Books

This viral photo of books cut in half has sparked outrage over reading etiquette

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Hollie Richardson
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Viral Twitter photo about books.

What are the rules of book etiquette? This viral photograph proves this is an issue that many people feel very strongly about.

Book etiquette is a very subjective and personal thing. It is also very, very divisive. Some people love to dog-ear their favourite pages, while others view this as total sacrilege. Modern readers prefer to save space with an electronic Kindle, as old school literary lovers keep their hands firmly wrapped around paper copies. And scribbling notes in the page margins is a way for many readers to remember poignant passages, whereas the very thought of doing that is a big NO for those who want to keep their copies kept in pristine condition. 

But a recent Twitter photo has proved there is one rule of book etiquette that most of us can agree on: do not rip your books in half. 

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Alex Christofi shared a photo of three books that he has cut in half so that they are easier to read on the go.

He captioned the picture: “Yesterday my colleague called me a ‘book murderer’ because I cut long books in half to make them more portable.”

He then asked: “Does anyone else do this? Is it just me?”

As you can imagine, Twitter did not shy away from sharing answers. 

Thousands of people agreed with Stylist contributor Harriet’s view: “I dog-ear pages, underline bits, write notes, drop sauce on them and take them in the bath. But you, madam, need to get in the bin.”

One Twitter user said it’s time to invest in a Kindle, writing: “It’s just you. Get a Kindle. Save hard copies for [house] use. But for the love of puppies, stop this egregious behavior.”

Another reader pointed out the logic but also admitted that it is an emotional issue, tweeting: “Logically: they’re just cheap paperbacks, they’re not sacred, you can do what you want with your property. Emotionally: #internallyscreaming.”

The folks over at Penguin Random House had one thing to say about it: “You’re a monster.”

This outraged book purist added: “I don’t even turn down pages to mark my spot. I’ve been known to use money if I can’t find a bookmark. It makes me cringe when people turn down pages. Cut books in half? I may need more beer to get over that. Or a mint julep. Yes, you are a book murderer.”

Of course, there were rogue opinions from people who didn’t quite understand the outrage, with one writer saying: “People who are upset about the fellow who is cutting his books in half are really going to get hysterical when they find out what happens to books that don’t sell in stores.”

But, for us, one Twitter user summed our feelings up perfectly, succinctly tweeting: “I hate everything about this.”

So if you’re reading a long book at the moment, remember to treat it with the upmost respect and care. You never know who’s out there ready to rip it in half.

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Images: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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