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Kylie

Merging Bookshelves in a Relationship

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If you were in a cohabiting relationship with another reader, would you merge all of your books with theirs, or would you prefer to keep them separate? I've read that some people initial their own books so there will be no arguments if the relationship sadly falls apart.

 

Perhaps your decision would depend on what types of books you both enjoy reading ('Keep your dirty car manuals away from my Tolstoy!')

 

Perhaps it would depend on how your partner treats books compared to you ('OMG, I heard that book's spine breaking from over here! You sadist!')

 

What if the other person had a different way of shelving their books? ('But how am I supposed to find my books if you put them on the shelf with the spines facing inwards?')

 

Also, what would you do with duplicate books?

 

Maybe you've been in this situation before or maybe, like me, you've never been in this situation but you've given it a lot of thought. Even if your partner is a non-reader, how would you handle this situation hypothetically?

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Personally, I don't think I could merge my books with someone else's. My library is extremely personal to me and reflects who I am. Each book has been chosen based on my interest in a particular topic, genre or author, and for many other reasons. I often buy books in large numbers, but each book has been carefully and, dare I say, lovingly chosen to come home with me. When I think of having another person's books interspersed with mine, I think it would feel a bit...intrusive, perhaps.

 

I live alone but have a book-loving boyfriend who has at least several large bookcases of his own. I think he once mentioned merging our libraries if we lived together, and I was a little bit horrified. We have some overlapping tastes in books (sci-fi, fantasy, science, history and atheism), but he delves more into other non-fiction areas that I'm not really interested in, and I'm sure he's not particularly interested in my large collection of biographies and authors' letters and diaries, as well as most of my general fiction books.

 

Also, he is the spine-breaking monster I mentioned above, and he approves of writing in books and having them look 'read'. I thoroughly disagree. This shows in our shelves; even though I buy most of my books second hand, his books look a lot more tatty than mine (in my opinion). I like to look after my books so they'll be in good condition for many years to come.

 

Hmm, now that I think about it more, not only would I not combine my books with his, but I think I should put them under lock and key so he can't hurt them!

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We keep our books separate.  I have all of the downstairs bookcases and he has the one in the spare room!  :giggle2:    I'm not sure why really - we've been married for 26 years but they've always been kept that way.  I have *way* more books than he does though.

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Do you have similar reading tastes, Janet? Do you 'let' hubby borrow your books, and if so, does he treat them well? :)

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When I moved in with husband the week before our wedding, my books were third on my 'transport safely' list just after son and goldfish. Husband had lots of books, and lots of bookshelves, so it was a matter of organising things in a way that would suit both of us.

 

After 12 years the shelves are pretty much the same; husband non-fiction, my non-fiction, husband fiction, and my fiction. Then we have the combined books that we have purchased together on a shared interest topic such as castles of Wales, the Italian Lakes, that kind of thing.

 

With so many book shelves we have managed mostly to keep our books on separate shelving, and where we haven't, there are separate individual shelves. Having said all that, this has been pretty intuitive rather than regimented with us naturally shelving our different books with each other. We both have kindles too, attached to my account, so I am the 'librarian' of them both - a job I am delighted to have!  :D

 

Great thread topic Kylie!  :smile:

Edited by Chrissy

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I'm the only reader in my family but I have so many books covering so many topics, if he felt so inclined to find something to read, I'm sure I have it. As I own over 2,000 books I don't think our house would fit another reader, lol!! Before we moved I had 7 bookshelves. My precious books are boxed up and sitting in my shed waiting (YELLING) for me to come get them.

 

I guess if I were cohabiting I'd want to keep my books separate, probably in a room all by themselves with me holding the only set of keys ;)

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Great idea for a topic! It's very interesting to read all your replies :). Kylie, I'm sorry to hear your boyfriend doesn't treat his books as well as you treat yours. It's so nice to hear how much your library means to you.

 

My boyfriend and I moved into the bakery together almost three months ago now. His books are in his office, mine are in various other places (the living room and in my library). My boyfriend mainly has non-fiction books, mainly about World War II equipment and such, and he has quite a bit of manga. He also owns a couple of other books, such as a few by Terry Pratchett. He treats his books very well and is careful with them.

 

I also own a few manga though not nearly as much as he does. I'm not ready yet though to move my books into his office, because that really feels like his space. I'm recently spending a bit more time in there, keeping him company, but it doesn't feel like 'home' yet, the upstairs. I want to keep my manga in my library :blush2:. I wouldn't mind his manga books in my library nor the other fiction books he owns that I'm interested in. Is that selfish? Maybe.. I just don't want to get rid of my own books, in a location where I don't come often.

 

We have a couple of duplicate books, mainly Terry Pratchett books and Battle Royale and a few manga. So far, he's kept his copies and I've kept mine.

 

My boyfriend doesn't read much but on occasion he's interested in buying a book. With joint purchases, if I'm not interested and it's solely his thing (like with the World War II books), he puts it in his office. With the manga I'm interested in also and with fiction books such as our recent Star Trek books we bought, they go in my library. I guess because I'm the bigger reader. I read lots of books in a year, he reads maybe a few.

