Bookish Resolutions: Organize Those Shelves

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Give your bookshelves some love

I don’t know about you, but I am swimming in books. More books come in the mail almost daily, and I get a little (ok, a lot) behind on organizing my shelves. Let’s kick off 2019 with revamping, reorganizing, and refreshing our bookshelves together.

Sort by Color

This reader gets a bit of anxiety over this one...While it is aesthetically pleasing and the artist side of me the OCD side says, “but how will you find the book you want???”

Bookstagrammers like @paperfury share GORGEOUS photos usually color themed...and they make me drool. But the thought of doing that with my own books...Scares the daylights out of me.

The “Standard” Method

While we’re on the subject, this is the way I organize my shelves:

I sort the sections of my reading nook by Genre, first. Then I alphabetize by the author’s surname. If that author has any stand-alone books, I place those in alphabetical order by the title. Then if the author has any book series I place those in alphabetical order by series name then Book 1, Book 2, etc. My Nonfiction books are organized by subject and then title.

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Books Read, Want to Read, Favorites, Not Favorites...

It’s like the real-life version of Goodreads. Sorting your books into these categories will make it easier to figure out what to read next, what books to loan out, which books to reread, and which books are only good for collecting dust (because let’s face it, we all own books we didn’t like but can’t part with, it feels like betrayal).

Frequency of Use

This is good for your reference books, nonfiction, etc. I keep my WWII nonfiction books on the easier to reach shelves because I am more likely to read those ones than the biographies of past presidents. But that’s just me.

Organize by Size

I love that we have an abundance of kids books. But trying to organize them is next to impossible. I keep collections together as much as possible (see below) but the randomness of the rest of the books can just get confusing. So, I have taken to organizing by SIZE. It gives the shelf an organized FEEL and lets it all flow nicely.

Collections

Being a homeschool mom, I have my fair share of different collections of books. Eyewitness, geography types, different vintage collections, and reader collections. I always keep these ones together. It just makes life so much easier when I know where to find that geography book about the Appalachian Mountains.

Pretties

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My bookshelves hold more than just books. Granted the more I acquire the fewer places I have to put pretties on the shelves. But I still make it work. A few things to add a little flavor to your shelves can be:

Storage Books

Framed Quotes

Twinkle Lights

Bookish Candles

Funko POP!

Cactus

Willow Tree

Shells

Flowers

Send us your beautiful shelfies on social media @hopebythebook


Rachel enjoys reading, reviewing books, and sharing her passion for literature at www.bookwormmama.org. She's a virtual assistant and shares the small-town life with her husband and children.

Bookish Resolutions: Be a Read-Aloud Family

Making Time for Books and Family

 Beginning new traditions can be refreshing...but sometimes we don’t know where to begin. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your everyday routine.

 Read Aloud Revival

Sarah Mackenzie’s book, The Read-Aloud Family is a book to help us connect with our kids and help prepare them for the future, all through reading books aloud together. With tips and encouragement for families with kids of all ages. But how do we get started?

 

The Bed-Time Story

I don’t know about you, but when bed-time rolls around I am READY to have some peace and quiet. There are days when my husband and I have to force ourselves to slow down and honor the bed-time story routine that we have established.

Recently we have been reading a little bit of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone each night. We have the illustrated edition which both kids (and us adults) absolutely love. Reading together before bed has become a good way for us to come together at the end of the day, put all electronics aside, calm down the rambunctious children, and focus on a good story.

Whether you set a time limit, chapter limit, or pick a short story book or two, I encourage you to give this a try.

 

Lunch Reading

The curriculum that we use for our homeschooling (BookShark) incorporates the reading aloud of several books throughout the school year. This is one of the reasons I decided to go with them in the first place. Every day we read a portion of the current book, discuss the vocabulary, talk about what might happen next, ask questions about the setting and people, and we do all of this while the boys are eating lunch.

I have found that this is a really good way to include my youngest (who isn’t quite school age yet) in our daily classroom routine. Whether you are using a curriculum that incorporates reading aloud or not, you can easily begin reading aloud during lunch. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend Little House in the Big Woods or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

 

Morning Devotions

A new tradition that we are starting in our home, thanks to a little inspiration from Jessica Smartt’s Memory-Making Mom (watch for my review of this incredible book in our Spring issue), is morning devotions. Now, this is something that I have tried and failed, to do for the past couple of years. The boys were antsy, I was too busy trying to organize the rest of the day, nothing we did made it stick.

And then, I had an “Ah-ha” moment while reading Smartt’s book and I decided to give it another go. Freshly baked muffins, “tea” in fancy cups, candle, flowers, and devotions. And do you know what? It was a huge success. I am super excited to continue this on a daily basis.

 

Juggling the Age Differences

Luckily, my two boys are pretty close in age. Although, while one is beginning to get a decent grip on reading, the other can’t tell his colors apart yet. So what do you do when you have an extremely varied age range?

 

The Toddlers

This is an easy age for reading aloud. Although reading the SAME book again for the 17th time that day can get a little rough. Why not take a jaunt over to the library and select a couple new board books to try? Or check out Usborne’s That’s Not My… series. These are some of my all-time favorite toddler books! Sensory, repetition, and OPTIONS! You can have the same style of book in so many different editions, it’s glorious.

