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Thursday, August 16, 2012

DIY Gone Horribly, Horribly Wrong

Posted by on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM

What the YouTube channel calls, "DIY at its finest," is Hills star Lauren Conrad showing you "a beautiful way to showcase vintage books while also creating a practical storage space!"

Of course, Conrad's technique for showcasing vintage books also entails cutting out every page.

[Update: YouTube has pulled the video (Buzzfeed still has a version of it), but I got these trusty screen grabs of the vivisection of volumes:]



The massacre continues...



The mind reels with questions. If these are titles you'd proudly display on your shelf—I mean, we wouldn't do this to paperback copies of Dianetics—then why destroy them? Doesn't that tell your guests, "Reading is too hard"? And if you're supposed to save the torn-out pages and this thing creates storage, are you supposed to save the pages inside of it?

Buzzfeed calls it "The Worst Craft Idea Ever," adding, "I feel like I'm watching a murder." Via Jezebel.

UPDATE: Lemony Snicket has also issued a statement:

It has always been my belief that people who spend too much time with my work end up as lost souls, drained of reason, who lead lives of raving emptiness and occasional lunatic violence. What a relief it is to see this documented.


Comments (48) RSS

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Gay Dude for Romney 1
Video removed by the user.
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney on August 16, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
They pulled the video. But clearly the woman is a piece of shit for destroying books.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Zebes 3
I'm gonna make a box out of a set of old encyclopedias... and then use it as a custom PC case.
Posted by Zebes on August 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 4
I would do it with Reader's Digest Condensed Books, or bound collections of sermons by long-dead relatives, but that's about it.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
A bunch of bibles make a great place to hide your weed.
Posted by Digitocalypse on August 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Reading is hard you guys.
Posted by WenWino on August 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
This is the world we now live in.
Posted by myr on August 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Dougsf 8
First, they made ash trays out of old vinyl albums, and I didn't speak out...
Posted by Dougsf on August 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Mattini 9
Maybe she's cut out all the pages to scan them so she can cherish her favorites digitally forever. I'm sure that must be it.
Posted by Mattini on August 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Paul Constant 10
She couldn't even be bothered to arrange them in numerical order. There are two number ones and three number nines. Apparently, they're arranged by color? Or something?

What a terrible human being.
Posted by Paul Constant http:// on August 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Fnarf 11
No one is going to do this to valuable or interesting books. No one who is going to do this has ever SEEN a valuable or interesting book. Not to worry. I mean, look at what she's got there in the video -- "A Series of Unfortunate Events". OH MY GOD YOU ARE A CRAZY WOMAN.

I once saw a whole shelf of identically-bound "Sermons of Billy Graham". If I had the shelf space it would be amusing to make a box out of them. KEEP YER WEED IN IT. DUDE!
Posted by Fnarf on August 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
The Max 12
Notice the books she's murdering are A Series of Unfortunate Events, a series of books that the reader is admonished not to read.
Posted by The Max on August 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Fnarf 13
@10, you can buy collections of books with specific color spines, for decorating -- like living in an Ikea!…
Posted by Fnarf on August 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
It's a "bookshelf box".
Does anyone have extra room on their bookshelves for such a thing?
All the room on my bookshelves is taken by books.

So this is something for someone with bookshelves but without enough books that they want to keep to fill the shelves.
But who likes the look of having books on a bookshelf in her home even if they aren't real books.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on August 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 15
@ 13, when I worked at Tattered Cover in the 90s I heard about how someone once came in to buy hundreds of books for his or her newly redecorated home's built-in bookcases. The sole criterion for purchase was how nice they looked on the shelves. I think they bought a set of the OED among other things.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
She doesn't know any better.
Posted by Amanda on August 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Baby Blue 17
Does this work with old kindles, as well?
Posted by Baby Blue on August 16, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this
You could store a whole lotta Cliffs Notes inside there.
Posted by WenWino on August 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 19
There are tons of Etsy sellers who pull this shit. They cut out a page from an old medical textbook, slap a bird on it, and then frame it.


How do you know know that?
Posted by keshmeshi on August 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
I was at a Goodwill recently and briefly considered picking up a fifty cent copy of some Bill O'Reilly book to keep by my charcoal grill, tearing out a few pages at a time to use as kindling.
Posted by Ben on August 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 21
@11 -
"Oh my GAWD!!! That book is gorgeous!"
"Oh, thank you, it's one of the original Gutenberg Bibles, in fact."
"No way! Where'd you get it?"
"Well, my grandfather bought it at auction in 1972."
"Auction, huh? Never heard of it. Do you think they have it at Barnes and Nobles?"
"This is a Gutenberg Bible. They were printed in the 1450s. You won't find it at a retail store."
"Oh, well, I simply must have it. How much do you want for it? Fifty bucks?"
"Fifty bucks and a blowjob?"

