The Leaning Tower of Literature


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Newlywed how-to Web site posted a slideshow feature today titled "7 Common Living Room Problems — and Solutions," in which they dis everything from your record cover and framed poster "art" collection to your husband's college TV stand to your "clutter, clutter everywhere."

As a fairly recent college graduate, I refrained from taking offense to the quotation marks they put around "art." (I have several framed Andy Warhol poster prints and a photo of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's leftover from my co-ed days.)

But the suggestion of a contemporary vertical bookshelf as a remedy for your "book explosion" made me feel oddly suspicious in a conspiracy-theory sort of way.

Crate and Barrels Vertical Bookshelf
  • Design Within Reach
  • Crate and Barrel's Vertical Bookshelf
The shelf ("only" $198 at Crate and Barrel) allows you to stack up to 70 books in what looks like a teetering tower of literary destruction. Maybe that's where my discomfort lies: it reminds me of Shel Silverstein's "Pancake Poem."

Who wants a pancake,
Sweet and piping hot?
Good little Grace looks up and says,
"I'll take the one on top."
Who else wants a pancake,
Fresh off the griddle?
Terrible Teresa smiles and says,
"I'll take the one in the middle."


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