No matter how much we juggle our categories, some books just slip between, and have to be spread among several categories. Take horses, for example. Horses are animals, of course, so they wind up in Nature. Racehorses, however, are athletes: books on horse races and racehorses are to be found in sports. BETTING on horses is gambling, though. Those books will be found in Games. I don’t know if there has been a full-length biography of Trigger yet (I find it hard to believe there hasn’t) but that would of course, wind up in Show Biz, where you would find him close to Roy Rogers. You may already realize that children’s books about horses will be in the Children’s section, whereas grown-up fiction about horses will be in either Fiction or Literature (Black Beauty, for example.) A book about the BOOK Black Beauty will be in Books and Authors.
We have never QUITE figured out what to do with nonfiction about firefighters. Famous fires wind up in History, or in Chicago. (Quick! Name Chicago’s three most famous fires.) But where does a book about the folks who fight fires go? Firefighters of the past may go into History (if we’re dealing with a number of them) or in Biography (one firefighter) but books about fighting fires generally often winds up in Law and Crime (on the theory that they’re like police, except the enemy they fight is usually brighter.)
We have just had a very large collection of books about guns come in (I’d say the equivalent of about six boxes of them. No actual guns, thank goodness.) Well, some of these are about antique guns, their history, and how to tell a Luger from a Mauser. These are going to be found in Antiques, come July. But some of them are about guns used in war. These will be found in Military History (along with all the books on military uniforms which came in the same collection) or in Civil War. Books on how to use a gun to bring down a passing paper plate or paper target will be found in Sports. (We got a number of paper targets as well. These will probably be found in Collectibles, along with the dozen or so rare and expensive books on rifles which came along. The one book we’ve found so far on the history of hand grenades will be there, too.)
Books on the history of the stock market and the people who made historic hits and misses there will be found in business. If you’re interested in risking your own money, and want to know how, you’ll need to move into How To (Hands). Oh, and, um, some of the people who made history on Wall Street are going to be found in Law and Crime. (No governors of Illinois should be found there, however: all those men are to be found in the Chicago and Illinois section, in jail or out.)
There are some books which look difficult but aren’t, of course. “A hard-hitting autobiography, disguised as a novel” goes in Fiction. The disguise was too good for us. A murder mystery with recipes in it goes in Mystery. A romance with vampires AND recipes goes in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (we like to keep our vampires in a row.
And then there are the books which look easy, but…I see we’re nearly out of space. The Education of Little Tree will have to wait for some other day. (For the record, this can be found in about six different categories, all of them probably wrong.)