How to Serve the Ministry of Reshelving
1. Select a local bookstore to carry out your reshelving activities.
2. Download and print "This book has been relocated by the Ministry
of Reshelving" bookmarks and "All copies of 1984 have been relocated"
notecards to take with you to the bookstore. Or make your own. We
recommend bringing a notecard and 5-10 bookmarks to each store.
3. Go to the bookstore and locate its copies of George Orwell's 1984.
Unless the Ministry of Reshelving has already visited this bookstore,
it is probably currently incorrectly classified as "Fiction"
4. Discreetly move all copies of 1984 to a more suitable section,
such as "Current Events", "Politics", "History", "True Crime",
or "New Non-Fiction."
5. Insert a Ministry of Reshelving bookmark into each copy of any
book you have moved. Leave a notecard in the empty space the books
6. If you spot other incorrectly classified books, feel free to
7. Please report all reshelving efforts to the Ministry. Email your
store name, location, # of 1984 copies reshelved, and any other
reshelving activities conducted, to reshelving @ avantgame.com.
Photos of your mission can be uploaded to Flickr, tagged
as "reshelving", and submitted to the Ministry of Reshelving group.
Our goal is to relocate one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four
copies, and to complete successful reshelving of 1984 in all 50
United States. Global contributions are welcome.
Note: this project is not a critique of bookstore culture, the state
of the shelving industry, or even of pervasive government
surveillance. It is merely an observation that 2 + 2 = 5, and 5 is no
So what does this have to do with Classics? Well, one of my pet peeves -- and it has been ever since I started reading history books (around age 12 or so) -- is that bookstores (especially chains, although I have seen this done in a University bookstore from time to time) have no idea what history is. So anything with 'pyramid' in the title is classified as history and gets put in the ancient history section, even if it's all about pyramids' abilities to keep razor blades sharp. I'd even include things like Holy Blood and the Holy Grail under this rubric. So, here's the rogueclassicism proposed amendment to the Ministry of Reshelving Project. After you've relocated the copies of 1984, why not take a few minutes and take all those 'esoteric' books which always seem to be classified as 'history' and move them to the 'New Age' section where they belong? Maybe when the bookstores see that they actually have room on the shelves, they'll actually get some ancient history in to fill the void so 'history' goes beyond World War II.