Library and bookstore categories


When I went to Waterstones the other day, I stared at the twin categories Crime, vs. True Crime. Placed side by side, they hold an interesting dialogue with each other: do crime story authors, detectives and investigation officers like to read true crime for inspiration?

There is also another intriguing and sad category called Painful Lives.  This category occupies a shelf of its own. I suppose the bookstore would need some internal guidelines to help staff find out what books to put under this category. After all, it can be a rather subjective interpretation.

At the Norwich Millennium library, they dedicate an entire section called UFO.  A brief desktop research reveals repeated sightings and strange lights reported for the mysterious wide-open skies of East Anglia. I don’t think it is a typical book section for any library. (Ref: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2008/october/ufo.htm)

Next time you visit a bookstore or library, check out the way they organise the collections.

Published by jenniferwong

Born and grew up in Hong Kong, I am the author of three poetry collections including Letters Home (Nine Arches Press 2020), Goldfish (Chameleon Press 2013) and Summer Cicadas (Chameleon Press 2006), as well as a poetry pamphlet Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Melon Poetry 2019).

4 thoughts on “Library and bookstore categories

  1. Jenny if you can, I’d recommend getting a hold of the television series Castle. It’s about a crime writer who starts working with the police. It’s pretty interesting.

  2. I, too, like to observe bookstores’ ‘categories’. An author once said there really should be just two categories: “Good Books” and “Bad Books”. He said that jokingly.

  3. The Library I really love
    In Oakland Chinatown
    Is almost always full of people
    Young and old they thirst for words

    The shelves are divided up
    In the usual library manner
    But the main language of the books
    Is written Chinese

    English, is a distant second
    along with Korean, Vietnamese
    And other Asian languages
    Makes me wonder where I am

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