lessons learned from BookCrossing

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The delight in finding.  The delight in setting free.  It was all there in BookCrossing.  With ebooks and the convenience of reading everything on a screen I pack around, I’ve lost some of the “bookness” of a book. 

And I know I’m not alone in holding the book closed, stroking the covers back and front in a gentle circular motion while raising the book up to open and smell the pages.  It’s a new book ritual played out the best when my husband would bring me books.  The books he brought me, I can name most of them, because they were chosen with such care. “I thought you would like this”.  Ursula Hegi’s Stones From The River, Michael Crummey’s River Thieves, Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation; a variety of books that only someone who knows and loves the paths of my thinking could do.

So back to the BookCrossing movement.  I loved it. And I proselytized and brought others into the movement.  The model of BookCrossing is that you take a book; not any book but a book that you love and you set it free for others to read, love and set free. After signing up, you print the labels and choose your book to set free on its way. I’ve set books free on different continents, in different countries and even close to home.

Imagine my delight after setting books free for a couple of years when I left the courtroom I was working in and walked by the now empty gallery bench and saw a book left alone on the bench.  My pace picked up as got closer and saw that it was a good book.  “Good” as in one I would pick up and read as opposed as walk by in a grocery store rack. My heart quickened, which sounds so romance novelish, but actually happened when I picked up the book, opened it and found…….a BookCrossing sticker in the front cover.  Dancing down the stairs to my office, I was giddy with my excitement the find.

Now, part of the allure; the panache of BookCrossing is the anonymity of both setting books free, releasing them, and finding them or in the parlay, capturing them. In the case of the book I captured, I have to admit I MAY have a clue as to who released it.  The visiting Supreme Court Justice is a wonderful man I have developed a visiting-in-chambers-before-court relationship with over the years.  And one of the things we talk about is our shared love of reading.  I MAY have in one of our conversations talked about releasing books in my travels.

BookCrossing lessons are about sharing the love of books and about sharing books you love.  The lessons are about the respect and friendship of a Supreme Court Justice as he MAY be the one to create delight for the Sheriff he worked with in secretly releasing a book in the courthouse.  The lessons are about books a husband buys that in the giving are much more personal and cherished than diamonds. The lessons are about sharing in good ways.

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