 

Beginning to Read

Like I said earlier, my oldest is just on the edge of getting a good grip on reading. Plainly put, we are in the excruciating period where it takes a painfully long time for him to get through 1 line. But do you know what? I don’t care how long it takes him, because HE IS READING!!! We do use a lot of the I Can Read! books for schoolwork, but my personal favorite is the My First Reading Library. It gets the parent/teacher involved in the reading as well. I read a page, he reads a page, and repeats. It is nice because the stories are able to use a broader range of vocabulary than if he were required to read the book in its entirety. “Cat sat. Cat ran. Cat ran and sat.” type of stuff. 

 

The Older Kids

I have very distinct memories of sitting around the living room and reading together as a family. We would each take turns reading a chapter and then pass it on to the next family member. We read The Chronicles of Narnia in this fashion and other stories. Looking back, I suppose I should have read-aloud more as a child/teen to help with pronunciation. Because even now, there are several words that I can spell, give you a definition of, and use it in a sentence, but I can NOT say it out loud correctly.  Like “memoir” and “regularly” (and no, I did NOT just practice saying those out loud).

 

Reaping the Benefits

Do you want to know what is the most wonderful thing as a bookish parent? Seeing your children cherish and adore books just as much as you do. And what better way to encourage their love for literature than by reading aloud together on a regular basis.

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Neither of my parents would be considered “bookish” but somehow, through the reading aloud together, Wishbone, and a never-ending penchant for curiosity, I have become THE book nerd of the family. Is it worth taking the extra time to read aloud together? Absolutely!

Do I see a difference in the way my kids speak? YES! My oldest used the word “nearly” in a sentence the other day. He used it correctly and was very intentional about using it. I can only attribute it to the variety of vocabulary he receives on a daily basis.

Do my kids beg to read books? YES! Is their favorite place to go, the library? YES! And through read aloud together, we are preparing them, nurturing them, and instilling a love for books that will be lifelong into those tiny little hearts of theirs.

 

Get Started Today

Sarah Mackenzie has the Read-Aloud Revival 31-Day Challenge active on her website right now. Sign up for free and jump into reading-aloud today!

Bookish Resolutions: Tame That Teetering TBR Tower

The new year is always a good time to set resolutions that will help make this current year better than the last. Gym memberships and diet program sign-ups increase dramatically every January, and people flood social media with their ‘word of the year’ and resolutions posts.

Bookworms have resolutions too, and one of the most common ones is "taming the TBR (to be read) pile”. Or in some cases, you may need to replace ‘pile’ with ‘tower’ or ‘island’ or even ‘universe’. (Ask me how I know this.) But where do you even start such an impossible feat as taming the amount of books you want to read, especially when irresistible new books pop up every day?!?

I (Carrie) have no idea. None. My TBR pile is out. of. control. It has been for quite some time now and shows no signs of diminishing in the foreseeable future.

So I asked my associate editor, Annie, to give some insight here. (Don’t let her great suggestions fool you, though - she’s as hopeless as the rest of us.)

Participate in Reading Challenges/Readathons

This time of year, there are lots of great reading challenges for you to start! Some go all year, and others are more monthly. These can make taming that TBR pile fun - and give you an excuse to finally read that book you’re not sure about (and which would otherwise stay on your TBR list to infinity) - plus they provide great accountability to keep at.

May I suggest Hope By The Book’s reading challenge? We’ve got three levels so you can do as little or as many as you choose! Find out more HERE.

Readathons are typically for a day or a week, though some are seasonal. You can find these on various book blogs and on social media. These are a great way to power-read your way through a chunk of your book stacks.

Buddy Reads

Everything is better with friends, even reading! Grab a friend or two, pick a book or series, read and discuss. Kinda like a book club but more one-on-one - AND it can be done online which is perfect for us introverted readers!

The ‘Reading Nook Stack’ Method

Stack five books at a time by your favorite reading nook (like on your nightstand or next to your reading chair). Read them off one by one, and don’t add any more until the last book has been read. If you change your mind on a book, switch it out instead of adding to the stack. This helps keep your immediate TBR within a reachable goal. Take caution though! If you overachievers out there decide to use more than five books at a time for this method, you might find yourself in trouble!

It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.
— Lemony Snicket

Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great way to knock a book off your list while doing chores or commuting. I've even done it while shopping! Of course there is Audible and Scribd but you can also check out audiobooks through Overdrive and Hoopla, etc. And if Richard Armitage happens to be the narrator, all the better ;)

Set aside reading time

Keep this commitment of at least once a week, even if you are able to add more reading time. That way, even when busyness creeps up, you'll still have this time devoted for reading. Mark it on your planners and Google Calendars and carve out time each week for dedicated reading time.

Cull your Goodreads lists

Goodreads is a handy website that lets us keep track of our books read, series, authors, and what our friends are reading & reviewing. It also, let’s just be honest, adds even more stress to the overwhelmed TBR-owner. My want-to-read list is a metaphysical impossibility, yet I continue adding to it when I see a book on someone’s social media or blog. And sometimes my one-click reflex is faster than my thought process, so it’s prudent every once in a while to go through and make sure you really want to read that book that grabbed your attention.

Make a TBR jar

A) That’s super fun to say - “TBR jar”
B) It’s a super handy way to help yourself over those “I have 5000 books on my TBR list and I have no idea what to read next” dilemmas.

Take strips of paper and write down a TBR title on each one. Fold them up and fill up a mason jar with the papers. Each time you finish a book, reach in the jar and grab another title, and so on. Thanks to one of our reviewers, Andi, for pointing out this idea from BookRiot right as I was finishing up this post! Perfect timing :)


These are all great ideas! But, let’s face it… at some point we just have to surrender to the teetering TBR tower, acknowledge that we’ll never get it read in one lifetime, and hope Heaven has a library :) Until then, happy reading!!