In 2005 this lifelong Bookworm joined a world-wide, online community, and movement, still in its infancy, but growing in popularity by the day.
In Fall 2008 I ended 3 years as an active member, for a variety of reasons, mostly due to work, and time, and my activities as a blogger.
I remained a member, with the vague notion of returning to it at some point.
Last Spring, though, it looked like I wasn't, especially after I broke my ankle.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to return, and with a Library that had a 24/7 shelf outside it's doors, where you could find books for a dime, and toss your money in a wall slot, I had a cheap way to build up my stock of books to set free on the world to be read , most of them, for the first time in decades. :-D
In the last 2 months I've collected 69 books, only a handful as much as $1.75 in cost.
So what is Bookcrossing?
Let me update a post I last wrote in 2007, for 2011:
Bookcrossing is avery cool, very stimulating and edumicational community
As the site says: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single release."
In April 2001 Ron Hornbaker launched a website to share his love of a good book.
The idea is a simple one: Read a book, then instead of tossing it in the trash, giving it to the library, or to a friend, or relative, or to Goodwill, pass it on to a total stranger!
Do this by leaving it on a park bench, in the breakroom at work, on a bus, or train seat, in an office waiting room, a public restroom, or in any number of other public places where the little, or not so little, darling will be found.
Outfitted with a special bookplate, tracking number and a note explaining the concept so the next person will know what to do if so inclined, the book can be tracked as it randomly travels from city to city and even nation to nation, around the world.
Over 946,498 people have "released" over 8 million books "into the wild" as of this evening, and the term "bookcrossing" has its own category in the Google Directory, as well as being listed in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
This award winning community is one of the most respected and popular gathering places online.
When a book is "Caught" the finder follows notification instructions and can leave a journal entry and the person who released the book can get notified by e-mail about the books latest encounter.
One of the many fun aspects is that you can be a "Hunter".
There is a list of countries with books "in the wild." After registering and releasing a book, members have the option of making Release Notes, specifying where exactly (or approximately) they left a book.
There are actually people traipsing around looking for a particular book!
This is very similar to those folks leaving, finding and cataloging, hidden items in the wilderness, in the activity called Geocaching.
While membership is free there is a supply store for purchasing Official bookplates of various types and cost, if you don't want to make one of your own.
There are also Bookcrossing Conventions and Monthly Meetings in cities everywhere.
There is much more to this worldwide community of book lovers, and newspapers, and magazines, are always coming late to the phenomenon, and writing rapturous stories about it. :-D
Such as this one I found by the NY Times, in 2007.
In 2005 I became a Bookcrosser...
In 2007 I became a Georger...
A few weeks ago, while telling one co-worker about Georging a Benjamin, another co-worker told me she had been carrying around a Dollar, for a few months, that had Georging Stamps on it.
But wait, it gets better! ;-D
When I asked her why she still had it she laughed, and offered to give it to me if I told her where it had been.
I gave her 4 quarters for it, went online, during a break, at WG, and learned the bill had originally been GEOCACHED...IN KS., over 2 years ago!
I decided that it would be cool to return it to a Geocache so I signed up. ;-D
While the tough locations need GPS to find, SOME of the easy ones, especially if they are Urban, and you know the area...DO NOT.
TRUST ME. ;-D
1st BK, then GW, now GEOCACHING...
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching (Official and Original Site!) is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.
Whether I will get a cheaply priced device with the minimun needed to get the job done, or not, I am not ready to say yet...but, um, heh, heh, I detect a pattern in my choices of some of my hobbies. ;-D
Further research turned up other similar hobbies.
Technorati Tags: Armchair Treasure Hunt Club, BookCrossing, Degree Confluence Project, EuroBillTracker, Geocaching, Letterboxing, Letterboxing North America, Official Dartmoor Letterboxing Club, tracking Euro notes, Where's George
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There is an organization in Southern California whose mission is to "provide writers with several opportunities to get together with other writers each month."
If you write for a living, or aspire to do so, it may be of interest to you.
They have casual satellite get-togethers in various areas, a seminar most months, and a general meeting "that is typically a panel discussion about a writing-related topic."
They also have an e-mail discussion list, a members showcase, and a collection of links to great tools for writers, and more.
The organization also has a radio show that is "a tremendous opportunity for IWOSC members to promote themselves with 5 to 6 minute taped interviews on our new, one-hour weekly radio show in interview format, produced by Big Media Broadcasting Company (BMBC) in Studio City."
In March the Orange County Satelite was started up again, with a meeting at the Tustin Library.
John Janda, author of American Spirit and head of Academy Press CA publishing, hosts IWOSC's Orange County Satellite.
Meetings are the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 730pm.
The next two are April 16th, and May 21st.
