What should I do with these (lousy) books?

Ok, here’s a weird question for everybody.

I write book reviews (for the newspaper and the occasional magazine). My areas of expertise, as you might have gathered from other messages of mine around here, are a bit esoteric. As such, I often end up with really lousy books that I have reviewed. I don’t, in general, have to pay for these (either the publisher sends 'em to me or the newspaper pays for 'em). But here they are sitting on my bookshelf because I can’t bring myself to throw 'em out.

Some of the books in question are, “The Millenium Bug,” by Hyatt; “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Psychic” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tarot and Fortune-Telling;” “Reaching to Heaven,” by James Van Praagh; etc.

I could donate them to the library or Salvation Army or whatever and take a tax write-off, which is what I do when I get extra copies of a decent book (you wouldn’t believe how many times publishers have sent me duplicate copies), but I really don’t want to contribute to somebody else reading these things and possibly believing the nonsense that’s in them.

So, does anybody have any suggestions? (And, no, I don’t have a fireplace, and I have a gas grill – in case those were going to be suggested.)

“It’s a very dangerous thing to believe in nonsense.” – James Randi

Keep your ears open for the next filming of a movie on the rise of the Nazis.

::sigh:: I own one of the books in your list, but I think I’ll forebear from identifying which one.

You are acting as a censor when you say you don’t want somebody else to read and believe what’s in them. Sometimes they are read for purely the entertainment value, or for the educational value, or to understand where someone else’s attitudes or ideas come from. Why not let someone else decide whether they should read them or not? Are you one of those who believe that what’s in the library or the bookstore should be censored? It’s not like you would be forcing someone to read them against their will, y’know.

Not only that, but the best way for “nonsense” to be exposed as such is exactly that – expose it. That’s at least part of what the First Amendment is all about. The idea is that ideas which are poor or absurd will, instead of being shrouded in ignorance and mystery, be examined and shredded to identify their worth, or lack thereof.

I’d either donate them to the library, take 'em to a used book store and get a credit (assuming there are no restrictions on your doing this), or have a garage sale.


I’m a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That’s me
(Maya Angelou)

Most people buy dumb books for purely entertainment value. I bought one book called “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” by Shad Helmstetter, PhD. (PhD-ha!)
Talk about ridiculous pop-psychology!!! But I didnt buy it because I thought it would be intellectually or spiritually enlightening but because I knew Id get a kick out of reading something so stupid.
So, I say, donate the books to the library ( nobody should really have to pay for such fodder so dont take them to a used book store) and dont worry about corrupting minds cuz most people that bother to even go to libraries arent dumb enough to believe such stuff.

You should find a way to recycle them. It’s easy in our town, just put them curb side in the proper container on the right day and they are gone, to be made into something else.
Don’t know how it is where you are but burning or landfill seems such a waste.


Melin, David is not acting like a censor. A censor is a person in authority who says “You can not read/see this.” Governments censor things. The head of a library might be called a censor, but you could still get the book from another library, buy it, etc. If anyone wanted to read The Idiot’s Guide to Tarrot, they could order it from Amazon.Com.

If I owned a book store and refused to cary Playboy, Penthouse, etc., this is not censorship. I have not infringed on your right to see nudie pictures; I have refused to sell them to you. David is in the same position.

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Groucho Marx

Donate to something like Brandeis Books Sale, where you can presumably get a charitable deduction (even though you got the books free) based on the market value of the book… and whoever wants them, can buy them, and if no one buys them, the charitabobble institution has ways of disposing of them.

Alternately, books make a great insulation. Stack them against the walls of your house, they help keep the heat in and the cold out.

When I ran a cubscout group, one of our activities was making “secret hiding places” by glueing (or decoupaging) the pages of a book together, and cutting out an inside square with xacto knife… the kids loved it. Great project, winds up with a fun output (my son still stores his little odds and ends in a 1962 textbook on accounting.)

No decent recycling program in your area, eh?

You could glue them together in a stack for a lovely decorative smoking stand.

Or, how about giving them to the library with annotations in the margins like, “This is nonsense!” or “Don’t believe this bit - it isn’t true” (in ink of course, so the librarian doesn’t erase them). Maybe you could tip in a copy of your review for each book.

A final idea - buy a shredder!

