First, imagine that you own a house with a large basement or ground-level room. The floor is basically composed of congruent glass panels set in a grid pattern, like so:
I had to clear out the furniture to draw this picture.
The glass is reinforced—it's like, an inch thick and bulletproof—which allows people to walk over it and place furniture on top of it. You are probably wondering why there is a hazy blush of color in the center of each of those transparent or translucent (homeowner's choice) glass panels, huh? Well, I'll tell you why! It's because underneath each panel is an inset storage shelf, upon which has been placed a row of books! Seen from the perspective of a person standing on this floor, the vertical alcoves would look something like this:
A first edition of Yale Press's 1954 The Future: Progressive Essays in Experimental Ontology anthology? Amazing!
How might a person go about accessing the books they put under their glass floor? Did I hear that question correctly? I sure hope so, because that's precisely the question I was about to answer. Notice that on the right side of each glass pane, there is a pair of dots. Those dots represent small holes, the rims of which would be specially reinforced with rubber O-rings. Why is this important? Because you, as the owner of this classy, bookish basement, have in your possession a grip with two prongs that are designed to fit into the holes on these glass panels. Each prong would terminate in a curve designed to slide into a groove under the glass, for a close and sure fit.
The backwards beamed eighth notes pictured are actually the grip.
When the prongs go in, the attached grip becomes a handle with which you may open the glass panel! Each pane will turn on a hinge that allows it to open like a square glass door. You know what that means? It means that with this grip, you have exclusive, easy access to your basement library! When you're finished retrieving the tomes you want, you can close the panel, remove the grip, and hang it back up on the bronze hook you installed in your kitchen, closet or panic room.
What pretty pastel-colored spines your books have!
And there you have it. So, if you're a wealthy homeowner with a large spare room that's got a high ceiling (this design would move the level of the floor up a couple feet), and you happen to own a lot of books, you should consider storing them in this way—under a beautiful, thick plane of square glass panels. You could even line the walls with traditional standing bookshelves, especially ones made of fragrant wood, like pine. People would walk into that room and say things like, "I am in a great hall of knowledge!", "this person is serious about book storage!", "what a great-smelling repository of literature and philosophy!", and so forth. Who doesn't like compliments?
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UPDATE: In light of my usual standard of scrupulousness when it comes to citing my sources, I am a tad bit ashamed to admit that Dan was the one who originally introduced the idea of the glass floor. When I started writing and sketching the above yesterday, I was operating with the sincere belief that I was the originator of the idea, but alas! It came out in conversation today that Dan is the true source. Consider the above an appropriation and development of his original idea, which emerged in rapid-fire brainstorming (hence the mistake). Sorry Dan!