Soon, a book is ruined forever.
Posted by MacCrocodile on August 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
I turned the Alcoholics Anonymous book into a flask holder. Next I'll be turning the big Mormon volumes I found in my house into a concealed mini bar. But I wouldn't take an exacto knife to much else.
Posted by Subdued Excitement on August 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
@ 20, I can just about condone THAT.

@15 - This does happen. I went to visit my newly married sister and her husband. My sister is not a reader, so I was surprised to see books in her living room and interesting books, to boot. I was shocked, because her husband had not heretofore been identified as a kindred spirit, but there was the evidence in front of me, so I asked about the books, figuring she would tell me they belonged to him.

She told me they bought them at a yard sale to decorate the shelves!!

I didn't know whether to weep or start sneaking the books out one by one to give to deserving readers.
Posted by Bugnroolet on August 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM · Report this
@9: That's what I tell myself when I hear about stuff like this. It helps me sleep at night.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on August 16, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Used book stores will frequently sell well-bound books by the foot for set dressing or decoration; matching heights, colors, etcetera costs extra. But they've got to cover the rent somehow, and most used bookstore owners and workers are heavy readers and love books. This image-obsessed ninny exemplifies the idea of judging a book by its cover.
Posted by Warren Terra on August 16, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 26
It's for a hiding place, that's all. Has nothing to do with being literary or not literary. And you'd want boring titles so that no one would be interested in reaching for it. I think it's cute.
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney on August 16, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Michael of the Green 27
This is what books are for.
Posted by Michael of the Green on August 16, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Banna 28
Slog bibliophiles: prepare to have an aneurysm.
Posted by Banna on August 16, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
rob! 29
@26, I had a hollowed-out tome called The American Story in which I cached rarely used credit cards, a safe-deposit-box key, my Social Security card, and a few Series E savings bonds.

Despite its bland title, cloth binding, and tiny gold lettering, it was the one book that an OCD-afflicted, philosophy-and-history-nut neighbor zeroed in on one day, amongst all of my other hundreds of books on wildly divergent topics, with intriguing titles and bold graphics.
Posted by rob! on August 16, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Fnarf 30
@19, how do I know know what?
Posted by Fnarf on August 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 31
What do you other Sloggers think of the work of the 3 artists I have linked here? These aren't the only ones working with books but you get the idea. I personally love Detmar's and Laramee's work.……

I love books, actual books as objects as well as for what they contain. This horrible craft project reminds of the Gloria Upson, the philistine fiance in "Auntie Mame", exclaiming, "Oh, books! How decorative!" The book boxes are crappy and unimaginative, and tacky, but I doubt anyone is going to detroy any really valuable books doing this because people like that don't buy good books.

Posted by thatsnotright on August 16, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Paul Constant 32
@28, "... in very good to new condition." EXCEPT FOR THE HALF OF THE BOOK WE SAWED OFF. AUGH!
Posted by Paul Constant http:// on August 16, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 33
Some art projects are perfect for books. Some project are worthy of book sacrifice. This, for example:…

Lauren's crappy craft isn't even well executed! Uneven, xacto-hacked edges and hot glue seeping out the sides. It's horrid!
Posted by More, I Say! on August 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 34
how dare you deny this lovely girl a living. ms. conrad has to do SOMETHING, doesn't she?
Posted by Max Solomon on August 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
I don't know. I would think about doing something like this (though not this - putting something like this on a bookshelf is just stupid - if you wanted it for storage, just put the box there. Geez) with something like Reader's Digest Condensed Books. There are always a million of them at second hand stores and yard sales, the spines are usually kinda nice, and they aren't worth reading. (My parents were subscribers for years. When I read the actual books, I was shocked at how much good stuff was cut out). Using those for crafts would not be the end of the world.

