One Bookshelf Library: Part 1

We’ve worked our way up from nothing to one entire shelf of space. Now it’s time to see what we can do with an entire bookshelf.

This post will be a little different from the past couple “book list” suggestions. The first few book lists I produced for you were just that: lists. Straight forward; read this. The last list formulated possibilities for you. I provided my answers (or suggestions), but they were just possibilities to fill in the blank.

Today’s One Bookshelf Library will be a mix of both.

This formula will be less exact than the last one. After all, with more space available, there is more room to play with. That also means more margin for error. Most every book worth owning has multiple versions available. Each of those versions takes up a different amount of space. Furthermore, most of the formula allows you to choose the book within that small subcategory. This allows for a vast array of possibilities — immeasurable possibilities one might say.

So, yes, I will provide a formula. However, it will be an estimate instead of an exact formula. As result of this, I will also provide a list of books which I filled my space with as a more concrete example of what you can do with this formula (and this amount of space). So, without further ado: the formula.

Lets start with the numbers, just like last time: the average shelf in a book case is about 32″ wide, 16″ tall, and 12″ deep. Each of these measurements vary by manufacturer and bookshelf style, of course. These, however, are the averages of most book shelves sold in U.S.A.. The average bookshelf has five shelves — and the shelf top which can be viewed as a “sixth shelf” if necessary. Using this assumption, the average shelf has 160″-192″ of space (or 13′-16′). These are the measurements I will be referring to in my “One Bookshelf Library” project.

I’ll start with the simplest of breakdowns.

The Essentials:

Nonfiction: 32″

General Fiction: 32″

Mix & Match the rest of the available space according to your house needs. I’ve provided recommended space & formulas for each “pack” suggestion. As a whole, you’ll have 96″ left to fill with your choice of literature.

Nonfiction: 32″


*Harry Potter series would fit in this space!*


Now we have 3 shelves remaining. This is where each of us will divide our interests and collect accordingly. Each possible subject below will have a formula of its own, as well as my own suggestions. Each subject, and formula, will assume you plan to use 32″ of space toward this subject. Of course, you can choose to double, or half, this “recipe” very easily using multiplication or division.

OF course, you’ll have to wait for that section of the recipe. You bake the cake first, let it cool, and THEN apply the frosting, after all.

While you are deciding on your two shelf essentials, I’ll be preparing your shelf interest formulas.

Stay tuned!



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