With limited housing options and high lumber costs, how about we just use banned 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’m shocked no one has proposed: the infrastructure of banned books.

Before tossing Holden Caulfield into the dumpster, I say, why not consider his pages as a means of shelter?

Hardcovers are, of course, ideal for foundations and roofs. Paperbacks provide excellent wallpaper.

Building small housing units out of literary rejects is a most economical, practical and environmentally conscious action. It will keep homeless populations off our streets and will allow parents to kick millennial children out of their basement dwellings.

When building these homes, it is important to remember that the words on the pages must NOT be legible. We only want to utilize the physical materials.


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

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

Books discussing families with anything other than one man and one woman (e.g. single parents, two moms, two dads, grandparents as legal guardians, etc.) make excellent staircases. Walk right over them, head held high.

Books with transgender protagonists will likely serve as room dividers.

Children’s picture books that in any way describe the human body’s anatomy must be painted over three times before becoming bathroom floor tile. Make sure no drawings of body parts are visible (especially teeth; we don’t want youngsters knowing that their teeth are going to fall out in a matter of years or days).

Tape together poems for trash can liners and compost bins. Poems, thankfully, have the least amount of text to cover up, but their contents are typically far more scandalous, so do proceed with caution.


Library cards can be utilized for scrubbing off those pesky piles of food debris that stick to kitchen counter surfaces.

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

Reserve transcendentalists for the coldest of nights. Thoreau’s chapters about society are extremely flammable and are recommended for ice storms.

It is important to remember that the book titles and authors’ names should not appear anywhere in sight, particularly for individuals under 18 years of age. We do not want them asking questions about the former lives of these materials — when the materials were books on library shelves, atop classroom desks and (gasp) even in the hands of unsuspecting readers.

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

I shudder just thinking about it.

Lastly, before beginning construction of your new home, please type in the search bar of the nearest web browser: “Jonathan Swift: babies.”

— Special to the Press Herald

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