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Throwing Books Across The Room

A photograph of a hardback upended on the floor

Important to note before we begin: I loved the book used in the photograph. I didn’t want to single out a book I’d hated so I chose a less awkward option. Unfortunately trying to get a good photograph of a book in context is difficult to achieve without showing the spine.

Bit of a light-hearted discussion today. I can’t say I’ve ever thrown a book across a room. I know it’s often used as a metaphor but you do see it in action sometimes, if mostly on television or written about in a way that suggests it truly happened. In a way it’s more interesting to discuss because it can be a metaphor. Because it is a physical reaction to a strong emotional reaction.

It’s a reaction related to the times people become exasperated by what they’re reading, a book they aren’t liking for whatever reason – they may well not mind if it gets damaged. This last thing said, it can just be an expression in the moment.

“The only thing worse than hate is indifference.” – Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall. It is better to have that ‘extreme’ reaction than feel apathetic. Throwing a book shows the reader has had a strong reaction; they’ve read the book attentively. They may be taking it to heart.

Does one feel guilt or relief? I know the reason I’d never do it is because I like to keep my books nice. I accept dog-earring happens, grudgingly. (Interestingly, despite the irritation I feel whenever a musician, though especially a non-musician, destroys musical instruments for a music video or so forth, I do not feel an irritation with people throwing books. Maybe it’s because it’s not so extreme. Maybe it’s because a book is far easier, cheaper, to replace. Maybe it’s because there are a plethora – a plethoric plethora? – of books compared to musical instruments in the world.) I can understand the knee-jerk reaction, it’s just not something I’ve real knowledge of.

Ebooks can’t be thrown – are Amazon and Kobo on to something? You can drop a device but if you don’t consider where you are – a sofa or sat against the wall on a hardwood floor? – there will be repercussions.

So I’d like to know whether you’ve ever thrown a book, which book it was, and what it was about it that made you do it? And if you haven’t, would you?


April Munday

November 16, 2016, 10:01 am

I’ve never thrown a book across a room. If I get really angry with a book there are two options. One is to stop reading and either give it away or bin it, which is perhaps the equivalent of throwing it across the room. The other is to accept that I’m angry and to read on in the hope that I’ll learn something or that I’ll gain a greater understanding of the author’s point of view, or both. Sometimes the book will still be binned, but sometimes it will become a treasured friend.
I wouldn’t like to name names of the books I’ve binned, but Madame Bovary was one that made me angry, but eventually made me love it.

Booker Talk

November 16, 2016, 10:04 am

Ive never actually done this but felt like it many times,most recently this week when I had to plough through Little Women for a course module. My husband signals his reaction by putting the book in the waste bin in the bathroom. I just put it in the charity bag!


November 16, 2016, 1:26 pm

I’ve done this in the past and will probably do it in the future–it’s a release, for me. Throw that book at the wall and feel like you’ve thrown what you read in it explosively away! I don’t remember ever doing this with a hardback, mostly because if I buy a hardback book, it’s because I’ve already read it. So I’ve thrown paperbacks. Here’s the post where I discuss why I threw a book against the wall recently:


November 16, 2016, 4:29 pm

Although I have often heard people say they could have thrown the book across the room – I can’t say I’ve ever done it and I can’t think of what a book could do to me to make me angry enough to throw it. I think I am much more likely to just stop reading it and give to a charity shop.

Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis

November 16, 2016, 7:08 pm

Oh, I’ve felt like it, for sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually done it. I’m most tempted if I’ve actually finished it and felt that it was a colossal waste of time.


November 16, 2016, 8:20 pm

I’ve never actually thrown a book though the urge has been there. At most I make angry noises and slam the cover closed. My husband did once throw a book across the room. It was a paperback but that’s all I remember about it other than it was rather alarming when he did it.

Sarah’s Book Shelves

November 20, 2016, 2:29 pm

I haven’t actually thrown a book across the room, but I did really want to throw my Kindle across the airplane when I finished City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. Powered through 900 pages to get a 300 page totally dragged out non-ending. I was legitimately angry.


November 20, 2016, 4:41 pm

I can’t remember ever doing this – I like my books too much! I’m one who can’t even bear to dog-ear pages to mark my place.

Throwing a hardcover could do some real damage…


November 20, 2016, 7:22 pm

I’ve only done it once, and I can’t even remember why or what book it was. I just remember the feeling of such shock or horror that it had to be away from me.

I’m not too worried about keeping my books in good condition, but I’d rather not treat them to a throw again. It takes a lot to get me to that level, so I doubt it will happen again soon. I’m more of a swearer than a thrower anyway. (Which isn’t a very good thing to admit either really haha)


November 28, 2016, 11:06 am

April: The first time I heard someone say they’d binned a book I was shocked but then so many books get binned and we just don’t hear about it. And it’s better than some options. Yes, I’d say it’s the equivalent. More passionate, perhaps, because it’s more final. Interesting response – accepting angry and reading on in hope. That’s giving it a very real chance. Love it.

Interesting, I’ll keep that in mind – not read Madame Bovary yet.

Booker Talk: Charity bag works well! Little Women can be mundane at times.

Jeanne: Release – perfect word. Throwing does literally get the text away from you! I don’t think I got to that post of yours; considering the book in question I’m very interested!

Jessica: Ahh, but having now said that, Sod’s Law and everything… ;) Charity shop is a good idea.

Debbie: An aspect I hadn’t thought it. Giving it a more than fair go and then expressing your dislike.

Stefanie: I’m both surprised and not at all surprised you don’t remember which book your husband threw! One I guess you’d want to forget.

Sarah: 300 pages of ending? That’s… yeah, it’d have to be amazing and even then…

Kelly: Same here. I’ve a book I didn’t enjoy that I managed to break the spine of and I feel bad looking at it, in the state it’s in.

Alice: It had to be away from you – I get that completely. Yes, you can break spines and dog-ear pages but throwing a book might well damage it more. I don’t know, swearing’s pretty expressive in comparison. And you won’t accidentally hit anything breakable!



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