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How I Discovered BookCrossing

by sparky-redhead
February 2, 2004

The value of the media coverage that has helped BookCrossing membership explode recently cannot be overstated. Infinitely more inspiring and enchanting, however, are the stories of the serendipitous discovery of this wonderful online library and community. The people that find out about BookCrossing by actually catching a wild release are truly fortunate. What follows is only one of these stories:

It was early December, 2002. I entered the waiting room of my Chiropractor's office and noticed a book lying on the table. This was unusual, as they normally only have magazines. I picked it up and was immediately intrigued by the title: "It Takes a Worried Man." The book was written by a man in his mid-thirties who kept a journal during his wife's breast cancer treatment.

I felt the first twinges of karma ripple across my body. You see, a good friend of mine, also in her mid-thirties, had just shared the news of her own breast cancer diagnosis barely a week before. I was still reeling from the shock, as a matter of fact. How sick would she get from the treatment? Would she survive the entire ordeal? What would become of her husband and two children if the unthinkable occurred?

I read the first few pages of the book and it struck me that it seemed as though the language and thoughts of the author had come directly from my friend's husband. Those were the exact words I felt he would have used, and I just knew that he HAD to read this book. I asked the clinic staff if the book belonged to anyone, and they said that it had just been left there for the taking.

It wasn't until I got home that evening that I found the BookCrossing label inside the front cover of the book. I was an active user of http://www.wheresgeorge.com/ at the time, so the idea of giving away books I'd already read and tracking their travels had a wonderful appeal, especially considering my karmic introduction to it. I gave the book to my friend's husband, telling him that it had been written by someone going through the same situation as he was in, and that he was not alone. I hope it played at least a small part in getting him through the dark times to follow. I have been actively BookCrossing ever since.

These days, I love telling people about BookCrossing, and it's made all the more fun because I have such a neat story about how I got involved. The best part? My friend is cancer free after spending many long months undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, and she occasionally cleans out her bookshelves and gives me boxes of books to release!


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