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.