Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Catch and Release Missions - for Books

The mission began at dusk, in a light rain. I carried the package under my arm, hoping not to attract attention. As my husband and I approached the target — a large hospital — from the south, I whispered, “Try to look normal.”

“How can I look normal when I’m soaking wet?” he asked. “This is ridiculous.”

“Sweep the perimeter and stop skulking,” I hissed as I surveyed the lobby.

Empty waiting room. Darkened gift shop window. Good. Casually, I wandered to a seating area and laid the package — a hardcover copy of “The Wind in the Willows,” the children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame — on an end table.

Minutes later, my husband skulked back, empty-handed. That wasn’t part of the plan.

“Where is the other book?” I asked.

“It wasn’t there,” he said. “Can we please go home now?”

Now it was my turn to skulk. On the three-block walk to the car, I tried to figure out where the operation had gone wrong.
Apparently more than 60,000 people take part in “catch and release” missions worldwide. Michelle Slatalla writes about the joys of Bookcrossing in the New York Times.

Who can argue with the aim of turning the world into one big library? I wrote about Bookcrossing in Malaysia here and you can get in touch with fellow bookcrossers through this yahoogroup.

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