 

I have all the books catalogued in Book Collector but given them all an 'owner', either him, me or the both of us. I don't ever want to split up with him and he not with me, so this is not the reason I've done this (it's only so that I can have a list of my TBR of books that I'm interested in).

 

My boyfriend is not a big reader at all. I'm fine with him borrowing any of my books because I know he'll treat them nicely (I don't know what I'd do if he didn't! That would be a big problem). He doesn't read books that often. I do encourage him but most often he prefers to do other things. Usually he does hear from me what a book is about, I'll ramble on about it and if he's interested I tell him about the plot and such.

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When we moved in together over 20 years ago, it never even occurred to me to keep our books separate - everything just got put on any shelf space we had (which wasn't much), and I remember having plies of books lining the walls of our flat!  When we bought our house a couple of years later, books remained in boxes in the attic until we had time to build shelves, and then when they were eventually shelved, again, it was just put them anywhere as we had so many books between us.  We have categorised some of them (e.g. Virago, Vintage Classics, Penguin, travel books), but generally, everything's just mingled in together.  Having said that, I know the shelves so well, that I can tell you where almost any book we have is, and I can still tell you which books were mine, and which were OH's, but we have some genres we both like reading, read each others books, and any new books that come in I consider "ours".

 

Neither of us are particularly bothered by the condition of books, it's more important what's in them than what they look like, so I think that's why we've never really worried about keeping them separate.  When I've read a book, you often can't tell it's been read, as I don't hold it wide open, whereas OH tends to open it as wide as he can, and sometimes this will mean the spine gets broken, and I have a habit of reading and drinking when I'm reading, so there might be some crumbs or coffee spots in them.

 

I would never treat anyone else's books like this, but for our own books, I'm not bothered, neither is OH, so they're just "our" books.

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I also own a few manga though not nearly as much as he does. I'm not ready yet though to move my books into his office, because that really feels like his space. I'm recently spending a bit more time in there, keeping him company, but it doesn't feel like 'home' yet, the upstairs. I want to keep my manga in my library :blush2:. I wouldn't mind his manga books in my library nor the other fiction books he owns that I'm interested in. Is that selfish? Maybe.. I just don't want to get rid of my own books, in a location where I don't come often.

 

 

I think that is healthy, actually.  Having some place to have your own stuff and him having his own space. 

When I "co habituated" :giggle2: We were both big readers, but he mainly read text books, science and math books (Pretty much to show off ;) ) but we each had our own shelves.  We loved our books and didn't feel the need to share.  Some we had few authors in common, but on the whole, everything was kept separate.  Plus, he always left his current read in the bathroom- gross. :blush2:

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I moved in with my boyfriend a few years ago, and he has a few books but nothing compared to mine!

 

We have separate bookshelves, he has one of philosophy stuff, we share a sports bookshelf and then the rest is mine :D

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Do you have similar reading tastes, Janet? Do you 'let' hubby borrow your books, and if so, does he treat them well? :)

No, we're poles apart.  :)  He tends only to read thrillers and detective type books (US authors, mainly) and the occasional horror book.  He says if someone hasn't been murdered within the first few pages then it's not for him!  :lol:

 

The only book of mine I can remember him reading was The Day of the Triffids, which I raved about and told him he must read.  He said it was "slow and dull".  :rolleyes:  :giggle2:

 

He does look after his books though. :)

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Personally, I don't think I could merge my books with someone else's. My library is extremely personal to me and reflects who I am. Each book has been chosen based on my interest in a particular topic, genre or author, and for many other reasons. I often buy books in large numbers, but each book has been carefully and, dare I say, lovingly chosen to come home with me. When I think of having another person's books interspersed with mine, I think it would feel a bit...intrusive, perhaps.

 

I live alone but have a book-loving boyfriend who has at least several large bookcases of his own. I think he once mentioned merging our libraries if we lived together, and I was a little bit horrified. We have some overlapping tastes in books (sci-fi, fantasy, science, history and atheism), but he delves more into other non-fiction areas that I'm not really interested in, and I'm sure he's not particularly interested in my large collection of biographies and authors' letters and diaries, as well as most of my general fiction books.

 

Also, he is the spine-breaking monster I mentioned above, and he approves of writing in books and having them look 'read'. I thoroughly disagree. This shows in our shelves; even though I buy most of my books second hand, his books look a lot more tatty than mine (in my opinion). I like to look after my books so they'll be in good condition for many years to come.

 

Hmm, now that I think about it more, not only would I not combine my books with his, but I think I should put them under lock and key so he can't hurt them!

 

post-4599-0-95813300-1414106083_thumb.jpg

 

"Prrrrrecioussss . . ."

 

The only book of mine I can remember him reading was The Day of the Triffids, which I raved about and told him he must read.  He said it was "slow and dull".  :rolleyes:  :giggle2:

 

Those be justifiable grounds for a divorce, ask any Judge in the country.

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First...I hit a wrong button above somewhere quite by accident...the report button....SORRY!!! Please disregard!!!

