The horrifying case of the book-murderer | Jabbering Journo column

The book was murdered
The book was murdered

This week the world of Twitter (not the real world obviously) was  apoplectic after an author proclaimed he “cut long books in half to make them more portable”.

How very dare he?!

The response in the cut-throat world of social media was swift and decisive

Book-lovers worldwide piled in to condemn this sort of cruel and unnecessary ‘book murder’ which sees pages sliced and diced for mere carrying convenience.

Calling him a terrorist was perhaps a bit much, but purists such as myself immediately rushed to our own bookshelves, speaking in loving whispers to our paper and hardback tomes while stroking their spines and assuring them we would never treat them so dismissively.

Of course, this makes me a tiny bit of a hypocrite.

I have been known to take my books into the bath, causing crinkles and damp patches, not to mention the time I dropped an entire psychological thriller (brand new) into boiling hot water, an action which surely amounts to book-slaughter by drowning.

But that was not premeditated dismemberment and the thought of killing a book deliberately is as heinous a crime as the act of buying books by the yard so they look good on your shelf then turning them around so you can’t see the spine.

Yes, people actually do this on purpose.

I would argue that should you find your book too heavy, there is a remarkable device called an e-book reader, which doesn’t weigh much and carries all manner
of reads.

Even better, a miraculous contraption called a phone, in which you can fit the entire works of Shakespeare and Harry Potter, is available - and not a single bead of sweat will tarnish your brow.

There will be no need at all to get a saw and slice these in half, though I might suggest said tweeting author try that one as punishment .

After all, as one Twitter-user asked him, “what do you do when your children get too big to lug around?”

Good point.

Yes, you can argue it’s the words that matter and not the book itself but the thing is you need them all together - and alive.

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