Nina Katchadourian Sorts Books, Makes Them Even More Awesome

Rachel’s Team Pick

In my opinion, one of the best things the Internet brings us, paradoxically, is a way to find out what people are doing and thinking w/r/t the Internet’s predecessor and superior — books. For instance, don’t tell me you didn’t love Better Book Titles, or that you aren’t grateful for the existence of Pottermore. And now, via the internet, I have found out about this super-cool real-world project that artist Nina Katchadourian is doing!

Katchadourian is an artist whose work spans a lot of genres, including but not limited to photography, installation art, and pet taxidermy, and addresses topics such as “confusing animals,” “maps,” and “uninvited collaborations with nature.” But my favorite so far is Sorting Books, where Katchadourian visits libraries and rearranges book titles strategically to recreate new messages. “Taken as a whole, the clusters from each sorting aim to examine that particular library’s focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies — a cross-section of that library’s holdings. At present, the Sorted Books project comprises more than 130 book clusters.” She began sorting in 1993. We are better off for it.

Nina Katchadourian - Composition from the Sorted Books project C-prints, each 12.5 x 19 inches, 1993

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. As a librarian, can I just say that I really hope she put those books back in their proper order? Harrumph.

    /angry librarian muttering, “art, pffft.”

  2. this is awesome. I especially liked the “Shark Journal” piece. now I really miss working in libraries.

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