How to open a book



That’s good advice. Did you hear about the Heritage Foundation’s new program? They know nobody reads their books, but they want to say they have. So they send “pre-read” and marked up books to people.

Heritage Foundation To Launch Freedom To Read and Freedom Food Programs


I had a high school English teacher who required us to do this to all the new paper backs he assigned. Apparently he did some testing and found it made the books last for more read throughs. Still do it with every new paper back I buy, never found it did much with modern hardcovers.


We take operating books pretty for granted these days, so this may seem amusing; but only a few centuries ago people really struggled!


Back in the late 1970s when I was a Cub Scout, I remember similar bits of advice on opening paperbacks in the handbooks. I don’t know if they really thought people needed it or if it was something copied-and-pasted from previous editions over decades.

Sounds very like the Heritage Foundation have included pre-reading Cruiskeen Lawn among their Services.

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That’s exactly what they had us do with new textbooks. It’s a good habit to get into.

Thank you for this! I created the idea of the Freedom to Read series and the pre-read books. I have never heard of Cruiskeen Lawn or Flann O’Brien, but it pleases me to know that someone with the same Irish heritage as me had the same idea.

His execution was very amusing. Mine was a one trick pony, but I did saddle that pony.
What amuses me is the number of people who assumed that “Of Course they would do this.” because that is just the kind of group they are.

This makes me very happy. Especially as St. Patrick’s Day coming up, thanks again for the link!

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Back when I first began as a bookseller, almost forty years ago, these (and similar) slips used to show up in old books with some regularity. William Matthews, who is quoted at the foot, was one of the great fin de siècle New York bookbinders (never a bookseller, to the best of my knowledge), who bound for the likes of Pierpont Morgan and Robert Hoe. His work was exclusively done in very fine leathers, and new leather bindings can indeed be broken as he describes if not carefully opened, though it should be said that the binders of the period tended to favor a much more rigid binding structure then their modern successors. They also tended to skive the joints of their books very thin. Books bound in cloth tend to be much more forgiving, although it is no bad thing to treat any new book gently!


I always open books this way.
Once I was in a hurry, I forgot to do it, and the book exploded in thousand pieces.
My left hand was burnt and I had to go to hospital.

I was so ashamed when I had to explain that I didn’t open my book properly to the doctor.
He was like “oh, I’m so cool I graduated at Harvard, etc.”, making fun of me like I was an illiterate.

I didn’t tell anyone until now.


This doesn’t work well with my kindle. There was some unpleasant snapping sounds and now the screen is blank.


What’s a book?


You know that now you made a satirical article about it, it’s going to be a real thing, right? It’s like saying ‘Candyman’ three times.

Instructions unclear. Something has gone wrong.

doesn’t help much. i have a few books where i have to cut open the pages.

You’re holding the instructions upside-down.

You’ve probably been opening bananas wrong, too.

THEY never believed that I could wreck text book bindings the same day received even though I reassured it would from use, not mis-use. Although books are on the way out it seems. Give it time.

I pre-order opened bananas for just that reason. Fruit Fly’s r estra.

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(often unsafe for work, but not this comic)