An exciting start to the new year: today I found my first Book Crossing book. I had heard about the scheme (whereby, in case you don’t know, members read books, attach labels to them saying “please read this book and pass it on”, and then leave them in a public place to be found by someone else), but never seen it in action.
My first thought, on seeing a copy of Kate Atkinson’s Emotionally Weird left on the tube at Brixton, was to look for whoever had left it there and give it back, but once it became clear nobody was going to claim it I opened it up and found the Book Crossing sticker. As well as explaining the way the scheme works, the sticker displays a reference number unique to that copy, and you can go online and report where you found it and what you’re going to do with it next, which I have just done. I’ve been giving unwanted or unwieldy books away to the local charity shop, but I think this is much more fun.
I was also quite pleased that it was Kate Atkinson, because when I worked at a bookshop I had two colleagues who used to rave about her, and I could never quite bring myself to be bothered to read her. This feels like the right time to do it, although she will have to slot into the gaps in War and Peace – of which there are plenty, because W&P is too big to be read in bed. Since I started reading it in early December I have got halfway through it, but have also started and finished four other books. It actually works very well to read something big and important during the day and something small and silly at night, although my most recent bedtime book was Julian Barnes’ Nothing To Be Frightened Of, which is many things (very good, mainly) but which is certainly not small or silly.
Now I must send off for a sheet stickers and release some books of my own into the wild. If in the future you ever discover a Book Crossing book registered by “EllseeM” (I know: elsiem was already taken and I panicked), it’s one of mine.