Hey! Aseymayo stole my ideas! Most libraries (at least in the cities where I have lived) don’t put donated books into circulation. Donated books go to the Friends of the Library book sales (great buys there, BTW!). I agree with Melin about the educational value of these silly books – I am a pretty hard-core skeptic myself, but I might buy one of them as a goof, IF it was cheap enough. If you’re worried about them falling into the hands of the ultra-credulous, then, as you read them for review, scribble your comments and doubts right in the margins. Include some cites (this might lead the ultra-credulous person towards other, more rational, readings), and go ahead and glue stick a copy of your review in the back, as well.


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

Jess - that line about “great minds…” - it’s true!

I don’t see this as a censorship issue. It would be wrong for David to take action to prevent other people from reading these books, but he is perfectly entitled to choose not to promote the reading of them. Suppose David had found a box of Neo-Nazi hate propaganda. Would he then be obligated to avoid the stigma of censorship by sending it to a public library so it could be read?

Melin said:

Aw, come on. Set yourself up. :slight_smile:

As several people have already noted, this is patently ridiculous. I’m not stopping anybody from reading them – but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easier to get for somebody who wouldn’t otherwise have seen it (such as by donating it to a used book sale where it’ll be priced at a dollar).

They can – but again, I don’t have to make it easier for them. As Mike noted, if I found a box of neo-Nazi hate literature, I wouldn’t make it more available for people to read.

Are you one of those who ask questions that have nothing to do with the topic at hand?

Of course I don’t believe they should be censored. I do believe they should be properly classified (for example, not putting alien abduction books in the “Science” section), but if people want to buy nonsense, they should be able to do it – again, though, that doesn’t mean I have to help them.

Exactly – which is one reason I write the book reviews. But what are the odds that somebody who will find this book at a used book sale will have read my review? And if they don’t, they may not realize that they are reading nonsense (sure, some will, but some will buy the BS because they don’t realize it’s been debunked).

“Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand.”
– Neil Peart, RUSH, “Witch Hunt”

Thanks to the rest of you for various suggestions. Here are my replies:

alenalindsay said:

Any book I donate to the library will be used in their book sale (as mentioned by Jess). I have tried to donate books for the shelves (a couple of those that the publisher sent me twice) and you have to go thru this whole rigamarole, and they still won’t guarantee it’ll end up on the shelves. <sigh>

JMSaSU suggested:

Not a bad idea – better, at least, than just throwing 'em away. Thanks.

Jess said:

Probably the best idea I’ve seen (I know – part of the credit goes to aseymayo). While I’m not going to go back and add notes for the ones I’ve done so far (I did a little highlighting, but all comments were made on post-its), I like the idea of gluing in a copy of my review and writing in places to go for more (rational) information.

Another idea I had, but which I’m not sure about because it looks kind of hinky if I ever get audited, is donating the books to the organization of which I am the chairman. This organization addresses these concepts and we’ve been thinking about starting a library for members to use (though the idea was to get the rational books for the library – not the irrational ones). It is a non-profit, so I could donate the books and get the tax writeoff, and still be sure nobody would accidentally find one of these and believe the silliness inside. But, like I said, I feel a little hinky doing that (and I’m not sure the books would do anything but take up space anyway, 'cus I doubt any of the members would really want to waste time reading them).

So, right now, the idea of gluing in the review is leading the pack. Any other ideas, folks?

“Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand.”
– Neil Peart, RUSH, “Witch Hunt”

Two words:
“Compost Heap”

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

Find someone who makes tables with uneven length legs and go into business together.

Mail me the Tarot and Fortune-Telling one. Shred the rest of them and use them as packing materials.

Door stop. Table leveler. Leaf presser. Toddler booster seat. Wheel stop. Ammunition for throwing at person’s head when having dramatic tantrum.

Nah . . . just recycle 'em.

Drain Bead said:

You send me the postage, and they’re yours (along with, by the recommendation of people here, copies of my reviews of them :slight_smile: )!

Just curious: What would you do with them?

“Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand.”
– Neil Peart, RUSH, “Witch Hunt”

Return to sender.

Libby’s Mom

Wayne Green, last nights guest on the Art Bell show has a list of books that “you’d be crazy if you didn’t read” out on his website.

