A few days ago Dr. Boli asked what his readers thought about the classification of books by race or gender identification. Mr. Craig Conley of “Abecedarian” fame points out a limitation in Dr. Boli’s original question and makes a visual argument that you must go and see for yourself.


  1. Bah. The bookstore I used to work in was part of a much larger department store, and one day (back before I was working there, this is a story I relay from one of my former co-workers) we got a call from one of the “personal shoppers” who filled orders and requests from the rich and eccentric people who shopped in the more prestigious clothing departments several floors above us. They were decorating a room, and needed about 3 shelf feet worth of books with red spines. They didn’t care what the books were, what subject or genre they were, but they needed to be all or mostly red in their covers and spines, and no more than a certain height. Total cost not to exceed some ridiculously high figure. When being told this story, I politely didn’t ask if they looked for anything particularly subversive or controversial to stick in amongst the mix of overpriced new-release hardcovers and cheap but hard-to-get-rid-of remaindered trash that the sales associate undoubtedly dumped on the poor unsuspecting personal shopper.

    More recently, I’ve come to adore a blog that posts pics of particularly ridiculously bad exercises in contemporary interior design, a blog that goes by the unprintable name of F*ck Your Noguchi Coffee Table. Each pic is accompanied by a brief description inviting the designer or homeowner to go intercourse their (insert specific overused cliche of interior design here), and a few hashtags pointing out other sins against good taste. One of the more common hashtags is #readingrainbow, for people who organize their books by the color of their covers rather than by their content or their characters. Another classic sin they hashtag is people who use a stack of books with some sort of knicknack on top as part of their interior decor, since it betrays the fact that this particular stack of books is never to be moved or read or anything to pedestrian as that, it’s purely for show…and not even as a way to show off books you’ve already read, but as a pedestal for some ceramic figurine or tiny succulent plant.

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Reader’s Digest Condensed Books are the home decorator’s favorite: uniform, always in unread condition, and available in infinite quantities from the garbage bins behind thrift stores everywhere. They make an impressive display, especially mixed with other popular unread sets. Dr. Boli remembers watching a very amusing television evangelist whose book-lined “pastor’s study” set was festooned with Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and the collected works of Zane Grey, to which he doubtless referred for the answers to particularly difficult theological questions.

      • Ha! The local Catholic Parish where my sister is Parish Secretary and Director of Religious Education has a bunch of Readers’ Digest Condensed Book four-in-ones on a shelf in the waiting room at the rectory. A couple times when I was stopping by to drop something off or something, I’ve read a few pages of their condensed version of The Cobra Event by Richard Preston, which I’d previously read in uncondensed original format. It seemed…about like I remembered, with what little stylistic flavor the original text possessed still seemingly intact.

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