Chad’s got an excellent post called “You Are What You Appear to Have Read,” although I have to say that I violate most of the prime directives of book-shelving no matter what system you think best. I don’t have any photographs of the present arrangement, but being that I’m living in an apartment space is at a premium. There are three main bookshelves that just barely hold all the books my wife and I had acquired up until about last week (we’ve even doubled up with the paperbacks to fit more in), but a recent trip to the Cranbury Bookworm means that there are now about 30 new (old?) books lying on the floor with nowhere to go.
Eventually I hope to have a study, filled with books, fossils, and bones, but for now I’ve got to work with what I have. Rather than alphabetize my books, though, I have a general system that wouldn’t make sense to anyone else but me. The bookshelf next to my bed is primarily by paleontology, anthropology, history of science, and old 19th/early 20th century science books that I like to have close at hand. Generally my favorite non-fiction books live on these shelves, although a few sometimes get shuffled around. On another shelf across the room are books about ecology, zoology, and African wildlife, and a few shelves up is most of my small collection of creationist literature (letting them mingle with the science books would be an abomination).
The top of the entertainment center holds a lot of old textbook and coffee-table books about the ocean/sharks, and some books that I didn’t particularly like (but might come in handy) are shoved in random places. Given that I plan on living in my present location for another year, though, I don’t know where any new acquisitions are going to live. Eventually they’ll all have a good home, but for now utility is the name of the game.