As you might expect, my house is full of books. It’s like L-space in the Library of Unseen University— it contains more volumes than you’d think was possible. They are not all my books. My other half collects books because he collects stuff, not to read. But I’ve read every single one of my books, apart from some I use for reference only.
I’ve used libraries all my life, at first because I couldn’t afford to buy books. When I started getting pocket-money I spent most of it on books. Paperbacks were affordable back then, about two shillings and sixpence in old money. Note for non-antique readers: about twelve and a half pence, or 30 cents since a penny was worth one cent in those days. Of course inflation happened, but if I could buy a book with a week’s pocket-money when I was ten it means that today’s ten-year-olds must be averaging about ten quid a week. I have no idea if that’s true, but I’m pretty sure most of them don’t buy books with it.
There’s not really a system to my shelving of books, except that I keep SF and fantasy all in one place, and other fiction (mostly thrillers) in another, and non-fiction is in various bookshelves all around the house.
My shelves are groaning with books by Terry Pratchett, Tolkien, Elizabeth Moon, Ursula Le Guin, Charlaine Harris, David Weber, Vonda McIntyre, Douglas Adams, Robin McKinley, Sherri Tepper, Barbara Hambly, Roger Macbride Allen, H Beam Piper, Frances Hardinge, David Brin, Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Tim Powers, Bill Bryson, Raymond Chandler, John Connolly, Sue Grafton, Donna Leon, Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs, Janet Evanovich and Laurie King. Apart from Pterry (sorry, fanboy nickname!) who deserves to be first on anyone’s list, they’re not in any particular order.
But I don’t buy books much anymore, except second-hand and from Amazon. Gone are the days when I didn’t mind shelling out a fiver for a speculative volume which would go to charity if I didn’t like it. So I’m back at the library… and I’ve acquired a Kindle. I’ll never stop putting books on my shelves, but thanks to the wonders of the e-book I can once again read books by authors I don’t know!