The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

THE FREEING OF THE BOOKS
into the wild!
Remember my posting about BookCrossing.com? Well, as I suggested there, I've finally gone and signed up and joined in on the fun. Check out the books I'm setting loose (that's right, I am oldschool; ask anyone).

I'll probably free a couple of books tomorrow; I'm trying to think of some creative and worthwhile places to leave them in downtown St. Pete. Let's face it, the park is full of bagladies and bums who'll more likely put them in a grocery cart where they'll never be seen again, so it's pretty much like throwing them away to leave them anywhere near there. It does occur to me to leave them somewhere at my work building, since there are plenty of literate booklovers around there. Maybe in the cafeteria, or near the lobby...

The added wrinkle for me is, I'm going to be flying up to the family homeland in New York this coming weekend, so naturally, leaving a book or two at the airports (Tampa International and LaGuardia) is a natural! I can even find a couple of long-forgotten books up at my parents' house that I can label and release.

A couple of funny things about this exercise:

-If you read through the site, you'll note that the ideal situation is that participation in this read-and-release is that you get rid of a book that you really enjoyed reading. The idea is that you liked the book so much, that you want to share it with someone else, even if (or maybe even especially if) that someone else is a total stranger. I guess this makes sense for someone who rips through a ton of books a month, and simply doesn't want to keep a huge library in his/her home. But for me, and I suspect others, my motivation is more to get rid of books that I either didn't like, or am long tired of. It's probably the packrat in me, but why on earth would I want to give away books that I really, really like? To let someone else have it who may or may not like it, and may or may not let me know of that? Screw dat.
-I took a quick look through the release rates of some of the other people on this thing, and I've noted that they're pretty low. There are people who've set loose bunches of books, and haven't had even one release recorded. What a bummer! I freely admit I'm looking to get something out of this besides ridding myself of some pulp: Some feedback from whoever picks up the book (thus my aversion to having some bum find it). I mean, there is some work involved in the process, in that you have to print the BookCrossing.com labels, then make a journal entry for each book, and then record the actual releasing of each book and the location where it was left. I bet plenty of people register here, set free a load of books for a month or two, get disgusted by the complete lack of feedback, and subsequently quit doing it. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened to me; we'll see.