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Book Disaster

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This week BTT asks:

You’ve just dropped your favorite, out-of-print book into a bathtub, ruining it completely … What do you do now?

This is not a hypothetical question; I have dropped a book into the water while I took a disco nap on the hammock on vacation in Thailand. The book, however, was not an out-of-print, signed, first edition. My copy of Memoirs of a Geisha sat floating on the surface of the pool, half the pages soaked. Upon retrieval from water, I wrapped that piteous clump of pages into a bath towel as if you would wrap up a baby after its bath. The towel absorbed some of the wetness. Back in my hotel room, I lay the book down and dried it page by page with a blow-dryer. It can’t help being dog-eared but at least I managed to dry it thoroughly after two hours. It wasn’t so such an issue of replacement to me, because I’ve always felt attached to my books. Seeing it damaged out of my own doing really hurts.

12 Responses

  1. I’ve dropped paperback books into the bath tub and the swimming pool. I managed to dry the pages well enough and since they were cheap paperbacks I didn’t feel to terrible about it. I never thought of the blow dryer, that was a good idea!

  2. Oh, I agree. I take great care of my books and hate it even when I’m reading while eating lunch of, say, laksa, and a drop of coloured sauce splashes onto the book. HORRIBLE! I feel your pain.

    • I avoid eating anything that is soupy when I read, or I just stop reading when I eat. I know that even when I’m most careful I still splash a bit of the sauce onto the page. *sigh*

  3. I use this procedure: http://www2.lib.udel.edu/Preservation/wet_books.htm , except I use a book press for the final stage.

    I wish I had know about this method when the great National Geographic bathwater disaster happened in my house 12 years ago. (Which reminds me: I really must to a blog post about it).

  4. For some reason, I will never forget this story about you. I guess it is a vivid vision, you laboriously hunched over your poor book drying it page by page. I’ve dropped books in the tub before, and maybe once in the pool as I was floating, but nothing that was special to me. This does give a new spin to reading the Kindle by the pool doesn’t it?

    • Laborious would be the perfect word. Your description of the course of events pretty much summed up exactly what happened on that beautiful afternoon in Phuket! 🙂 When I was in Hawaii recently, I was mindful of that tragic incident that I put away my Kindle when I was 20 feet away from the pool!

  5. Oh dear! In Bill Richardson’s _Bachelor Brothers Pillow Book_ there is a list of “Books for the Bath.” Highly recommend both _Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast_ and the sequel, _BB Pillow Book_ for bibliomaniacs.

    That said, having dropped a fair number of books in the bath, set the book on its fore edge on a table lined with paper towels. Place a small tabletop fan in front of it; let it dry overnight or longer. Fan the pages in the morning, continue drying. Kick self later.

    • Bill Richardson is the author I’m meant to read. Someone recommended a book by him and then I forgot (or misplaced) the note altogether. Now the name rings a bell. Thanks for the great book rescue procedure! 🙂

  6. Stick it in the freezer! Helps stop the warping and I’ve never had a book mold after doing this.

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