This page is not so much about dirty books, but how to clean them correctly.
This first installment is a treatise on how not to do this. Some time ago,
I bought the excellent go book Life and Death: Intermediate Level Problems,
by Maeda Nobuaki, see David Carlton's
review. The review
begin with the ominous statement:
"It's a small book, and fits in the pocket of my jeans" which was the start
of all my troubles. Indeed, while on vacation, I had started to
store this book in the secret pocket of my slacks, just in case of sudden
boredom arose, e.g., while my wife was trying on clothes at every single
second hand shop in Berkeley, CA.
The final ingredient for disaster was the appartment we were renting. It not only contained a washer but a dryer, something which is virtually unheard of in France. This motivated me to do my own laundry, as I was finally relieved of the painful chore of hanging up all my wet clothes on temporary hangers. This was the result:
The secret pocket had worked so well that I had accidentally washed the book Intermediate Level Problems, with catasrtophic results. In fact, the only part of the book which survived relatively intact was the cover's plastic film, the rest of the book having completely disintegrated into specks of paper spread on my other laundered clothing or accumulated into two smallish white globs (resting on the cover in the above picture). It took three further washings to remove all the detritus from my clothes.
Well, I could blame myself for doing this, especially since I had
already washed other secreted documents. Five years ago, it was my
passport with the following result:
But why blame myself when I can find fault with the publishers Slate & Shell? Their description of this book explicitly says: "A pocket sized collection" so it is their fault that I carried it in my pocket and ended up washing it accidentally. Moreover, the quality of the paper must seriously deficient, because my passport managed to survive quite well, as this picture can attest:
I don't see why Go books can't use the same quality paper.
In fact, I should stop wasting time and claim a full refund.
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