Over at the University of Southern Denmark in the country of Denmark, they found book that could kill people. Not some incendiary texts like Mein Kampf full of crazy stupid ideas of harm, but actual books with poison on them.
It goes like this:
Researchers were looking at the books because back in the day, like more than thirty years ago, books were sometimes recycled. Old greek and roman paper were wiped clean and reused and even stuffed in the spines to make them more sturdy
Researchers love that shit. Like pulling DNA from amber to make dinosaurs, they can extract that information and learn hella lot. This time it seems they got a Tyrannosaurus Rex, though.
While looking over a few books in the collection, the USD staff noticed this weird green paint covering it. They pulled out their x-ray gun because fuck paint, and it came back with some crazy shit. Not only was there some cool shit under the paint, but the paint itself was full of arsenic.
In case you're wondering, arsenic is bad for researchers. And most other people. And it can not sense movement, much like the T-Rex.
Why would this be a thing? you ask.
I am glad you asked because I asked the same thing. My first idea was disgruntled book maker who hated him some librarians. Because this was a society where they still had no clue that poop was full of evil, the book maker went for poison. Poison: nature's poison.
My second idea: Hamlet. It's Denmark, yo. What if this is the real story, not a bunch of people at the end hacking at each other with poison swords, but a spelling bee.
Here, Laertes, borrow my text, Hamlet says.
Don't mind if I do, Laertes says and hits Hamlet in the face with a book. Then Hamlet chucks a primer at Claudius and Gertrude starts eating pages like they were corn chips.
Turns out that is not right. I know. No CSI: Library edition or Shakespeare rewrites this time around.
What had happened was, this was pretty normal. No the killing people with poison books, but painting things with poison. A special paint called "Emerald Green" or "Paris green" due to its color and because they called it "Paris Green" (I dunno, they just called it that?) was used all over.
Turns out the emerald green is good for two things:
1) It looks pretty. Just a nice shade and is not that sometimes all you need.
2) It kills shit. Well, not shit, but rodents and bugs that eat books.
That's just metal as hell, right? Books that act as their own poison centers to kill off the things that want to devour them. Kinda like how plants give off bad tastes or poison to protect themselves because they are living creatures and you should not kid yourself if you eat something something had to die. And books.
What if you did eat books, though, and we had to protect them from you? Like those folks with pica that eat coins and couch cushions? I would paint the library books with poison if I had a patron eating them.
I would also have a lot of questions for this libratarian.
What's the best tasting book? Genre? Nonfiction or fiction?
Does the age of the book matter? Do you need to get nonfiction fresh like in collection development or are genealogy books better aged like cheese?
What's the taste difference between JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer? I figure one of them would be like Cheetos, but I am not saying which.
So many questions. At least we know that the books of the University of Southern Denmark are okay.