27.09.2018

Get organised like this bookworm

Man of books Kunyalala Ndlovu shows off his library and shares his shelving tips

Kunyalala 'Kone' Ndlovu's love of books resulted in a book stall in east London, Stay Read Books, as a way to share his passion with others. 

"Books do not die. They are the most powerful tool I've ever come across on earth outside of the atom bomb. Books are class struggle. Books are the only things that have ever improved and destroyed people. When societies go through heavy shifts, it's books that drive the ideas. When society becomes afraid of the dark it's the books they burn first. Books hold weight. They hold gravitas. And they've outlasted every one of the holy tyranny trinity: capitalism, communism and fascism."

Of the belief that books offer a much richer experience than Netflix can, and that "if you've read Orwell you could never be amazed by Black Mirror. If you've read The Odyssey you can't be enthralled by Game Of Thrones. And if you've read anything by Brecht Orange Is The New Black becomes Orange Is the New Whack."

So what happens if you put your apple down, the bookworm bites and you find your apartment overrun by Puffins and Penguins? You use smarter storage to get organised. 

Take a peek below into Kone's home library, which is less Dewey Decimal System and more a reflection of the book-lover's curious mind.

bookshelf organisation tips

This is my mobile library, mostly current history and critical thinking books for easy access. Based on Brooks from Shawshank Redemption, these books are here as quick grab-and-goes in case life changes course quickly. World history, western critical thought, general interest journals and publications with bigger books at the bottom and lighter books on top.

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bookshelf organisation tips
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These are all the design books I've been collecting since art school. There's a lot of design projects and work from the studios I've been a part of as well. There's foreign comics and pulp, music theory, typography, design theory and film. It's also where I park my bike, hence the kryptonite lock.

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This is my son's library that we've been building for him. Mainly big picture books but he likes newspapers and book review pages and so when I'm done with those I give them to him to play with. Some Rudyard Kipling as well.

bookshelf organisation tips


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A weird mix, but generally linguistic theory, social ideas, semantics, dictionaries, historically based fiction, beat poets and some light travel writing too.

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This is a bigger shelf filled with more slow burner type reading. American history, American social history and police culture, first nations (Canada, America and Southern Africa), Japanese culture, political theory, economics, European history, Middle East, Southern African short stories, larger format design and theory books, South African picture history, dystopian theory, Chomsky, Coates, review advance books and Monocle magazines.

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This is my most important shelf. I see it every day when I leave the house and when I walk in again through the front door. Named after the whole library it's got: Loebs classics (in Latin and Greek with bilingual translations), Penguin Classics and special editions, Penguin minis, Africana (Southern African antique history ranging from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia), radical publishing, rare tracts, history compendiums, economics and social critical thinking and theory, racism theory (North America predominantly, some Europe) and dangerous and classical playwrights.