We need to talk about something serious.

I have a problem.

Are you guys sitting down? I’m pretty sure you can’t handle this revelation if you aren’t.

I have a big, huge, tree-killing problem.

I have a glorious, word-a-licious, imagination fueling issue.


I love them and they love me.

The issue is, I get a ton (TON) of books sent to me each week and I love them all. I dream about them. I touch their spines lovingly. I put them in nice piles and organize them in my own unique way that no one else will ever understand. I look on them with pride, because my house is filled with more worlds and interesting people than just about anywhere but the nearest library or bookstore.

Books are here. Books are there. Books, books everywhere.

Wait. Rewind.


“Sarah, you do realize that there are these cool new devices called bookshelves that totally do away with the need to have piles.”

Piles. Because I have five floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my house, it it took me a grand total of 30 minutes to fill the one I just got a few weeks ago up to bursting and start two new cute piles on the left side of it. Currently my piles are teenagers. Soon they will be adults and require a home/organization method of their own.

Can we all be honest with each other for a minute? If you read book blogs, you probably have a problem (a wonderful problem) similar to mine.

How do you deal with your problem? Do you have tidy piles? Do you hide your piles? Is there a method to pile-hiding that I’m not aware of so the general populous doesn’t know you have a (wonderful) problem (also known as the Spousal Anger Avoidance Method of dealing with this wonderful problem)? Or do you say, “screw it” and embrace your books, your book piles, and look fondly on all of the words, worlds, and incredible people you share your house with?

Be honest, my lovely readers.

Let’s talk books.

Let’s talk piles.

Let’s talk about our (wonderful) problem.

(This post is brought to you by the fact that I have come down with the flu and I’m too horrid feeling to think straight, as reflected above.)

13 Responses

  • *steps up to mic*

    My name is Ellie and I have piles…wait. That didn’t sound right. Stacks. I have stacks.

    It has been three days since I bought my last book. I have filled four 6ft bookcases, some of them double-stacked, and there are now books piled on top of the bookcases as high up as I can reach on my tiptoes. My stacks are developing sub-stacks.

    And I still can’t stop buying books (17 since the middle of August). Like you I enjoy just looking at them, touching them, remembering why or when I bought each one. They’re old friends, every one of them.

    I think I have a problem.

  • “Or do you say, “screw it” and embrace your books,”

    and that would be the reason why I describe my apartment as looking like “a library thew up”. I ran out of shelving (and space for shelving) years ago, so now books just get stacked up against the wall in the bedroom. There is a bookalanche every few weeks, it’s not pretty.

  • Hi Sarah,

    I don’t get anywhere near as many books as you do…but yeah, I have a couple of piles of books I’ve received and not yet read. Piles.

    And that doesn’t even count the physical books I’ve bought. I buy many more ebooks than physical books, but non fiction and gorgeous books (e.g. The Natural History of Dragons books) are bought in a physical edition…

  • I double stack books on each shelf and add little overflow piles into any space near the edges. When that (inevitably) fails, I buy a new shelf and start over. Some day, I’ll build me a Beauty and the Beast library and all my pile problems will disappear. Hey, a girl can dream, right?!

  • Embrace? Heck with that. I hug. I cuddle. I border on being needy.

    Occasionally, I remember to dust…

    I currently only own one bookcase. ONE.

    I know.

    But soon (like, next week soon! Yay!) I’ll finally have my own place and can fill it as need be with more! See, I’m good to my bookpiles…

  • I cured myself of piles. I got a Kindle.

  • I read a lot of ebooks, but I do love physical books too. I have given boxes and boxes of books to our local library, which in turn sells them to raise money. Most books I know I won’t read (or read again), so I have no problem giving them away. I have a nice WOT set minus the last two books that I will probably give to a local used book store bc I don’t think I will reread the series (I don’t love it like others do).

    I like collecting books, but am happy with a modest treasure. I don’t get books for free like you do, so maybe it is easier for me to say that.

  • When we moved down to VA we had 19 days from the time I got the offer to the actual move. We got rid of roughly half our combined books. It got to the point where even sentimental value was no longer enough. This, more than anything else, is what convinced my wife of the value of an e-reader.

    We still hit the used book stores and library sales, but we have 1 or 2 big trade-in piles per year.

    While still lacking enough shelf space, our piles are at least manageable.

  • Hello Sarah,

    I have resigned myself to the fact that I do not have a problem. Its my shelves that are the problem. I mean c’mon, you’re a shelf! You’re supposed to hold books. What d’ya mean there are too many? Do your shelf thang and sort it out. Honestly.

  • I am not ashamed to admit I am a book hoarder. Worse yet, my husband enables this disorder. Not only do we both still have every book ever gifted to or purchased by us since childhood, we have continued to hoard, separately and together, for the last 24 years. Books to the left of us. Books to the right of us. Books on free-standing bookshelves, books on built-in wall shelves carved into a hallway wall out of desperation, books in cupboards, on tables, in corners… Two years ago, my husband brought home eight cartons of antique books given to him by a co-worker who was cleaning out their elderly parents’ home. These books are still in various stages of sorting, all over the floor in my family room, because it is like Christmas every day and I cannot get over them. I have two lovely stacks on my dining room table – new books I snatched from the “library” at my publisher’s office, and another on the ottoman next to my chair as I write this – new purchases from the last month. It will only get worse. But if there’s a cure, I don’t want it. I own and defend my affliction – with lethal force, if necessary 🙂

  • I used to have the same problem. Piles here and there, boxes of books in basements. And my bookcase was filled, then I started making double-rows, laying books on top of the rows, and stacking them up next to the bookcase.

    Thank goodness for ebooks! I have given tons and tons of physical books, and keep my Kindle close. This is particularly important because clutter bends my brain and makes me uneasy in a room that houses it.

  • My husband and I have more than 50 bookcases filled to capacity. The SF/F/H bookshelves are nearly all double-shelved, and the shelf in the master bedroom closet is filled with more books, also double-shelved. Mysteries are also double-shelved, as is most of the non-fiction. The linen closet houses the Emily Dickinson collection (my husband is a Dickinson scholar and has just about every book ever written about her poetry), while the pantry houses the cookbooks and gastronomy books. The family room cabinets are filled with SF and mystery magazines, which also cover the floor under the clothes in the master bedroom. We moved into our present home a little over three years ago, and had 350 boxes of books then; we suspect it would be more like 500 boxes now, though the greatest increase in our collection has been in the form of ebooks (which are mostly at home in the cloud, because they far exceed my Kindle’s capacity).

    Yes, we’re nuts, but it’s a wonderful insanity, and I don’t plan to recover from my biblioholism any time soon.

  • For now, my books are under control in eight floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. I have started reading e-books to avoid the overcrowding problem!

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