Saturday, 16 February 2008
Better than the Church Bookstall
What do you do with the piles of books that you've read and no longer want cluttering up your shelves? We usually wait until either the church Summer Fair or Christmas Fair and then haul them down to the bookstall. A colleague recently told me about Book Crossing. This is a website where you register a books you no longer want, are given a unique reference number which you write on a label in the book with an explanatory note, then release the book into the wild.
After years of reading John LeCarre novels this appealed to the clandestine in me: I loved the idea of surreptitiously leaving a book on a park bench or on a bus seat, hoping that no one will chase after you to return it.
Once you have released a book you hope that the finder will leave a comment on the website telling you where they found it and what they thought of it, before releasing it in a similar manner themselves.
I have released two books, both were books I loved - in fact one I liked so much that I didn't want to get rid of it, it was only by good luck that, ironically, I spotted The God of Small Things on sale for thirty pence at the Oldham Parish Church Coffee Morning Bookstall the other week when I was passing after buying fish on the market.
I released a Patrick O'Brien novel on a bench overlooking Salford Quays one lunchtime, I wanted to leave it somewhere fitting and this was the nearest I could get to the sea. The other I left folded in a copy of the Metro on a tram at Trafford Bar tram station.
So far, no one has 'fessed up to retrieving these books but at least I didn't return days later to find one damp and curled on the bench and the other blowing in pieces around the tram lines!
I think this is a fabulous idea and, as the year progresses, I hope to carry out further, more imaginative, deposits.