Today is the ninety-sixth birthday of Ralph Ellison. Also born today, four years earlier, was Wallace Stegner. Yesterday was Montaigne’s. And the day before that: John Steinbeck, James T. Farrell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the author of this blog, who turned fifty-seven on Friday. Mrs Commonplace wanted the books off the floor, but was undecided how to go about it. A Kindle would keep future purchases from winding up there, but would do nothing to relieve the present clutter. She decided upon a Bosch router instead so that Mr Commonplace would perhaps be enticed to build new bookcases. It remains to be seen whether this ploy will succeed.