Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wild Books in Public Places

A couple of posts ago I started writing about books and in the course of researching links for that entry, I found a website called BookCrossing. BookCrossing's main objective is book recycling or sharing; they define it as "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." Because the books are registered before being released into the wild, their journeys all over the world can be tracked and one of my favorite features of the BookCrossing site is the "catch/release map", a global map that updates constantly to show the titles and locations of books recently caught or released.

The person who captures the wild book is encouraged to go to the website, enter the location where the book was found and write a comment if desired. The person who releases the book gets to follow up on the book by reading the comments from subsequent readers. It's a strange sort of international, anonymous book club.



My family and I have planned to release some books into the wild this morning. Part of the fun is strategically planning where we are going to leave our books. My daughter will be leaving some of her pet care books on benches in front of the local pet store. I might leave some crafting books near the entrance of Joann's. My philosophy and theology books are being released in or around churches. My husband plans on sneaking his copy of Fast Food Nation into McDonald's and leaving it in a booth.

I have been hoarding books for a long time and always hoped that someday I'd have a large personal library with tall bookcases and a window seat where I could in the sit in the sunlight and read for hours. My goals have changed over the years. My family and I are really embracing a nomadic existence these days and hope to do some traveling over the next few years. That means keeping personal belongings to a minimum. I've come to a point in my life where I feel that I have to choose between gathering experiences and gathering material possessions. Somehow, I'd managed to exempt records and books from these periodic purges, but I think I'm ready to part with many of them. I don't have many expensive things, nor do I want them. Records, books and photos are my most precious material possessions, but of those, only the photos are irreplaceable. So I'm saying goodbye to some of my old friends, a few at a time. I hope they make new friends out there and make others as happy as they've made me.

6 comments:

Scott said...

Alice,
Thanks for the BookCrossing mention. I think you and the family will really enjoy releasing books into the wild and tracking their journey as they travel the world! best regards,
Scott
CEO BookCrossing

Jenny Lens said...

I love this idea! I often put books into the library outside return box. They either sell them or put them into circulation. As a child, I spent my happiest times in public libraries.

I go online and request books from within the Santa Monica Library system to be sent to one about a mile from me. Today I received some typeface layouts for my Rizzoli book and they sucked. The library had one book of typefaces, and at my branch!

I walked down, checked out the book, and instead of going to a Ramones movie premiere (invited by Linda, Johnny's widow), I stayed home, looked up typefaces, then downloaded online samples and emailed to my editor.

I just started my own blogs, yet again! jennylens.com/punkblog and jennylens.com/rawfood. I wrote quite a bit about "Fast Food Nation" in conjunction with toppmeats recalling 21.7 MILLION pounds of beef!

This is one amazing book! If ONLY people at McDonald's read it!

Hooray for the library. Anc BookCrossing.

Anonymous said...

That's a great way to recycle books, clean your house and promote literacy!

Jay Sinn said...

As an acolyte for a certain evil corperation, I would counter the Fast
Food Nation with "warm and fuzzy" adverstising geared toward the healthy
benefits of certain salads.:)

Kelly Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are such an amazing woman.