Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Book Hog

I am very greedy with my books. I hog. I hoard. This is my nest building activity. If ever I run out of furniture, I can build furniture out of my books. Though it won’t be nearly as comfy.

Years ago, when I got my first apartment, I neglected to get insurance, and I knew that I really, really should get it, but I didn’t. And whenever I would leave the apartment, especially for extended periods, I would worry and worry about my babies back home. Were they all right? Had my neighbors set the whole building on fire? Had a tornado popped open my windows and sucked the books out into a whipping funnel of pages and wood pulp?

I have insurance now. So if any tragedy should befall my books, I can at least get them replaced. Except for the signed copies. But I’m still more the kind of person who’d put a bookplate on my book (mine! mine!) than the kind of person who’d open the cage and set a volume free. And I maintain that there’s nothing wrong with that.

But I do admire those generous catch-and-release readers, those book lovers who let their babies loose in the wild. Maybe someday I can be like them. Book Crossing is a collection of such folks, and the books shared by such folks. They’ve been around for awhile, and you may have already heard of them, but I’m not sure just how long they’ve been around. Their Website content is copyrighted from 2001 to present, if that’s any clue. Anyhow, it’s a really fun project, and sometime real soon, I’m going to try to pry some books out of my fingers to take part in it. (I can’t tell you how much easier typing will be then.)

And other groups of folks have taken the model on, too, like the kids at the Newark Center for Creative Learning, with their Leave Your Book project. (When I was in grade school, the closest thing I had to this was when my Girl Scout troop tied messages to balloons and waited for replies. I can tell you none of our balloons made it to Germany or New Zealand.)

I’ve still always got my eye open for a great bookplate, though.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I didn't know there was an IR blog! Hooray.

I am like you. I hoard and keep and stash. But then, I also buy multiple copies of books I love "just in case" -- and these I've started giving away.