I have six bookcases in my living room. Plus a grandfather clock with shelves that hold vintage copies of my favorite titles, and a few first editions (James Michener's Chesapeake, for one). Plus stacks of books on my windowsill in the staircase, and a bookshelf in my bedroom.
Oh, and one in the office. And some teetering piles of books on the floor under the living room window.
So basically, they're everywhere. When I watch television (rarely, but more so in these weeks of the Olympics), I see my Irish history and literature books on the left, and I constantly remind myself that I want to read At Swim Two Birds sooner than later. And to the right are the classics, with that daunting copy of War and Peace staring at me, calling, "only 15 more months!"
I have one main bookcase dedicated to modern fiction, with mass market paperbacks (mostly fantasy) at the top, and then general fiction below, alpha by author:
As I scroll through my list of books read in 2012, I'm realizing more and more that I've started to continually draw books from the most visible shelves: those by the television that I see from the couch, and those at eye-level when I browse the other bookcases.
Of the fiction titles I've selected from my shelves to read this year, over 75% were written by authors that fall before M in the alphabet. Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Chang-Rae Lee, Chris Cleave. Exactly none fall after S.
I consider myself a fairly well-rounded reader; I am not completely bound to books I already own. I've read a handful of newly-purchased-and-never-even-made-it-to-the-shelf books this year, and several non-fiction titles (which are organized by subject on my shelves, not author name). But when I put review commitments aside and just browse my shelves for my next read, I find that proximity plays as much a part in that decision as the book itself. The ones I see most clearly are the ones I read most often.
Does this happen to anyone else? Are there certain books you see more often - because of their height on the shelf, or perhaps a long-time resting spot on the nightstand - that you find you are more likely to select as your next read? Or do you plan your next reads more deliberately than my turn-and-point-and-read system?