Here is a partial list of those books…are you pitching any of these?:

The Secret Life of Plants - Bird and Tompkins

The Secret Life of Your Cells - Robert Stone

Secrets of the Soil: New Age Solutions for Restoring Our Planet

The Persecution and Trial of Gaston Naessens: The True Story of the Efforts to Suppress an Alternative Treatment for Cancer, Aids, and Other Immunol

The Cancer Cure That Worked! - Barry Lynes

Kinship With All Life - J. Allen Boone

Left For Dead - Dick Quinn

Racketeering In Medicine - Dr. James Carter

Immunization - The reality Behind the Myth - Walene James

It’s All In Your Head - Hal Huggins

Patient Power - Goodman and Musgrave

Cross Currents - Robert Becker

Health And Light - John Ott

Light, Medicine of the Future - Jacob Lieberman

The Essiac Report - Richard Thomas

Mind Machines You Can Build - Harry Stine

Into The Light - Dr. William Douglass

Extra-Sensory Perception of Quarks - Stephen Phillips

The Big Bang Never Happened - Eric Lerner

Fingerprints of the Gods - Graham Hancock

The Fall of the Ivory Tower - George Roche

Inside American Education - Thomas Sowell

Dumbing Us Down - John Taylor Gatto

Augustine’s Law - Norman Augustine

Evolution From Space - Sir Fred Hoyle & Chandra Wickramasinghe

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman

The Secret Life of the Unborn Child - Verny & Kelly

Saved By The Light - Dannion Brinkley

The Light Beyond - Raymond Moody

The Secret Science Behind Miracles - Max Freedom Long

Journeys Out of the Body - Robert Monroe

The Holographic Universe - Michael Talbot

Malice In Wonderland - John Perkins

The Medical Mafia - Dr. Guylaine Lanct

Fluoride, the Aging Factor - Dr. John Yiamouyiannis

Root Canal Cover-Up - George Meinig

Environmental Overkill - Dixie Lee Ray

Magnetism and Its Effects on the Living System - Davis & Rawls

The Magnetic Blueprint of Life - Davis & Rawls

The Choice Is Clear - Dr. Allen Banik

The Impossible Child - Dr. Doris Rapp

Let’s Play Doctor - Dr. Joel Wallach

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water - F. Batmanghelidj

The Pulse Test - Dr. Arthur Coca

What You Need To Know About Water Dr. Kurt Donsbach

Conversations Beyond the Light - Dr. Pat Kubris & Mark Macy

Fountain of Youth - Peter Kelder

Nature’s First Law: The Raw Food Diet - Arlin, Dini

Living Water - Olof Alexandersson

Impure Science - Robert Bell

Humanity’s Extraterrestrial Origins - Dr. David Horn

The Sirius Mystery - Robert Temple

Alternative Science - Richard Milton

Free at Last - Daniel Greenberg

Montessori Today, Paula Lillard

Red World - Green World - Margaret Chaney

Innocent Casualties, Elaine Feuer

The Day After Roswell, Col. Philip Corso

Lick The Sugar Habit - Nancy Apppleton

Beating The Food Giants - Paul Stitt

Not By Fire, but by Ice - Robert Felix

The Philosopher’s Stone - Michio Kushi

How to Raise A Brighter Child - Joan Beck

Senseless Secrets - Michael Lanning

Marketing Secrets of a Mail Order Maverick - Joseph Sugarman

In God We Trust - Judith Hayes

A Nation of Millionaires - Robert Genetski

The Psychic Paradigm - Beverly Jaegers

Drug Crazy - Mike Gray

Forbidden Archeology - Michael Cremo & Richard Thompson

Eectrolytes, the Spark of Life - Gillian Martlew

The Book of Health - Susan Stockton

The Conscious Universe - Dean Radin

Conversations With Nostrasamus - Dolores Cannon

Dress For Success - John Molloy

Travels - Michael Crichton

How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

The Power of Thought - Eugene Maurey

The Pyramid - Les Brown

The Divining Hand - Christopher Bird

The Divining Mind - Ross & Wright

Psychometry - The Science of Touch - Beverly Jaegers

Abduction, John Mack

The Dilbert Future - Scott Adams

Adventures Beyond the Body, William Buhlman

Past Life Regression (A Practical Guide), Florence McClain

5/5/2000, Richard Noone

Notes From The Cosmos, Gordon Scallion

Mass Dreams of the Future - Chet Snow

Alien Agenda - Jim Marrs

The Threat - David Jacobs

Parkinson’s Law, C. Northcote Parkinson

The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship: Or the Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating

Lifemanship, the Art of Getting Away with It Without Being an Absolute Plonk (NEW)

One-Upmanship: Being Some Account of the Activities and Teachings of the Lifemanship Correspondence College of One-Upness and Games Lifemastery

Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

Parliament of Whores

Give War A Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind’s Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice and Alcohol-Free Beer

Holidays In Hell

The Dilbert Principle : A Cubicle’s-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions
Thanks, anxiously awaiting your reply,

Contestant #3