I’ve got a random question for you, readers: Can a book really save your life by stopping a bullet for you? Or is it just a myth?
Because if that’s the case, then women don’t really need men anymore, since books have taken over the places of our boys.
I know this sounds like a strange blog post today but I was doing my usual, daily surfing online for random fun facts about the stuff of life when I came across an article on whether books can really stop bullets for us. And if they can, which were the books that were really suited for the job. Turns out that there isn’t really a book that can actually stop bullets for you (unless you’re in a Hollywood movie!), but you might probably need to have several thick textbooks in your backpack like the story of the deadly FSU shooting survivor Jason Derfuss in 2014, or a Bible in your breast pocket like a US soldier did while serving in Iraq in 2007.
According to an article written by Patrick Kingsley in The Guardian, 5 books and a Kindle (no kidding!) were placed before a firing squad to see how protective they really are when saving a life:
Up before the firing squad were David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (480 pages); Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (562); Rick Moody’s The Four Fingers of Death (736); Adam Levin’s The Instructions (1,030); Joshua Cohen’s Witz (800); and a Kindle (several thousand kilobytes).
With more than 1,000 pages, and a solid hardback cover, you might think The Instructions would be the most reliable book-cum-body-armour. You’d be wrong. The bullet blows a hole so big Shillue can shove his finger through it – and he’s appalled.
Franzen’s Freedom doesn’t fare any better. Meticulously proof-read it may have been – Franzen had the first editions recalled because of a minor error – but it’s certainly not bullet-proof. Indeed, post-shooting, the book looks like those withdrawn first editions: pretty pulped.
The Kindle, The Thousand Autumns, and Moody’s The Four Fingers of Death – “aptly named”, Shillue points out – are similarly unprotective. Thank heavens, then, for Joshua Cohen’s Witz. “It’s almost intact!” notes Shillue, picking pieces of bullet out of the back pages.
Seemed that neither had been successful at saving a life. They were either blown wide apart or pretty pulped out. Of course, if you’re looking for a real book that would really save your life, do what this soldier did — leave a Bible in your breast pocket…
Of course, if you really wanted some surefire literary armour, you’d be best off putting a Bible in your breast pocket. In 2007, a US soldier serving in Iraq claimed he was saved from a sniper bullet by none other than the Holy Book.