Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Beware the Deadly Book

Here's something that will give you a laugh today. An article in the Times Floridian (via Bookninja) about how seemingly harmless books sitting on a shelf, piled on the floor, on lurking on a table or desk could be planning an attack.

in the United Kingdom more people are hurt by books (2,707 a year) than by training weights (1,884), trampolines (1,902) or cricket balls and bats (1,174). Lest you think only British books are hazardous, you should know that 10,683 U.S. citizens lose their battles with what the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System categorizes as "books, magazines, albums or scrapbooks" in an average year, and another 1,490 are clobbered by magazine racks or bookends.
Notice, if you will, magazines, albums and scrapbooks are included in the count. I think they are the ones giving books a bad rap. Then there is the part of the article that says researchers in Bogota have "discovered" that 12 percent of librarians are allergic to book dust. Gasp! Horror of horrors! But that's not all, the researchers conclude not that the librarians have dust allergies, no, that would be too easy. They conclude that "new respiratory allergens may be lurking and evolving in the stacks." Who knows what you might find in the dark recesses of your public library. But the best part is "Book exposure may even get you high." They aren't talking about an intellectual high here. According to mycologist Dr. R.J. Hay of Guy's Hospital in London, the "various fungi that feed on the pages of old books could be a source of hallucinogenic spores." This can bring reading to a whole new level. Someone should research if the quality of the moldy high is better from say, Jane Austen, than from say, Stephen King. And how many moldy books do you have to sniff in order to get high anyway? If you will excuse me, I have some research to do.