Joined Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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"Read in order to live."
Once upon a time, I used to teach English as a Foreign Language to adult students living in Germany. One day, a lady named Marita turned up in a class of absolute beginners. Unbelievably, Marita had gone through the school system without ever having sat through an English lesson. Nevertheless, she was a very dedicated learner and soon picked up the basics. Over the years, I was very proud at how much she achieved, very quickly moving from the person with least knowledge of English in the class to the one with the most. And where did all this knowledge come from? Why, from reading of course!
Gradually I began to get to know Marita a little better. Even though I don't believe in certain people being lucky or unlucky, I have to admit that Marita and her husband, Fred, encountered more than the average amount of bad luck. Amongst other things, Fred was diagnosed as having not only Alzheimer's but also epilepsy. Luckily, Marita's brother agreed to look after him on a Tuesday morning, allowing Marita's continued attendance at the English classes which had become so precious to her.
There came a point though when caring for Fred became too much for Marita's brother and Marita, with a heavy heart, decided she would drop out of classes to be with him 24/7. The dedication Marita had exhibited in learning English was transferred to the care of her husband. Her only pleasure left in life seemed to be reading English novels: best sellers, romance, crime, women's fiction, thrillers, family sagas - in fact, anything she could get her hands on. I started an appeal here on Book Crossing. Several appeals, actually. And the lovely, generous Book Crossing community excelled themselves, as always, and inundated Marita with books. She has become close friends with one or two of them, and exchanges letters regularly.
Since she does not own a computer, I offered to take the books she had finished reading to journal them and pass them on, but I hadn't expected such resonance!! I have absolute piles of books lying about the place. Most haven't been journaled yet as I just don't have the time. I will get round to it, sooner or later, so if you are waiting to hear about a book you passed on to Marita at some point - even if it was years ago - may I ask you to be patient for a little while longer? (Some books, I have to admit, have been passed on either by Marita or myself without being duly journaled and released, but I am sure they have gone to another good home somewhere so I wouldn't worry too much).
The downside to this little tale is that I have about a million books to pass on. I keep offering them in various RABCKs (keep your eyes on the forums!) but in the meantime, feel free to browse my AVLs. I am happy to pass on what I can, and of course if you were to offer me money to cover the postage, I wouldn't refuse. Not that I expect it, and I do understand if this isn't an option for you, for whatever reason.**
Marita still enjoys reading and will always be on the lookout for more books until the day she dies (and then probably from beyond the grave, God willing!) so if you have books to pass on - preferably English, although she has been known to read in German too! - and are willing to post them to Germany, please PM me for her address.
As for me, I love to read when I have the time. My taste is very eclectic but I do prefer to read in English. At the moment, I am reading Nadine Gordimer, Andrea Levy and Sebastian Barry, but I have read many more. From Kate Atkinson to Zadie Smith by way of Charles Dickens, Maggie O'Farrell, Dorothy Koomson, Jane Austen, Chris Cleave, Lisa Jewell and many, many others. Unfortunately, I don't have so much time any more and tend to nod off over books as I seem to feel permanently tired.
Nor do I have enough time for my second big hobby, traveling. Well, it's a question of time and money, really. I do what I can and would like to do more. Apart from that, I enjoy good films, laughter, tea, friendship, mints, chocolate (especially with fruit and nuts) and all kinds of writing paraphernalia, from beautiful writing paper and cards to pens.
I really envy the creativity of other book crossers, especially home made gifts, e.g. sewn "trinkets" (such as hearts made of material for hanging on door handles etc. and other decorations for the home), bookmarks and so on. And of course I am always on the lookout for beautiful book labels, in English or German. Wing extensions are always a welcome gift and I love both caramel and marzipan. I also enjoy indulging in a bath!
Don't be shy - a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet!
Here's a list of the countries "my" books have been passed on to:
Argentina - Australia - Austria - Belgium - Brazil - Canada - Czech Republic - Denmark - Egypt - England - Finland - France - Germany - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Lithuania - Mexico - Netherlands - New Zealand - Norway - Pakistan - Philippines - Portugal - Rumania - Russia - Scotland - South Africa - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Taiwan - USA - Wales
visited 31 states (13.7%) your own visited map of The World or Free ipad travel guide
"Life Stories" by Nadine Gordimer
"The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty" by Sebastian Barry
"Billy" by Pamela Stephenson
"Her Last Tomorrow" by Adam Croft
"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty
"The Last Runaway" by Tracy Chevalier
"Dead Simple" by Peter James
"Gardens of Water" by Alan Drew
"Eve Green" by Susan Fletcher
"Annie Dunne" by Sebastian Barry
"Tideline" by Penny Hancock
"A Registrar's Guide for Detecting Forced Marriages" by Sophie Hardach
"Trust in Me" by Sophie McKenzie
"Whatever you Love" by Louise Doughty
"Daughter" by Jane Shemilt
"We need New Names" by NoViolet Bulawayo
"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd
"The Accident" by C. L. Taylor
"The Girl You Lost" by Kathryn Croft
"Remember Mia" by Alexandra Burt
"The Girl in the Ice" by Robert Bryndza
"The Rose Petal Beach" by Dorothy Koomson
"The Missing" by C. L. Taylor
"A Mother's Secret" by Renita D'Silva
"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins
"One World Anthology - A global anthology of short stories" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie i.a.
"While My Eyes Were Closed" by Linda Green
"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens
"The Chimes" by Charles Dickens