Judge John Hodgman Episode 251: Wrecks Libris

Monte Belmonte

Jeanna files suit against her husband Craig. She insists that Craig mishandles books, by dogearing the pages and using them as doorstops around the house. Craig says he loves books and treats them appropriately. Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one man can decide.

Thanks to Alex Overall for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.





I know a lot of librarians and I just adored the section of the podcast when the librarians kept transferring the call. They would NEVER give out false or imprecise information. Side note: As an English teacher I constantly tell students to please not lay books down opened and to please, please, please use a book mark! (As I say, "God gave us bookmarks for a reason!")

Yay Over Sea Under Stone

That book's the best! The whole series is amazing.

Storytime, bookwise

You know, bookmarks can also tell a story.

Them books are more fragile than you think

As a library employee I have to chime in re: the comment that books will be used 100 or 1000s of times. Library books only survive 25-35 circulations - hardbacks that is - paperbacks are more fragile.dog- earing those pages will more likely lead to one of the next dozen people accidentally tearing a page and ruining the book. And most libraries don't want to circulate a book with a taped up page. We want to have books in good condition.

So true

I'm also a librarian, and I completely agree. Twenty-five to thirty-five circulations is pretty typical, especially with newer hardbacks, which aren't bound as well as they used to be. Sometimes we can push it to 50-100 circulations if people treat the book well. We can repair some damage to books, but not all. If we have to withdraw the book because it's badly damaged, we might not be able to replace it, either because we don't have the money or the book is out of print. :(

OMGod it's my childhood dictionary

I had that same 1979 American Heritage Children's Dictionary. It was the best. The day I graduated from that to the two-volume Funk & Wagnalls was a proud but sad one.

Loved this ep. But,

Loved this ep.

But, respectfully, I think the Judge avoided a major crux in the case: respecting other people's (or shared) property.

Every element of the case boiled down to Craig's failure to respect things that do not belong to him, and the bad influence that has on his kids. It was telling that he repeatedly vowed to follow the Judge's ruling, but kept questioning the validity of his local librarian's thoughts on the matter. When the person in charge of public property says that it isn't okay to fold said property, you follow their rules, not wonder how you can undermine them or prove her wrong. It's basic respect. You can't expect children to learn to respect and care for other people's property when they're watching Dad's selfish actions.

I think a discussion of bookmarks and door jambs was in order. Perhaps he could use the page the Judge ripped from his notebook.

I agree about your

I agree about your characterization of the library's policies and desire. As librarians, we are trained to find the correct answer or to forward the question on to the appropriate authority, as the library employees did in this case. We are strongly trained not to give our personal opinion or to make up an answer if we do not know. The Judge did not ask the first two library employees for their opinion, he asked for the library's policy. The third employee was very precise in her clear explanation of the library's policy about patrons abusing library property. I do not believe the physician will respect anyone's desires, directions, or policies-- not his wife's, not the library's, and not the judge's.

This guy's a physician?

I guess the Hippocratic Oath doesn't extend to books.