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Book murdering: It is absolutely fine to rip your books in half

On Monday morning, an apparently innocuous tweet summoned a storm of controversy on Twitter.

“Yesterday my colleague called me a ‘book murderer’ because I cut long books in half to make them more portable,” said the novelist and editor Alex Christofi. “Does anyone else do this? Is it just me?”

Responses were mixed.

As Natalie Morris reported on Metro, some respondents were decidedly outraged, calling Christofi’s actions “demonic” and Christofi himself a “book psychopath.” But others were torn.

Logically, they said, they could understand that it was fine for Christofi to do whatever he wanted to do with his own books. But emotionally, it was hard to look at books that had been cut in half.

This outsize reaction and emotional conflict isn’t new to the internet. It tends to rear its head whenever we start talking about books as physical objects and how best to treat them.

When Marie Kondo suggested getting rid of books that didn’t spark joy, book lovers were outraged: Didn’t Kondo know that the best books would spur emotions that were much richer and more unsettling than joy? And when it became trendy to shelve one’s books by color, some readers sneered that such a practice was only for literary poseurs, that true readers who cared about their books as more than just decorative objects would never organize them so counterintuitively.

That reaction only intensified during the more short-lived trend of shelving one’s books spine-in, and after Town Country reported that some celebrities hire book curators to give their libraries exactly the right look: This

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