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BookCrossing According to Mark

Mark endeavors to find out the colour of his kitchen table
by camelot-de
September 7, 2005
Six months ago, I had a serious space problem in my home. I had books everywhere – on shelves, on tables, the floor, you name it, there was a book there. Then one day, after I had tripped over a large pile of books, I began for the first time to look critically at my inventory.

I realised during the inventory that most of the books collecting dust in my bathroom were books I would never read! I collected them and kept them purely for the love of books. It didn’t matter what the subject was, who the author was, or what condition the book was in. If it was bound paper with a cover, then I collected it. I called it a loving obsession, others called it insane irrational madness. After noticing a book on Scottish country dancing, I was beginning to see their point! Scottish country dancing? Where did I ever get that one?

Then I discovered BookCrossing. Normally I abhor throwing books away, but BookCrossing was different. I wouldn’t be technically throwing the book away. I would just be passing the book onto another book lover. By doing so, I would be accomplishing many things. 1) I would be making another book lover happy, 2) I would be making my girlfriend happy, and 3) I might just get to see what colour the kitchen table is after 3 years covered in books. The possibilities were endless!

Besides thes benefits, I was curious to see what places my books would get to. Would my book on dream interpretation find its way out of the country? Would it be sitting on a sun-drenched beach next to a bikini beauty while I shivered away in cold Germany? Would I get mysterious book notes from someone on the other side of the world? There’s a certain excitement from the unknown. The unknown throws up unlimited and boundless opportunities. Your book might end up in the bin, but then again it might end up on a bookshelf in Siberia. Not only does your book get to go on a big adventure but you have the chance of making friends somewhere else in the world. Then again, knowing my luck, my book will only make it to the end of the street and I’ll get a call from the person telling me to come along and collect my book!

I’ve discovered that the best place to leave books is in parking lots, especially the multi-storey lots. I leave books in parking spaces, next to the money machines, the soda machines and so on. But let me tell you the places you should NOT leave books (especially if you want other BookCrossers to "hunt" them):

  1. On buses and trams. The chances of someone being able to catch the book is nil. Most likely, a drunk person will find it and vomit all over it.
  2. Don’t say “at the train station” or “the bus station”. Or if you decide on these locations, try to be specific! I don’t know about you, but my train station is HUGE. No way am I going to search the entire place! Plus all the drunk people at the station will find it and vomit all over it.
  3. In bookshops. Someone in my city actually did this! What if somebody found it and walked out of the shop with it? They would have store detectives all over them accusing them of shoplifting! That’s like hiding a bottle of beer in a bar. Or a tree in a forest.
  4. Hiding the book in a public park. Again, my local park is enormous. Do you honestly expect me to go combing through the bushes? Looking around in bushes is what gets you a bad reputation! Be more specific and say “North by Northwest, behind the bandstand, next to the drunk person, ten paces as the crow flies”.

Oh and by the way, in case you’re wondering; good news. I can finally see the colour of my kitchen table. I can proudly report: it’s brown. Thanks, BookCrossing!

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