Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I caught a wild book

A week ago, I caught a book released into the wild! Walking out of the Retreat Hotel in Sydney Rd, Brunswick, after dinner with my family, I spotted a book lying forlone on a talbe just inside the front door. It had a sticky note on its cover that announced that it was a 'travelling book'.

It said: 'Pick me up, read, and release me!'
I didn't have to be asked twice.

As I inspected the book outside the pub, I found that it is a collection of short stories that kinda acts as an extended novel with each chapter written by a different author. It had an adhesive label that announced it had been registered with by someone in Sydney, as recently as December last year.

I was quite excited. I had heard, and read, about books released into the wild. A movement begun some years ago, it works on the principle that if you like a book so much, especially one of those life-changing ones, you would like to share it with other people. Books released into the wild takes it a step further – you leave the book it public places where it can, and hopefully will, be picked up and read by a complete stranger. And then they should be inspired to do the same. (it's free) allows people to register books, record where and when they've released and picked them up, and what they thought of them. It adds a whole layer to the released books thing, as it allows previous readers and releasers to follow the book's journey through many hands!

You don't have to wait to find one. You can join and start releasing books yourself.

The website's blurb says:
The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...
  1. Read a good book (you already know how to do that)
  2. Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book
  3. Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records journal entries for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!
Sounds easy, right? Well it is. It's also a fascinating exercise in fate, karma, or whatever you want to call the chain of events that can occur between two or more lives and one piece of literature. Oh, and we should mention, it's absolutely free and absolutely private, too.
What book did I pick up? Like a Charm, edited by Karin Slaughter. It's in the mystery-crime genre. I enjoyed short stories last year, so I plan to take this book camping with me to Wilsons Promontory next week. Hope it's good.

I plan to follow the book's progress after I release it on my return, and will blog on it if something crops up.


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