There is a downside to alphabetizing and categorizing your books--namely, that shelving new books eventually turns into a full-scale Broadway production, complete with falling chandeliers and singing cats. Running commentary generally results, like so:
There are times when I think I have rather too much Emily Sarah Holt on my shelves. Then again, she did set novels at just about every major turning-point in British history, so she's always useful for something. (Some of J. F. Shaw's covers are quite pretty, but the house made no attempt to match covers to texts--which is why a woman who looks like she's dressed in an Alma-Tadema knockoff is attached to a novel about the Armada.)
I hate moving these novels around, for obvious reasons. This is a rapidly self-deconstructing set of Disraeli's novels (the Edmund Gosse edition). I did contemplate having these rebound, only to faint once the binder quoted a price of $70/volume. (The set came in this condition, which is how I managed to afford it in the first place.)
Victorianists speak of Wilkie Collins' other novels in deeply hushed tones, of the sort you generally use when discussing an embarrassing relative. I picked up these "Pocket Classics" reprints in London when I was working on my doctoral dissertation, and have somewhat gloomy memories of reading them in a spartan University of London dorm room (Campbell Hall, I think it was), by the light of a single, unshaded bulb.
As an undergraduate, I had twice as much Nabokov as this. However, they were packed away in my parents' garage loft, and...well...there was an invasion. Of multiple-legged, non-mortgage-paying residents with fur and hairless tails. So much for Nabokov (and also for The Closing of the American Mind, which was extremely well-chewed).
This set of Charles Reade testifies to my dedication to scholarship: I bought the entire set at one go (at the Powell's in Chicago's South Loop), lugged it several blocks to the nearest bus stop, and finally lugged it several blocks from the Hyde Park bus stop to my apartment building.
OK, maybe it testifies to my willingness to risk permanent injury for the sake of a third-rate Victorian novelist.
I earnestly recommend full sets of Charles Reade to anyone interested in body-building. Don't buy weights--it's ever so much more economical to just tote seventeen volumes of Reade around!
I haven't the slightest clue how I managed to wind up with two copies of this utterly obscure Irish novel. At least they were both cheap copies.
And this isn't even all of Trollope. (That's his mother right next to him.)
You may note that despite my exasperation with LOTR, I managed to hack my way through the Silmarillion. Which...did not improve matters, I have to say.
The Victorian Christian periodicals are starting to take over this bookcase. Now, if only some nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish periodicals would start coming my way...