Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cooking the Books?

I was a bit flabberghasted today when a friend told me in an email that when he acquires second-hand books he sticks them into the microwave for a couple of minutes to sterilise them and kill the silverfish!* The latest book to undergo the process was an autographed copy of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy and there was apparently no damage done. (This same bloke used to freeze them to kills the bugs before he thought of zapping them.)

Some time back on the Guardian blog Chas Newkey-Burden described his queasiness at dealing with other folks DNA deposits among the pages and those "mucus moments".

It's something I've never given a thought to until now. But I won't be cooking my own books, 'cos knowing my luck I'd probably set the house on fire!

(*See also Yahoo answers on the subject.)

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

It works. Just pop in the book for a minute, then take it out and check to see if it's warm. If you feel it can take another minute, put it in again. It also depends on the thickness of the book, of course. And make sure the cover has no silver or gold foil on its designs. If you can remember what happened to one of the evil gremlins trapped in a microwave in either "Gremlins" or "Gremlins 2", then you hope it'd happen to silverfish too!

:-)

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

And remember the late 90s when the news went around that freezing your CDs made them sound better when you played them? I used one of my bigmistakepurchase to try it out (Richard Marx's crappy 'Repeat Offender'), and it worked, for a while!

- Poppadumdum

bibliobibuli said...

likewise, i'm wondering which book to pop in my microwave first. (chris cleaves' "incendiary"?)

Anonymous said...

Kiran Desai's Inheritance of Loss :-)

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Stephen King's "Firestarter"

:-)

anasalwa said...

Does he sterilize the microwave before he sticks in the food?

Anonymous said...

No need to sterlize lah...germs already all dead when you open the oven door :-)

KayKay said...

I would pop Kiran's book in ...and not take it out until it was a flaming, charred and shredded mess:-)

gnute said...

You freaks.

lil ms d said...

hahahaha this is funny

Anonymous said...

I agree with KayKay!!!!

- Poppadumdum

John Evans said...

Perhaps the perpetrator was Wacko Jacko....

synical said...

I've never heard of this one - one for Mythbusters!

Anonymous said...

No need for those wankers on Mythbusters with the Village People moustaches...

Easy to verify - put a live cockroach in a small transparent plastic bag, and pop it in the 'wave and watch what happens...if that can happen to a roach, it'll work on silverfish and germs...

Excuse me, that must be the RSPCA at the door :-))))

Anonymous said...

Actually some microbes can survive freezing.

As for zapping, I can see why it would work on silverfish (and cockroaches), cos they contain liquid and would essentially boil to death (from the inside), but germs ... hmm ... my impression was that the microwave's sanitizing power came from heating up whatever liquid was available to boiling point, thereby boiling the nasty little buggers ... do germs in and of themselves contain enough liquid to boil?

Or is my theory totally off base?

-Jen

Aravin said...

kiran desai is a great author and i would not stand any criticsm against it. the inheritance of loss is one of my favorites.

bibliobibuli said...

i liked it very much too, Arvin. but each to their own tastes, i guess.

Anonymous said...

That's one for the butler. He can do that after he's done ironing the newspapers :)

Josette said...

Wow, I've never heard of book-cooking before! this is definitely something new and something I wouldn't try. :/

If there's silverfish, I'd just grab a tissue and catch the wriggly thing as fast as I can. It's quick, easy, and saves electricity.