Looking for tips on how to organize your bookshelf? Check out these tips from New York Times bestselling author E. Lockhart. And while you’re re-organizing your bookshelf, pick up your copy of We Were Liars and look out for Family of Liars! Tag us in your bookshelfie at @getunderlined!
How E. Lockhart organizes her bookshelf
I am a selfish wench, and I like everything just the way I like it, so I keep my books separate from the books belonging to other people in my family. The organization is quite internal to me. They’re grouped by projects and read status. I doubt a stranger visiting my home could figure out the logic to it! Also, I give away books all the time. I have a Little Free Library outside, and I donate things nearly every week when I am done with them.
This is the best bookshelf in the house. (We have way more shelves than I am showing you.) It is the best because it’s blue and also because it is the Shelf of Future Adventures. There are some reference and keepsake books at the very top, and below those are beloved books I think I’ll reread. You can see Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints, some P. G. Wodehouse, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and Hustlers and Conmen by Jay Robert Nash.
Below that is the Future Adventures part. Basically, it is my TBR pile, plus a painting of a monster by illustrator Sergio Ruzzier and some beautiful china plates that belonged to my grandmother. The books range from nonfiction (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach) to graphic novels (Batman: Year One by Frank Miller) to older detective fiction (The Big Gold Dream by Chester Himes). I’ve got some fairy tale collections and books about Broadway shows, a lot of literary fiction, and a few classics. I love having this shelf because there’s always some new journey calling to me from it.
This office shelf is mostly grouped by project. At the top, the complete Jane Austen (it’s just fun to own them; I read everything she wrote a million times already in paperback), then books connected to various things I have written. The most obvious influence on Family of Liars, We Were Liars, and many of my other books is The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
You can see craft books and books I use for teaching, books by my dad, superhero research books for Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero, children’s literature history, notebooks about various projects, and books in some kind of current rotation—I’m about to read them, I’m using them for something, I’ve just finished them, or I’m halfway through them. For Family of Liars, I used the exercises in Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron to get me started.
I have a collection of picture books, paperback separated from hardcover. I use these for teaching and also I love them very much. I do not give these away but hoard them very happily.