Maine Voices: Building houses from banned books? A modest proposal…


With limited housing options and high wood costs, how about just using forbidden books?

Given the lack of affordable housing and the recent plethora of literature deemed inappropriate for today’s youth, there is one logical solution that I am shocked no one has proposed: the banned books infrastructure.

Before throwing Holden Caulfield in the dumpster, I say, why not consider its pages as shelter?

Hard covers are, of course, ideal for foundations and roofs. Paperbacks provide excellent background.

Building small housing units from literary waste is the most economical, practical and environmentally friendly action. This will keep homeless populations off our streets and allow parents to evict millennial children from their basements.

When building these houses, it is important to remember that the words on the pages should NOT be readable. We only want to use the physical materials.

However, images may be displayed on a case-by-case basis. For example, when a book has been adapted into a movie and the cover of the book is taken from the movie, and the actor in the movie has a pleasant, non-threatening face, this material can be used as a vocal point to tie a room together.

Any material citing witchcraft should be reserved for the cupboard under the stairs.

Books dealing with families with something other than a man and a woman (eg single parents, two mothers, two fathers, grandparents as legal guardians, etc.) are excellent stairs. Walk on it with your head held high.

Books with transgender protagonists will likely serve as room dividers.

Children’s picture books that somehow depict the anatomy of the human body need to be repainted three times before they become bathroom floor tiles. Make sure that no body part drawings are visible (especially teeth; we don’t want young people to know that their teeth will fall out in a few years or days).

Glue together poems for trash can liners and compost bins. Poems, fortunately, have the least amount of text to cover, but their content is usually much more outrageous, so proceed with caution.

Library cards can be used to clean up those pesky piles of food debris that stick to kitchen counter surfaces.

Given the high heating costs, a fireplace or a wood stove will be necessary. Be sure to keep a stack of beatnik works next to your heat source – their ramblings make for great ignition. You’ll surely smile after hearing Kerouac’s stream of consciousness crackle into your lit match’s submission.

Save the Transcendentalists for the colder nights. Thoreau’s chapters on society are extremely flammable and are recommended for ice storms.

It’s important to remember that book titles and author names should not appear anywhere in plain sight, especially to people under the age of 18. We don’t want them asking about the past life of these documents – when the documents were books on library shelves, on classroom desks, and (gasp) even in the hands of unsuspecting readers.

Those were dark times, indeed. Days filled with critical thinking, inclusiveness, freedom of expression, honesty and imagination.

I shiver just thinking about it.

Finally, before you start building your new home, please type in the search bar of your nearest web browser: “Jonathan Swift: babies”.

— Special for the Press Herald

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