But I would probably not ever do it with a "real" book. The ones I would want to do it to, I wouldn't want to actually have displayed in my home.
Posted by Sheryl on August 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
wisepunk 36
I am hacksawing the cover off of my Liber Novus tonight for sure.
Posted by wisepunk on August 16, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 37

That they aren't using real books. I mean, certainly they're not if they're buying them from a used bookstore, a real vendor isn't going to sell good vintage books cheap, but what if they belonged to the crafter's grandparents? Or were bought cheap at a garage sale? I shudder to think how many fantastic books are getting turned into crappy hipster art.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 16, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
@35- at home we used the Readers Digest Condensed Books (thank you, Grandma) as building materials for more books shelves. Think cinder blocks and boards without the cinder blocks.
Posted by Teshumai on August 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Chip 39
True fact: Google made fake bookshelf wall coverings like these out of books that they cut apart to scan for Google Books.
Posted by Chip on August 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Fnarf 40
@37, as someone who has spent half his life in used bookstores, and also worked for five years in the Harvard library system (100+ libraries), I can assure you that there is an almost infinite supply of terrible books available for this sort of project. Thrift stores are packed with them, and send millions to be pulped every year. Even old books, 100 years old or more.

One of my favorite parts of my Harvard job was the unfettered access, 24/7, to the Widener stacks, which at that time contained miles of shelves of truly unbelievable material. My favorite section was the entire aisle of Victorian poetry, a couple of thousand volumes, all beautifully printed with ornate gold-embossed boards between 1870-1910, all of them utterly unreadable, most of them still with the old-fashioned hand-written checkout cards, indicating that the last and only time the thing was checked out was April 9, 1881.

I don't think anyone's going to miss a few if they get turned into dope caddies or sculptures. It's probably better than where they are now, which is encased away in a remote computer warehouse facility, cataloged without title or author, only as "Victorian Poetry" or "Poetry, Victorian" or "Fuck Me, There's a Lot of These Goddamn Things".
Posted by Fnarf on August 16, 2012 at 6:45 PM · Report this
I'm sure I'll get flamed for this...

But I think this is actually a great idea.

Now, I have several shelves of books that I would never dream of cutting up but I have some shelves that just have a bunch of crap stored on them. I've made some amount of effort to make them look ok but it's still mostly random crap. I could totally see going to the thrift store and buying a pile of hardcover books at $.50-$1.00 and doing this to make my random storage shelves look better.

And, as others have noted. You can put your weed in there.…
Posted by Root on August 17, 2012 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Fenrox 42
There is nothing wrong with destroying books. Books are highly useless. Have you read Lemony Snicket? It's garbage. Megan McCain's book? Do I just have to wait 60 years before someone on the internet tries to rip me apart for suggesting any harm should come to it?

The fact that the books are out of order and haphazard is terrible.
Posted by Fenrox on August 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
I've turned a 50c Goodwill copy of one of Anne Coulter's books into a hollowed-out storage space for a flask of rum for a birthday gift, I felt no guilt or shame at that...
Posted by tal on August 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Soupytwist 44

I'm reminded of the first time I walked into an Anthropologie and they had huge displays of cut up books (all in good condition, all classics like Dickens, Bronte, Austen) and I swooned. It was like walking into a Civil War-era surgery, piled high with dismembered limbs... I occasionally have nightmares about it.
Posted by Soupytwist on August 17, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
In 2000, a soon-to-be failed start-up I was working for bought 1,500 books from Elliott Bay and cut the books up to be scanned for an online book project. When I quit, they let me keep the mutilated books and we had a big book-binding party. We gave the repaired books away to rural libraries, etc. although I still have a few books on my shelves with duct taped spines. This youtube video brings back the memories.
Posted by chrisb on August 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Report this
Voltairine 46
There are probably thousands of books that are suitable for this project. I could easily build a house out of unwanted copies of The Corrections, or A Million Little Pieces, or The Bluest Eye, etc. And those are books that might be worth your time to read. The amount of books that are worth no one's time to read is great enough to fill warehouses. I can promise you that hundreds of them are pulped every day. If it's not rare or precious you might as well get some joy out of cutting them up for your craft project.
Posted by Voltairine on August 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM · Report this
WHO THE HECK WOULD DO THIS TO A VINTAGE BOOK? You wanna get crafty? Make some FAKE spines that just LOOK like vintage books. It's like using fifty-year-old wine to create bloodstains for a Halloween costume.
Posted by DRF on August 18, 2012 at 7:33 PM · Report this
How dare this bitch cut up something she wasn't going to use anyways? We should stop people from turning their own possessions into other things. Let's ban the creation of cut-offs from jeans, and publicly shame any child found to have created art from macaroni.
Posted by Books are for reading, phones are for talking. on August 20, 2012 at 7:11 AM · Report this

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