The worst feeling in the world is when you buy a physical copy of a book & then learn from reviews, or actually reading the book, that it is a problematic mess. I’ve found myself in this situation a couple of times and it sucks every time it happens. I get so bummed out knowing I wasted money and am now stuck with it.
Normally, I donate books I don’t like to my local Friends of the Library because it gives the library money (and I get a nice tax write off), but sometimes there are books that have content I deem too problematic for me to consider doing so. I don’t want to donate a Young Adult novel that has damaging representation or themes only for it to get in the hands of a young reader.
But fear not readers, there are a ton things you can do with problematic books that you find too reprehensible to donate that don’t include book burning.
Yes, you can recycle books. Even those pesky hardcovers. For those of you who don’t want the book anywhere in your vicinity ever again, recycling your problematic book is a great option & a lot less wasteful then just burning it or feeding it to your cat or just plain throwing it in the trash.
Now, you’ll have to be careful recycling books. Depending on where you live and how your city manages its recycling, you might have to do some extra work while recycling. For example, in the city where I live you can recycle paperbacks however you want, but hardcovers have to have the hardback covers & spines removed. Please, make sure you find out how your city or area wants them recycled, or if it’s possible at all because in some areas they might not accept books as recyclable material. If you find yourself in the position of not being able to recycle it, there are still some options left.
For those of you who have not had the healing experience of ripping out pages of a book, hear me out.
I spent one afternoon watching 3 Fast and Furious movies while tearing out pages of a book I despised. It was one of the most relieving experiences I’ve ever had. Knowing that I was destroying a book I truly hated made me the most satisfied I’ve been in years. I would 100% recommend it. Who wants to get me SJM books to do it with.
And now that you’re sitting in a pile of pages, there are a ton of other cool things you can do with them…
Are you looking for a way to make your packaging for presents for bookish friends more bookish? Have you always wanted to be that cool, artsy person who gives the perfectly bagged gifts that no one actually wants to open because they’re too perfect?
Well, you’re in luck. There are a ton of cool ways to turn a problematic book into unique, bookish packing supplies.
My two favorite options for turning a problematic book into present packaging supplies are using the pages as shredded paper for packaging fragile things (or just to make it look cool) or paper mache-ing it into a cute box to put a present in. As creatively bankrupt STEM major, those are the only two ways I personally use my problematic books as supplies. With a creative mind, there are probably more options.
Turning my problematic books into a bookstgram props is one of my go to ways to repurpose a problematic book. It’s great because then you don’t have to go out and buy a used book just to rip out all the pages when someone else could, you know, actually read the book instead.
Back in June, I painted the pages that I ripped out while watching Fast and Furious rainbow in honor of Pride Month for a special bookstagram prop, which you can see below~
For those of you who might find ripping out pages of problematic books not “defacing” enough or want more of a craft challenge, you’re in luck. There are a ton of cool things to turn the pages into through origami or just a lot of cutting.
I have yet to do it, but you can turn pages into paper flowers. The result is gorgeous and it always adds such a unique touch. Plus, you don’t have to be one of those people who spends $20 on book page flowers when you could easily make them yourself.
There are a ton of tutorials online for making them, below is one of the simpler ones I’ve found & actually plan on doing once my summer class ends:
For the extremely ambitious, there are a ton of ways to repurpose problematic books as home decor items that still block out the cover. You can do anything from book page wreaths to book page star filled ornaments to book page pumpkins.
One of my personal favorites is pictured below. If you’re looking to dispose of your Susan Elizabeth Phillips Collection, this is probably the best craft.
Someone else please do this so I can live vicariously through you because I can’t glue things to my wall.