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The February issue of Chatelaine has an article entitled "One for the books". It's described in the Table of Contents as "Ingenious and stylish ways to store (and display) all of your books". Just what the doctor (and librarian) ordered, right? Excitedly, I flipped through the magazine pages to find the article in question.

First suggestion, complete with helpful illustration: "Group books with colourful pages together for a pop of brightness". Then, on the same page, "HIDE THE SPINES. Take the visual clutter off your shelves by displaying your books backwards for a clean, minimal look." It goes on to the classic group-by-colour idea so everything matches your paint or wallpaper or sofa cushions and you'll be ready when someone asks, "Oh, by the way - do you have the orange book, by any chance?" Of course, it might get a little more complicated if you have some particularly difficult guests who ask for a particular title, or wonder if you have anything by Ian Rankin or Terry Pratchett!

In a way, I guess I should find it refreshing that there are still folks around who can appreciate the book as a tangible, physical, aesthetic object to be owned and treasured. Or who realize that you can't always judge a book by its cover - or its spine. But how exactly am I to figure out where to find the book or kind of book I'm interested in, when most of the books' salient attributes are hidden? Maybe by the thickness of the book? Or by how well-thumbed and well-loved the pages seem to be? Do publishers have some sort of secret (or not-so-secret) page colour-coding for the types of books they deal with? If so, I'm afraid they've never let me in on it.

By the way, Freedom to Read week starts on February 26. I plan to take full advantage of the occasion, just as soon as I can locate that purple book with the turquoise pages...

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