the book look

After the “backwards book art” debacle, it’s no longer a guarantee that society can handle the responsibility of nice, sturdy, well-constructed bookshelves. Clearly, humanity has lost its bookshelf privileges — and its mind.

Since everyone seems bent on filling up their bookshelves with offensive non-book objects like “art,” “small succulents,” “important family photos” and “The Literary Journal of Birds from 1868,” we, inspired by the Little Free Library’s “Library on A Shoestring Budget,” have come up with our own alternative bookshelf construction guides, because humanity cannot be trusted.

Brick and planks

If you don’t want to buy a bookshelf that you spend your entire week’s paycheck on, take a whole day to assemble and never actually find those last two screws (“They’re somewhere, I know they’re somewhere”), the rustic route is always an option.

Going to a home maintenance store, buying a couple bricks (or cinder blocks) and layering them between a couple pieces of plywood is much cheaper and more efficient than going to IKEA. If you play your cards right, this option will guarantee a beautiful, thundering avalanche of books at three in the morning, when your “$4.99 plywood on sale!” caves under the weight of Tolstoy and sends everything toppling to the floor.

Not only will the ensuing, unexplainable crash prompt a panicked “home invader” emergency call and inevitable foot splinters, it will also mean that you get to start the process all over again!

Bonus points if you drop at least one brick on your foot during reconstruction.

Use books…as bookshelves

Here is the option for those of us who don’t even want to pay for bricks and plywood, and who desperately want to be “ironic.” Besides “jumbo shrimp” or “easy midterms,” perhaps the best oxymoron is using books…to be their own bookshelves. It’s “Inception” level meta, huh?

If you’re the type of person who accrues multiple “coffee table books” and doesn’t know what to do with them, this is your opportunity to finally get some use from them. Simply take two romance novels and stand them at even intervals under one of your coffee table books. Repeat these layers of questionable literature until you have something that resembles a bookshelf, which you can use to put your real books on.

Don’t blame me if the whole thing topples when you want to read something involving Danielle Steel or Anastasia Steele.

Decorative home art

The only option for the space-deprived, artistic or truly passive aggressive, this method is the response for the roommate who insists that you “do something” with your books and “retrieve them from around the entire house.”

Unsurprisingly, books can be shaped into lots of things without harming them at all, from large tiered Christmas trees to messages like “SOS” and other important communications. Extra points if you can theme your books into colorful, holiday-inspired art, like turning books with white covers into snowflakes around New Years’ Eve or red books into hearts for Valentine’s Day.

It still may not solve your bookshelf deficiencies, but at least you’ll be angering your roommate with creativity this time.

That one spot on the floor where people already trip over the most

With this option, you’re just utilizing the space where the bookshelf would be, without actually paying all that money for a real bookshelf. You are a master.

Since people already trip over this one spot too much already, you’re providing them with both a warning to avoid the area (because they have to maneuver around your gigantic stack of books) and an opportunity to sample your quality literature as they stumble over a Nicholas Sparks novel and go flying into the next room.

Don’t say you’re not a humanitarian.

Right smack dab in the middle of your kitchen table

As every booklover knows, here is the true resting place for all good literature. Who needs bookshelves when you have a perfectly good kitchen table, just yearning to be covered in something other than food or plates or silverware?

Despite what anyone else in your house may think, you’re actually doing a service to your kitchen table, testing its maximum weight-baring capacities and finally giving it a more noble purpose than just serving food. Why bother with holding up plates of Chicken Parmesan when it could be serving “Kitchen Confidential,” or glasses of sangria when it could be fulfilling its literary life as a “Tequila Mockingbird”?

Wouldn’t you want the chance to contribute to the field of education, too, if you were a table?

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