How to save a wet book

I had an interesting weekend. We were supposed to go to the beach but due to car problems we had to put that on hold. Saturday evening, when I came home from the city, I saw something that filled me with joy and horror in equal parts. A book, lying just inside the yard, soaking wet because it’s the rainy season and it’s now pouring daily, even twice a day; near the book, scattered white bits of paper – the remains of a torn envelope – with a bookmark and a note from Book Depository.
The book was a gift from my blogger friend Priya, one that I’d won in a giveaway (second book I’ve won this year, that’s something) and one I had been wondering about for days. Well, I wondered no more. I picked up the book which was now so wet I was able to squeeze water out of it, then proceeded to think about how to restore it to a readable shape. This is something I hoped I never had to learn – how to dry a wet book.


About 80% of it was as wet as it could be, while the remaining pages were by some miracle only partially wet. It’s a good thing it’s a thick book, otherwise I may have had to peel it from the tiles. I stood it up in front of a fan, trying to see if I could separate the pages. I was afraid they would be stuck together dry and I would never be able to pull them apart without ripping. Needless to say, I gave up on that pretty soon. After a few hours, when it wasn’t that soggy anymore, I used my hairdryer. The book spent the night in front of the fan.


The next day I checked on it from time to time, rifling through the pages, which to my joy and eternal gratitude did not stick together, then put it on the balcony to get some sun, while keeping an eye on it. I wasn’t going to let a second downpour ruin my efforts and I was able to take it away before the next sudden storm made a mess of it. The book spent a second night in front of the fan.


By now it’s pretty much dry. It’s been raining on and off these days and the humidity is giving me curly hair, not to mention giving the book curly pages. I am relieved and happy that I was able to save the book. I’m going to need to use some glue on the back cover but I’m waiting a couple more days before I do that.

How did the book get to be on the ground instead of in my mailbox? And why was the envelope shredded so thoroughly only a few pieces remained? That mystery was solved upon closer inspection of the book. I found teeth marks, courtesy of my dogs who love chewing on paper. Fortunately the marks are in the upper area of the book and not on the text. I guess they got bored pretty easily once they saw it wasn’t edible. My guess is that the postman stuck the book in the iron-wrought gate, then the storm came and the book fell. My dogs took over from there and disposed of the envelope in a very efficient way.

I am not mad at the dogs but I am mad at the postman. How do you leave a paper package stuck in a gate during the rainy season? Why didn’t you leave me a note in the mailbox so I could go pick up the book at the post office like I’ve done before?
Well, no point in dwelling on the why’s now. I have a new book to read. And this one’s been through a lot, which makes me love it even more.
Many thanks to Priya for her lovely gift. This will be my first Salman Rushdie book and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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12 Responses to How to save a wet book

  1. Priya says:

    Aw I feel terrible! It is really irresponsible of the postman. And I have enough experience with pets to know your dogs couldn’t help it, lol. I’m sorry you and the book had to go through all the hassle. 🙁 But I am glad you managed to resuscitate the book! Hope you enjoy the read. 🙂

    • Delia says:

      It’s not your fault, Priya. I was really disappointed that he didn’t take the book back to the post office, after he saw that I wasn’t at home. If my original plan for the weekend had gone through, I would have been gone another day. Another rainy day. I think I need a bigger mailbox. 🙂

      I looked through the book and read some passages that mention Vlad Tepes, the real person behind the Dracula myth. I have absolutely no idea what this book is about aside from reading the blurb but I think I’m going to enjoy it a lot.
      Thank you again.

  2. Brian Joseph says:

    A book sitting out in the rain is truly a horrifying site.

    I have had a few books that have gotten wet and dried but that have been terribly damaged as a result.

    It looks like your method worked well. Hopefully I will never need to use it 🙂

    • Delia says:

      Oh no, that’s terrible. Wet books are something no book lover wants to see.
      Well, I never thought I’d have to learn how to dry a book but now I know. Google helped. And my determination that it survives. This book is a survivor. 🙂

  3. Deb Atwood says:

    What an adventure your book had! Looks like you’ve done a wonderful job with it though.

    Like you, I have been intending to read Salman Rushdie but somehow never got around to it. Maybe I’ll recommend him to my book group. This month we’re reading Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Color Purple.

    Hope you enjoy your giftie!

    • Delia says:

      Despite the few hours it spent in the rain, the book is now finally dry and clean and fluffy. I may have to put it in a press when I glue it, to restore its former shape. I plan on reading it soon, maybe after I’m done with King’s Finders Keepers, which is a bit on the slow side.
      I have heard great things about The Color Purple and hope to read it one day. Looking forward to your review.

  4. Vishy says:

    Sorry to know about the wet book but glad to know that you resuscitated it. It is a terrible sight to see a book so thoroughly wet. It happened to me once and it took me a while to get over it. I used the fan like you did, but you have done it better 🙂 Hope you enjoy reading your first Salman Rushdie. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. Happy reading!

    • Delia says:

      I’m glad I was able to save it, Vishy. The hot weather certainly helped.
      I read the first couple of pages yesterday and I really like it. The writing is a bit flowery but I’m looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

  5. Stefanie says:

    Oh no! At least you were able to save it and that’s the main thing!

  6. Hi Delia, it’s been a long time since I visited your site. 🙂 Hope all is well with you.

    I love this post. Like so much. While I am sorry for the wet-book, I find this post creative. Now I know how to revive if my books get wet too. 🙂 Also, I am glad that you are not mad at your dogs. 🙂

    • Delia says:

      Hi Deepika,

      Likewise, I’ve been very busy lately and spent most of my time away from the computer.
      The book survived, I read it and it’s great. I’m glad you thought it was an informative post, but I hope you’ll never have to face the same problem. Here’s to dry books and happy book lovers!
      I couldn’t be mad at the dogs, they just do what the instinct tells them. I’m glad their instinct was to leave the book alone. 🙂

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