"They used to call me 'Biblethumper'. Then I realized the Bible is an excellent book to thump with."
— Old preacher joke
Where people decide to use both words and action by hitting someone with a book really, really hard; because being bonked on the head with a few thousand pages' worth of hard-bound literature
hurts something fierce (the fact that watching someone get conked on the head with a book is inherently funny
Also an alternative melee Weapon of Choice
for the Squishy Wizard
, White Mage
, Black Mage
, and other magical or scholarly types if the writer decides that a Simple Staff
is too fearsome. After all, what better way to make the hapless wizard even more hapless at close-range than to have them trying to kill the slathering, three-headed, pointy-clawed, saber-toothed, flaming beast of hell by whacking it repeatedly with a leather-bound tome?
Often, this will be prompted by a character saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,"
or something of the sort.
of Improbable Weapon User
. Related to Useful Book
. See Bookshelf Dominoes
, for when bookshelves are a weapon. If the book is only used to show the character's angry, see Book Snap
Note that this is for books being used to physically attack. For books used offensively by casting spells from it, see Spell Book
. For the paper of books being used as a supernatural weapon, see Paper Master
. For books with dangerous words in them, see Brown Note
. For books thrown by the reader due to the atrocious quality of their content, see Wall Banger
. For the other
meaning of "throw the book at them", see the courtroom tropes on the Crime and Punishment Tropes
page (it's been known to overlap, especially in comedies and especially when a Joker Jury
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Anime & Manga
- In Battle Royale Kiriyama is seen beating up some upperclassman who were picking on him with an anatomy book. Apparently he used what he learned in combat.
- Shaman King: Asakura Yoh's satellite Manta always carries around an encyclopedia, and occasionally he refers to it as his Hammer of Knowledge and hits someone with it.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Yue cheated once during a pillow fight by hiding thick dictionaries in her pillows.
- The other Hot Librarian Nodoka sometimes does this as well (usually to Haruna).
- Soul Eater
- The Maka Chop, a purely comedic attack, apparently imitating Death's "Death Chop" which leaves a similar mark, because Death's hands are the same rough shape as a thick book. This becomes a plot point when Maka does the Maka Chop on someone when they desperately needed a certain Tome of Eldritch Lore, and the Eldritch Location they were really does summon out of Hammer Space.
- In Soul Eater Not!, Tsugumi and Anya play a game of janken where the winner beats the loser in the head with a rolled up newspaper and the loser has to try and block with a book, but when Tsugumi loses she fumbles and drops it on her own head.
- Done in an effective but realistic way in Monster: Christof was reading when Eva jumped him; after she shoots his ear off and still has a gun trained on him, he turns the tables by throwing his book at her, throwing her off-balance for long enough to disarm her and wrestle her to the floor. It was only thanks to Tenma's timely arrival that she survived.
- If you make Kyou from CLANNAD angry, you'll be on the receiving end of either a high kick or a thrown dictionary to the face (that can crack concrete). DOUBLE if you're bothering her sister.
- A popular clip for Ranma ½ fanvids is Akane bashing Ranma with her bookbag. Hell, he even brings it up at one point.
Ranma: Akane, do you always gotta be throwin' the book at guys ya don't like, huh?!
Akane: No, only at you!
- The early Yu-Gi-Oh! manga has a fake psychic who predicts Yugi's death by "falling letters", then pushes some heavy bookcases (filled with books) over on the kid to make it come true.
- Non-comedic example used in Berserk: Bishop Mozgus, in a much parodied scene, smashes some poor guy's head in with his big metal-bound tome of scriptures and screams "HERETIC!"
- Fruits Basket
- Happens early on: Yuki whaps Shigure over the head with his bookbag to stem his flirting with Tohru.
Shigure: What do you have in there, a dictionary?
Yuki: Two of them.
- Kyo seems to be a magnet for these sort of attacks. Mayu-sensei uses this on him on occasion as demonstrated here and, of course, Shigure attacks him the same way.
- Mai Kawasumi of Kanon bonks Yuuichi with the veterinarian book she was reading when he doubted her chances of becoming a Kindly Vet. Said book was thin and hard-bound, and she smacked him over the head with its spine. Ouch.
- In a Fullmetal Alchemist flashback extra, a very young Ed bonks poor little toddler Al over the head with a book.
- Alexander Anderson threw a book (presumably a bible) at Alucard once in the Hellsing anime.
- While paper is the ammunition of a Paper-User in Read or Die and ROD the TV (thus any book can be sacrificed for an attack), special mention goes to Anita in ROD the TV when she flung a copy of the original Dracula at a vampire-like villain across the room without using her powers with enough force to break his nose (and fling him backwards; setting off his sonic disrupter on himself).
- Hiroki from Junjou Romantica, a professor in literature, has a tendency to pelt things at people, books being his forte. He throws quite few at Nowaki during their lovers spat in the university library.
