About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.


I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.

2018-01-28

The Book That CAN Hurt You

All this time I've been telling everyone that books can't hurt people, so there's no reason to get out your pitchforks and torches and run to the library to ban them.

Turns out I was wrong.

There's at least one book that could kill you (maybe there are more, I haven't checked).

The book Shadows from the Walls of Death: Facts and Inferences Prefacing a Book of Specimens of Arsenical Wall Papers by Robert Kedzie contains a collection of wallpaper samples...that are toxic. I am uncertain if reading the book could actually kill anyone, but most libraries that owned copies eventually removed them from their collections and destroyed them. So, it's a pretty rare title. The remaining copies are in special collections, and their pages are encapsulated in plastic so the arsenic can't hurt anyone.

Kind of makes those parents who storm the library and demand that Harry Potter be removed from the shelves look a little silly.


You can actually look at a digital copy of one of these books at the National Library of Medicine. As far as I know, you can't get arsenic poisoning over the Internet.

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