Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

5 Uses For Books That Have Little To Do With Reading


Many of us are not readers. We appreciate books. We own a few, but we don’t read, for say, fun.  But sometimes, we love people who are readers, and sometimes, we find ourselves in houses piled high with stacks of books. At these times, it’s important for us to realize that these books have purpose beyond dust-gathering and obstacle course creation.

Is there sheet-rock behind that shelf? We may never know.

Here are the top ten ways books are useful for things besides simply reading and the gaining of knowledge and insight.*

1. Leveling the table. Now, for this purpose, you probably a thin book, and you want something small in width and height because no one wants to stub her toe on that kid’s picture book from your childhood.

2. Starting a fire. Bear with me, and imagine this scenario. You invited all your dear friends over for a bonfire to celebrate your new farm, and you have no paper to light the fire. What are you to do? You have to hunt down that high school math book that you’ve been saving because you might need to know the way to find the circumference of a circle. It’s gotta burn, baby. (Note – I have not done this. I ALWAYS have scrap paper on had for just this purpose.)

3. Finishing a wall. Say for example, you get weary of sheet rocking your farm house. You can put up a ceiling high bookshelf and fill it. No one will know that behind there, you just have mud and 2 x 4s. (I think P believes this to be true here at God’s Whisper.)

4. Quieting rattling appliances. Let’s just say you have a heater that vibrates with the pitch that keeps you from being able to hear all the nuances of Axe Men; well, then, stack up some books on that sucker and quiet it down. (Yep, this one is actual, folks.  Just ask P)

5. Alleviating the boredom of house guests. Keep that coffee table stocked with a variety of good books. I recommend titles on timber framing, decorating with books, and canoeing on Virginia’s rivers.  That way, if the conversation lags, everyone can pick up a book and flip through it.(Happens all the time here at the farm.)

What other non-reading suggestions can you offer for all those books you have just laying around? 

*P, a relative non-reader, contributed greatly to this post.


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Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Deb Nance

    If it were me, I’d use books for everything, like bricks or floor boards or plaster. An all-book house? What about book clothing? Book chairs?

    The possibilities are endless.

    (Love this post!)

  • Shannon M. Howell

    Emergency booster seat for children.

    Improvised step-stool.

    Don’t want to get/lug cinder blocks for some make-shift shelves in your closet/basement/etc? Some thick hardcover books will work just as well.

    Shannon M. Howell recently posted…Teaser: The Amazing Adventure of Edward and Dr. SprechtmachenMy Profile

    • Andi

      Since P tests booster seat safety for a living, Shannon, he says he’ll have to run that through HQ, first, but he’s optimistic. :)

  • Diane Rivers

    I once saw a lamp base made out of a book with its pages folded down and its spine twisted backward on itself. It kind of hurt me, though . . .
    Diane Rivers recently posted…How I think “one word” could improve the soundtrack of my yearMy Profile

  • LarryTheDeuce

    We use a book to help measure our son since he’s growing like a weed.
    LarryTheDeuce recently posted…Resignation, Part 14: Two Months LaterMy Profile

  • Katie Axelson

    I’ve definitely used books as a door-stopper. As I was doing it I said, “I’m a writer, so I’m allowed to do this.”
    Katie Axelson recently posted…Wacky Wednesday-December 2012My Profile

  • Denise Dilley (@denisedilley)

    Drink coaster.

    Door stop.

    Paper weight.

    Personal fan.
    Denise Dilley (@denisedilley) recently posted…It’s the Little ThingsMy Profile

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