- Gau from Nabari No Ou actually saves Raikou once by throwing a book at Yukimi. Several chapters later, Raikou throws a book at Gau's face to shut him up.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin tries chucking books at Aoshi and pushing a bookcase over on him in their rematch. Doesn't work.
- Rinne: "BIBLE CORNER CRUSH!" For some reason, Tsubasa claims he can only do this one time a week.
- Manabizaki from SWOT uses his textbooks (or whatever books he has handy) as weapons against all the delinquents in his school. It does fit with him being a Badass Bookworm.
- In Gosick, Victorica occasionally hits Kazuya with a book when he's being stupid. She later uses a pile of them to knock the fake Avril Bradley down a flight of stairs.
- In Working, Souta's sister Kazue is a lawyer with a habit of using quite large legal texts as weapons. Souta at one point outright says that Kazue became a lawyer precisely because then she'd have an excuse to carry around law books to use as weapons.
- Subverted in Shakugan no Shana with Margery Daw and Marcosius. Margery regularly abuses Marcosius, who has the form of a book.
- There's a fake preview in one of the Hyakko episodes which makes it seem the next episode will be something more along Neon Genesis Evangelion lines than Hyakko — including a scene where Amagasa-sensei holds the students at gunpoint until Touma knocks the gun out of his hand with a blow from a book.
- A bonus skit on one of the Queen's Blade soundtrack CDs has Noa being hit on the head with a book by her trainer, not thirty seconds after being told by said trainer that books were not for hitting people with.
- In one episode of Samurai Champloo, this is Bundai's preferred method of discipline to Mugen when the former's teaching the latter how to read.
- In Servant × Service, this is Yamagami's favoured method of attacking Hasebe whenever he gets onto her nerves. In manga, when Taishi complained about Yamagami attacking people with work documents, she replied there were only waste paper in those folders; which means she prepared those folders to hit people with.
- In Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream, Patchouli Knowledge ironically gets hit in the face with one of her own books. Which pissed her off.
- In Kill la Kill, Ira Gamagoori can use school regulation pocket books as weapons, because they're made of folded steel.
- Several books appear as weapons in Munchkin, including the Very Holy Book, the Splatbook, and, in Munchkin Zombies, The Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Illustration: a zombie dropping it on an unsuspecting human's head. Flavor text: "It's useful for zombies too, though in a different way."
- Ghost Rider once found himself in a fight with a religious fanatic, armed with two swords able to kill him. He won by beating him with a fricking big Bible.
- In 52, Bruno Mannheim grabs a man by the back of his head and smashes his face on the Crime Bible which is sitting atop a podium. The book itself is made out of stone, presumably to facilitate this.
- Jimmy Olsen did this to two crooks who'd been stalking him in in "The Hunted Messenger."
- In a Monica's Gang story, Jimmy Five uses fancy words to pick on Monica - but she thinks they are compliments, and gets happy after hearing them. As she goes offscreen, he starts to gloat about the power of words... and the last panel is a thrown dictionary approaching him from behind.
- Father Merrin uses bibles, signed by Mike Tyson and Jet Li for extra "oomph", as throwing weapons with a force stated to be akin to a Stinger missile.
- Brainy in The Smurfs story "The Smurfs And The Book That Tells Everything" whacks a few Smurfs in the head with the titular book in order to get them away from him.
- Grimm Fairy Tales: In the Van Helsing mini-series, Liesel is attacked by vampires in a bookstore. She drops a shelf full of books on top of one of the vamps, who proceeds to smash her way out.
- Get Fuzzy: Bucky Katt often hits Satchel on the head with books that Rob gives to him (to read, of course.)
- Done to Garfield once or twice.
- In Andy Capp, a shop owner calls Andy some bad names. Andy quips "Words can't hurt me, mate." He is hit in the head with a dictionary the shop owner throws at him.
- The Sue Slayers: A New Fangirologist has the protagonist hit another girl over the head with a dictionary. Before this, though, she mentions testing out different kinds of books and says though a Bartimaeus Trilogy book can hurt, the Half-Blood Prince can knock people out.
- In The Black Bunny Draco discovers the hazards of annoying Hermione in a library.
- In Retro Chill, Galaxoid tosses a planet field guide at Rupert. It doesn't do much, but its contents reveals (to them, anyway) that Calvin is not the Earth's leader.
- In Naruto's Kit, Sasuke Uchiha is on trial, charged with "Betrayal of the village to a well-known and confirmed enemy. Attempted murder of a leaf shinobi with lethal intent on several occasions. Conspired to aid a criminal organization. Attempted kidnapping of a leaf shinobi with lethal intent. And endangerment of a leaf village child on one proven occasion." When asked for his professional opinion, Naruto says they should throw the book at him. Subsequently, when court adjourns for a recess, the fic's title character, Akane Uzumaki, borrows Kakashi's copy of Icha Icha and throws it, hitting Sasuke in the back of the head. When everyone looks at her in surprise, her only reply is "What? Otou-san said to throw a book at him."
