Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

As a kid I once found a small data buoy with instructions for notifying NOAA or some such agency about the circumstances of the find. I was amazed how far that little float had traveled. After that, I probably sent a dozen or more notes in a bottle out to sea in hopes that someone would write back to me excited with their discovery. I never got that letter. Since then, stories of objects traveling the world have always caught my attention.

My favorite story was the lawn ornament rabbit that was stolen from a local front yard and taken on various trips around the world. The owners periodically received photos of their rabbit from exotic places like the Pyramids, Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, Tahiti, Great Wall of China, Machu Pichu.... sometimes the rabbit would be "dressed" in tourist attire or local costumes. Although the rightful owners now have their rabbit back, they received more enjoyment from its travels than they'd have ever got from it sitting in their yard. Missing it for a few years was a small price for the story it now tells. I've often dreamt about doing something similar.

This weekend the local fish wrapper carried a story about BookCrossing a sort of combination book club, book exchange, and scavenger hunt. It's an online community that leaves, or rather releases books in various places (busses, trains, restaurants, grocery stores...) with instructions for the finders. The anticipation and wonder of its story is the same whether it's a released gamefish or a released book that had meant something in your life.

Anyway, it's free to join, only takes a few minutes to register and fill in a profile for anyone interested in sharing a favorite book or two. I'll be releasing my first books tomorrow. If nothing else, be on the lookout for released books. I like the motto too: Free Your Books!

There are a little more than 30,000 members right now and the response rate, according to the article I read, is below 10%. I have to assume most released books just wind up as trash... still that a traveling book might weave a fabulous story.......


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