 

 

Ok, we've merged our books pretty throughly.....partly because we've doubled our collection in the last five years. We "merged" our almost 4,000 original books, to a present number of a little north of 8,300. Bookcases literally everywhere, to bisecting rooms, stacked up and down the steps......they're everywhere. We love it. I can't imagine keeping them separate.

Our tastes are very similar, his veering off to scientific books, me diverging to history, fiction and non fiction.

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Our shelves are organized by genre, and within that by author, so our books do tend to be separated because we're interested in different things. One area we do crossover and combine our books is in classics. Having said that, we do read off each other's shelves from time to time.

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In our house, it's me and the older son who read.. but my shelves are mine, and his are his. We may borrow books from each other, but it's always clear whose book it is. The few books my husband has, he keeps on his shelf next to his desk, they're mostly "engineering stuff".

 

I wonder what I would have done if I had married a reader? I'm guessing separate shelves.. on the other hand, it's been 20 years since me and my husband met, and most stuff in our house is now "ours". Maybe that would have happened with books as well.  

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Those be justifiable grounds for a divorce, ask any Judge in the country.

:giggle:

 

The problematic thing is that (tagged for major soppiness!)

 

 

In all other ways he's my soul-mate and I love him, so I'll have to overlook this transgression!

 

 

:blush:

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I read more than my boyfriend does, but we have our own shelves. I am too fussy with my books.

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This is where I get really glad Dale isn't a reader! All the books in our home belong to me except for about 3 books I bought for Dale which are special editions about/by his favourite bands. It means my own books, of which I take great care, are safe and sound. :)

 

We did merge our movie collections when we moved in together, as there were some overlaps (we have similar tastes with some divergence),

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We merge our books and I don't have a problem with it. Alan's not a big reader anyway .. usually he waits for me to recommend .. so it's not a massive problem. I'm not organised with my displays and that's probably why I don't mind. If his books have the appropriate coloured spines then they stand a good chance of being on the main bookshelves downstairs. It's a free-for-all everywhere else. Possibly if he was a big reader .. and read lots of sci-fi (for instance) .. then I might object to swathes of them getting in between my Mitford's and Woolf's .. that is not likely to happen though. I'm happy for him to read my books and am not too precious about them (there are some .. like the Penguin Deluxes .. that I would wince a bit about) because I quite happily drop toast crumbs in mine so can't object to anyone else doing the same (please note .. if you have lent me a book .. I'm always very respectful with it  :blush2: .. I know how to treat other people's property.)

 

I like the thought of our books co-mingling  :smile: As long as mine have pride of place  :D 

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Haha wow Kylie what a brilliant idea for a topic. This cuts right deep to the hearts of all us "book people." In both my big relationships with other people I merged my books with hers.  But our tastes in books never really overlapped at all, only rarely would we read the same book. When I separated from my wife/exwife 3 years ago I cut everything down so I could get it all into the boot of a car so that meant leaving many books behind. I had purged in the same way at the end of my first marriage and went down to only around 30 books. It doesn't bother me too much. I like to share books.and have given many away to people over the years and bought other copies.

The book (and film) Farenheit 451 affected my thinking a lot; I think books, like art and films, are meant to be read and seen. This is their main purpose. Not to sit on a shelf.    

Edited by vodkafan

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My husband doesn't read at all, so all the books on the shelf are mine. If he did read, I don't think I would be bothered about merging them, as I'm not very fussy about how they look on the shelves. I don't have a strict shelving system....it's vaguely done by book size, but apart from that it's very random. I think it makes it a bit more interesting if you mix books or don't have a particular filing system, as you can often stumble across something that you never knew was there. :D

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We're both readers, but I read a lot more, and buy a lot, lot more.  We've been married for 33 years, and for most of that time our books co-habited.  OH wasn't too bothered how they were catalogued, so fell in with my rather obsessive ordering.  However, a few years ago, she started feeling that her books were getting somewhat drowned out by mine, that I was taking over the bookshelves/house (well, yes I was, but then I think a house should be taken over by books, within reason, and we're a long way from those limits IMO, and anyway, for every bookshelf I occupy, she's got a drawer full or shelf full of sewing equipment/material!  You can tell we've been married a long time!  ;) ), so we separated out, and she has her section, and I have the rest.  Still struggling to keep books within the limits of the current shelves, as I'm not allowed to put up any more (Ggggrrrr  :banghead: ).  To that extent the Kindle has been a godsend - but I'd often still rather be buying the paper edition.

 

On the sharing of books - we have some common ground, and do both swap.  I'm the obsessive one (you wouldn't have guessed, would you?!) on book condition, but OH respects them sufficiently that there's never been a problem over how they are looked after.  But then she rarely, if ever, wants to read anything that I buy in a 'nice' edition - it's mostly paperbacks we share.  Oh, and the Kindle account, but that's no problem!

Edited by willoyd

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Coran and I have not merged book shelves - I have far more than she does anyway, and they tend to be different genres. A lot of Coran's books are software books and science fiction but mine seem to cover virtually everything. As for what we did with duplicate books, I think we decided to keep whichever one was in the best condition.

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