Chat – Blogwide Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Books

Confiscated books…?


Regardless of whether your book is for life, some treatment is unnecessarily cruel. If I could do a job which didn’t exist, it would be Book Protection Officer. It is my theory that any remaining overpriced second-hand book emporiums serves this function. We all know the owners make their money in antiquarian titles. In the meantime, they house as many books as they can stuff into their shop without incurring the wrath of health and safety. (Don’t get me started on health and safety police. They’re deep in my Room 101. Somebody might fall? Guess what, folks, they really might.)  It is fun to believe those shops function as a front for book protection. They didn’t buy those tatty paperbacks. They confiscated them.

Here’s my list of sanctionable behaviour. Turns out I would incur a few santions myself … but sssh. I want that second hand emporium, or at least that pile of confiscated books.


Mistaking book for coffee mat. Dad, you’re a repeat offender, although never with my books. You did it to that story I kindly printed out when I was 8 ½, and yep, I still remember. Sanction: warning.

Spine Wreakers. I covered my feelings about spine wreakers in my article on  bookish anxiety. Spine wreaking is out. Sanction: retraining – I’m lenient. Many people are unaware that books can be opened gently. Take part in the programme and I’ll remove your warning. Repeat offenders banned for life.

Cheesecake, custard and a book – I have previous. Yep, with actual cheesecake. Food and drink are banned in my ‘library’ due to the sheer number of books. Sanction – fine. I’ve sorted books in a charity shop. I know where food induced incidents can lead, and trust me, it ain’t pretty.

Loo Librarian – do you stash books down the side of the loo? I’m sure you’re a lovely and fully-rounded human being. Even so, you’re advised to skip to the next item. I have strong feelings about this. Disgusting. Totally disgusting. Fine and Life Long Ban. That advert with the guy in his Y-fronts should be pulled. It encourages reckless behaviour towards books.

Over-revision – just how many notes do you need to make in your totally unreadable handwriting? Do you remember any of this? Will it pull you through the exam better than a well-organised notebook and a readable text? Caution. Firm caution… and possibly a cup of tea. Some people need to calm it with the biro.

Bananarama (aka left in a locker alongside a banana. All term. Leads to terrific degrees of mould.) – now, before you confiscate my book collection, let me tell you. It was a violin certificate. Nobody has ever, in the intervening years, asked to see my Grade 3 violin certificate. Sanction – *hums* Up there with the loo library, but don’t mention the violin certificate when I come knocking.

Beached – Appropriately, it was Sara Taylors The Shore which got crumpled and sandy. Couldn’t have picked a better title. I was miffed, because I wanted to read it ahead of its publication. Divine book. Sanction – Are you kidding? Reading on the beach in a joy and a right, and I’ve done it too many times to count. We’ll print some awareness posters about caring for books during the summer period. Maybe an informative luggage label.

Boomerang – it was Stendhal’s life of Napoleon, and thankfully it didn’t fly back. The essay was overdue, I knew nothing about the era at that point, and I switched moudles… I would devour the same module now, but uncertain I’d think any more of Stendhal. Sanction – whatever it is, there’s a loophole for set books.



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