he needs no mention by me.


She’s a developed enough writer to use Khaled Housseni’s precious irony (pretty sure I spelt his name wrong) but connected enough to actually REALLY understand us confused teens, when we don’t understand ourselves.


Sure, she’s a good writer. But the subject matter makes the book, and you’ll rarely find anything as important as Fangirl. It’s not about war. It’s not about gay rights.  It’s not about social inequality or the class system or rape. It’s simply a book about pop culture.


Yes, this girl called Cather is, to put it mildly,  OBSESSED with pop culture: and a series about a boy called Simon Snow in particular. As someone who cannot remember a time in their life before Harry Potter,  I can especially relate. So I’m betting,  judging by the amount of people I’ve met through he Internet who have been fanpeople themselves, the it’s relatable to millions of others.  And to those who frown on the socially inept, there are party animal main characters too.


But I think that the most important thing is the fact that Cather has so many ‘imperfections’. She’s sarcastic. She’s pear shaped. She wears glasses. She turns people away and isn’t interested in making friends. She cries. She clings to home. And, most importantly, her first real romance doesn’t happen until she’s 18. Chances are she doesn’t lose her virginity before the age of 19.


When/if I become a parent, I would rather my child learnt the sort of principles this book gave me. In my case, I picked up on the importance of family bonds but also the importance of independence.  Knowing when to be selfless but also having to think about yourself. And having to sometimes push yourself to do school assignments you really don’t want to do…


It’s also also a sigh of relief for the less promiscuous among us. I’m not old fashioned, I don’t aim for a virgin marriage,  I just mean that it’s important to know yourself and when you want things. And, like Wren, to be assertive enough to get them. Whether that’s after 3 years of dating or 3 minutes of aquaintance,  as long as the person is confident enough in their decision not to regret it.


But it also teaches that promiscuity isn’t all that bad. As Ani Difranco, my go-to girl for feminism says: “Promiscuity is nothing more than travelling,  there’s more than one way to see the world. Some of us like to stick close to home, and some of us are Colombus: well, what can I say? Nature always gets her way. ..”

Wren, as the more promiscuous twin, gets her character dragged through the Chelsea Flower Show backwards ( if you don’t know what that is,  you don’t watch enough BBC2). But in the end, she really is redeemed, and maybe that’s Rowell’s little nudge to say, hey, readers, judge people less and accept them more.


And don’t even get me started on Nick! She set him up as the perfect male character,  intelligent, kind, funny, flirtatious… and then shoots him down in flames. But we see his personality beginning to grate on Cath a little bit up to then, and maybe that’s a good thing. A symbol to us females that the Nick (or Nicole) of our dreams likely doesn’t exist, and that we should open our eyes more and our hipster book character sensors less.



I have a lot else I could say on why this book is perfect, I guess, but it’s already taken me two days to write this. To be continued…