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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

A Strong Case for a Modern Bookshelf

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You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge a home by its bookshelves.

“The first thing I do is throw out the paperbacks; they get ratty so quickly, says interior designer Vicente Wolf on how he arranges his shelves. “Then I remove the dustcovers on hardbacks because they look richer that way. I like organizing by height— nothing too rigid, with some vertical stacks leaning against horizontal ones, all occasionally accented with a wonderful object. I have carved mon- key skulls from Papua New Guinea, and for clients I’ve used Burmese bronze bells or seashells. But these should be accents—the shelves are there for books, not for displaying tchotchkes.”

Here, we pick seven of our favorites.

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