A Chance Meeting of a Bookworm With a Book as well as with Bookcrossingby Nobleignoramus
January 18, 2011
I have many different roots that I gathered up 16 years ago and replanted them in the fertile soil of southern China. I have taught western languages at a number of secondary schools and universities there.
My wife, a local, and I settled in a small town far away from academic life, shopping malls and high-speed trains, but it is a place that attracts a disproportionate number of international visitors, due to the beautiful landscapes surrounding it as well as the fame its hospitable natives have earned for themselves.
And so it may not be a surprise for some to learn that in my Chinese neck of the woods I can find books published in western countries. There is a second-hand bookstore in town owned by an enterprising man popularly known by his English name, John (or rather now that he changed it - Philip),which also doubles as a guesthouse offering roomy quarters right in the thick of action and at decent rates.
It was here that I picked up a German detective novel that put me on my trail to Bookcrossers.
If ever any Bookcrosser finds themselves bored (not very likely in idyllic Yangshuo, but who knows? There are rainy days, too!), pick your way to CAFE TOO, on Chengzhong Lu No. 7, and you will behold a quaint groundfloor establishment with bookshelves running along its timber-boarded sidewalls that are creaking under hundreds of tomes neatly arranged in alphabetic order.
One or two shelves carry French, an equal number German books. You can also find Dutch, Hebrew and Scandinavian titles - though in far smaller numbers.
John alias Philip will happily purchase your old book if it is commercially marketable, or swap two of yours for one of his.