Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ever hear of BookCrossing?

I was looking through our collection of books in the apartment last week, hoping to find a new book (in Dutch) to read. Sure enough, I quickly found one, the same one I'd passed up many times. It turned out to be a "release;" yellow ID labels plastered on the outer/inner covers, an official BookCrossing bookmark included, and more numbers inside. I immediately got interested, not as much in the book as in what this BC thing was all about:

"BookCrossing is the act of releasing your books 'into the wild' for a stranger to find, or via 'controlled release' to another BookCrossing member, and tracking where they go via journal entries from around the world. Our community of passionate, generous book-lovers is changing the world and touching lives, one traveling book at a time."

Here's the journal entry I wrote at BookCrossing's website:

My name is Stan Morris, I'm the Communications Officer for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) in Alkmaar, NL. I work and live in the same building, the IFOR International Secretariat, where one night on 14 August 2009 I found the book Spitzen that you released in "een boekenrek op de zolder." Having confined myself for the last 20 months to reading only in Dutch, in an effort to learn the language better, I'm always looking for new material. I'm also a Boekenweek and Nederland Leest fan, "zo natuurlijk" I became interested, not only in the book, but also in BookCrossing, of which I had also never heard of before.

Normally I might not have picked this book, but I do like to experience new and cool ideas, like Bookcrossing, and since I've read the 2008 Nederland Leest "geschenk" and the last two Boekenweek CVs, I've decided to try reading Spitzen. I'm taking it with me on my vacation to California through September. Thanks for your kindness, and I will be sure to pass Spitzen along to the next finder.

As a curious side note, on a recent visit to Minden, Germany I came across a large, marble sculpture in the parking lot of Bahnhof Minden (Central Station). Something lying in an 8" hole that ran through the sculpture caught my eye, looked like a paperback book, and it popped into my mind: "Bookcrossing." So, I stopped! Yep, a German novel titled "Nelleke Noordervliet: Das Auge des Engels Roman" dtv, and inside an official BC label and number. I wrote down the relevant info, put the book back, and plan to make a journal entry at BookCrossing on this book, as well.

This last part, about finding a "release" that soon by chance is weird!


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