- A non-comedic example of this happens in System Restore, when Togami almost hits Nanami with a book upon realizing that she knows they're the Super High School Level Imposter.
- In one story of the Facing The Future Series, a brainwashed Jazz hit Danny repeatedly over the head with a scroll. When Danny took it from her, she pulled out a dagger.
- In the second story of Raven Child's The Smurfette Village series, Brainette does this to Brainy when she becomes rather irritated with his attitude towards her.
Films — Live-Action
- On one edition of Monday Night Raw, Lita was being interviewed in the ring, plugging her recently-released autobiography. Molly Holly later came down, clobbered Lita with her own book, tore several pages out and shoved them down Lita's throat.
- Truth Martini in Ring of Honor is a Life Intervention Expert, who has a tendency to smack his clients' opponents with the Book of Truth, of which we never know the contents but has been instrumental in converting people to his cause, most notably Christopher Daniels.
- In Flying Frog's Touch of Evil, the schoolteacher starts out with 2 hit points and 2 attack points. For every book you can find and give her, she gets a 2-point bonus to her attacks. At maximum (10 books in the deck), she still has two hit points, but an attack rating of 22 points; which, by the game's mechanics, theoretically could knock Cthulhu out in one punch.
- Nageki Fujishiro of Hatoful Boyfriend has been known in the manga and the Drama CD to throw books at people being overly disruptive or disrespectful to the books when in the library. Ryouta lampshades this by saying hitting people with books will hurt the books too - especially since Nageki says someone defiling books in front of him a second time will be hit with the corners. ...In the games themselves he's rather more shy.
- The Cracked article "5 Things Movies Don't Tell You About Mental Institutions" included an anecdote where the co-author of the piece found herself being harassed by a creepy guy who whispered to any women he passed that he was going to rape her at night. One day, he suddenly decided to barge into the co-author's room uninvited. Thankfully, she was not shy about being violent when in danger and was reading one of the later, and more importantly, thicker Harry Potter books. So, after the guy refused to leave despite her screaming at him, pushing him out, and threatening to hurt him, she socked him one right in the face and proceeded to beat him with the Doorstopper until nearby orderlies heard the commotion, separated them, and put the guy under stricter supervision.
- Books are the weapon of choice for thirteen-year-old rebel militia leader Tamika Flynn of Welcome to Night Vale. Usually fired from a slingshot. Despite living in a town where students are regularly provided firearms by paramilitary government agencies (and often have to use them against the horrors of everyday life), Tamika and her "book club" are among the most effective combatants around.
- It probably helps that certain books, like the hardback edition of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, are apparently sold with things like teargas canisters attached to the back cover.
- Heavy books are handy to use on humans like squirting water at cats... though if you really want to use them as a weapon, a hard cover one works great, especially the corners.
- In 2002, the leaders of the already-unstable coalition government of Turkey convened at a high level meeting. Story goes that during the meeting, an argument broke out and one of the coalition leaders hurled a book (or a dossier) containing the constitution at the then-Prime Minister, Ecevit. The coalition collapsed soon after and took the country to a period of recession with it.
- Not quite a book, but a legislator in Taiwan once attacked a colleague on the floor with a newspaper. Since it was in one of those wooden holders libraries use (a third cousin of the shinai used in kendo), it probably hurt. note
- Evidently, the phrase that is the Trope Namer used to be literal; if a criminal was going to be given a harsh sentence, the judge would throw a law book at the crook.
- After Leon Trotsky's assassin whacked him on the head with an ice-ax, Trotsky was still conscious enough to throw several books at his assassin.
- The Boar's Head Feast celebrates the time in the 1300s that an Oxford student was attacked by a boar. He shoved his book down the animal's throat, and it choked and died.
- The spine of a sufficiently thick mass-market paperback might as well be a piece of petrified wood, as it's very tightly-bound paper. Clock someone upside the head with a paperback version of Harry Potter 7, The Silmarillion, or Dune, and they might well fall victim to a VERY substantial concussion. Ironically, the bindings of a hardcover book soften the blow in comparison.
- The most common size and binding for the average manga makes it nicely hand-sized when gripped opposite to the spine, and just thin and strong enough for effective aimed strikes to areas such as the wrist. If you're already holding a book, there are much worse choices for an Improvised Weapon.
- An essay by Evan Connell mentions that when Thomas Huxley, while defending Charles Darwin's theory, responded to a nasty remark with a magnificent comebacknote , one of the onlookers, "trembling with honorable Christian rage, picked up a Bible and was just prevented from throwing it at Huxley."
- In an interesting love declaration to this trope, some German self-defence classes suggest that one should always carry an issue of Der Spiegel with oneself, because, since the magazine is thick, unusually short, and printed on rather sturdy (and heavier-than-average) paper, it can make quite a potent billy club replacement when curled up.