Exploding Books


Apparently, books can explode.

This was news to me as well, but I discovered it was possible while doing a bit of cleaning today. I strive to be reasonably organized but typically I have so many things going on simultaneously that things tend to spiral out of control until I take a step back and get a handle on them. So I took a bit of time today to clean and try to organize my physical environs.

Now as I was cleaning out my closet I took a look in one of my light travel bags. As a bit of explanation, whenever I travel anywhere for more than a day, and sometimes even then, I will take a certain book with me to read. About two years ago my first copy of this book, though still my favorite, became too worn for me to feel comfortable carrying it around anymore. I decided to purchase a new copy. As I was ruffling through my bag I saw this book lying there, sprawled out, covers split apart, pages twisted and bloated. Once I folded the pages back into some semblance of order the whole thing looks like it’s an 800 page tome stuffed into the binding of a 200 page book.

I have no clue how this managed to happen: I haven’t touched this book since I set the bag down in my closet, there’s no excessive moisture in the air, and I certainly didn’t manhandle the book or set it down in such a way that it would ruin the pages and the binding. The only thing that even hints to me at what happened to the book is the black stains that appear occasionally on the edges of pages. My first throught was that it was mold, but the black stains are somewhat dusty and could very well be charcoal (I keep a set of sketching pencils in the bag as well, though they are contained in their own sealed plastic container…)…

All in all I find this very disconcerting, especially since whatever happened to this book also happened to my passport. Now I am going to need to replace both. I’m betting that the new book might have had acidic pages, or something of the sort, that underwent some strange reaction due to one or another factors. I just hope it’s not mold, or else all the other papers in the bag that look visibly fine might spontaneously burst into elaborately crumpled forms and destroy themselves.

2 Responses

  1. It’s PROBABLY, mold, actually-

    Sounds like the book got wet, then got really warm. it’s happened to me before with some paperbacks in the trunk of my car.

  2. That’s not encouraging, though I guess it’s an unfortunate truth that I don’t want to face. Maybe I ought to take a hairdryer to every paper in the bag in the hopes that it kills off all the mold particles.

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