Some of the events listed on the Website require non-members to pay to attend.
Membership may be steep, even for renewals, for some people, but this page explains the benefits.
The wonderful Democracy in America By Alexis de Tocqueville is still relevant over 170 years later.
He published the book in 2 volumes (1835, 1840).
I own the Library of America Edition.
The first Volume is the more scholarly of the 2 what with its discussion of history, politics, and more, being butressed with statistics, and quotes galore.
The second volume is the the more philosophical of the 2 as the author delves into all sorts of issues, and subjects related to the society, culture, religion, politics, and more, of America, and is far from shy about expressing not only his philosophy, but his thoughts on the philosophies of the people of the United States.
That brings me to just one aspect of this book that is relevant today:
In the last 30 years religious belief has played a significant role in the shaping of American politics, and the so-called Culture Wars.
I'm not the most religious person around, despite the variety of beliefs practiced by various relatives I've lived around all my life, but that does not mean that I don't find the subject interesting, and learn much from reading books, articles, and Blogs of a religious nature.
In light of recent debates in the media, from the battle over religion on school, and college, campuses, Creationism vs. Evolution in our schools, to the ACLU's war against All Things Christmas, I found a chapter in Volume 2 of particular interest, along with a startling paragraph comparing Islam and Christianity that is very relevant to the America of today, and the last 30 years.
Powerful, thought provoking, writing of a sort rarely surpassed since, and reason enough for thoughtful people, interested in the future of our nation to consider reading this still relevant book.
This book, by Donald Spoto, was written in 1997.
Spellbound, Notorious, Anastasia and many other films come to mind when one thinks of Bergman.
This is a detail packed book covering her personal amd professional life.
If you want to learn about her relationships, romantic and professional, how she developed and utilized her talent as an actress, and why people the world over admired, loved her and for a brief time despised her, then this is the book for you.
A wonderful collection of photographs is included, as well as an excellent Bibliography and collection of notes.
This is the story of an actress whose performances on screen and her life off the screen changed peoples ideas of what it was to be a woman, and is a must read for Movie fans.
Thoughts on some Books about John Wayne that I have read:
JOHN WAYNE: American by Randy Roberts (1995)
His friends and fans simply call him Duke. More than 20 yrs. after his death he is still coming in 1st or 2nd in polls askings Americans who their favorite actor is. Why is this? Come on, he's dead already!
Beginning in 1930 with THE BIG TRAIL and ending in 1976 with THE SHOOTIST, DUKE has been bigger than life, a symbol to the world of the ruggedness, tough independence, personal conviction, and courage that make up the American character.
I love him not just because he was a great actor, but because he played roles that showed us an America to be proud of. He was the type of guy you wouldn't mind sitting with in a bar for a few drinks and, definitely, you'd love him at your back in a fight!
The authors of this book tell you everything you need to know to understand and appreciate John Wayne the way I and millions the world over do.
This meticulously researched, and well thought out story of the life of DUKE is a must. From his childhood to his college years, from his first job in Hollywood thru the incredible career he led as an actor, from one marriage to the next and his political views and activism all the way thru to his battle with the Big C this book is a gold mine.
An added plus are the extensive notes and bibliography sections and a complete chronological Filmography.
You will never look at John Wayne, the actor and the man, in the same way ever again.
John Wayne's America by Gary Wills (1998)
This book is essentially a discussion about an idea.
American values, and culture came to be influenced by the films and film roles of John Wayne, and the author explores that in great detail.
This book helped me understand why I admire the courage, resolution, dignity, and strength that his characters displayed, and why I admire Wayne's ability to disappear into the skin of whatever character he played.
On Dec. 20th Michelle Slatalla wrote an story in the Gray Lady about Bookcrossing and her experiences as a new member.
The idea behind BookCrossing.com is simple. You drop off a book in a public place. Or pick up one someone else left behind. Eventually the whole world becomes one big, free library...
BookCrossing.com seemed like poetic justice. The Internet, which threatens to replace good, old-fashioned books with soulless bits of downloadable information that readers have to click through, instead was extending the lives of my paper friends...
I love a treasure hunt. But bookcrossing turned out to be a lot harder than I had expected.
That’s partly because when you release a book, you can’t attract attention. Drop a paperback on the condiments bar at Peet’s, and the last thing you want is to hear, “Hey, lady, you forgot your copy of ‘Ulysses’ and somebody just sprinkled cinnamon on it.”
More complications: All the books I tried to catch were mysteriously gone by the time I reached their release sites, even as the books I dropped disappeared without a trace. You would think that, with 260,000 registered bookcrossers nationwide — 2,119 in San Francisco — one of them could spare the time to stop by a hospital lobby to pick up a perfectly good copy (hardcover!) of “The Wind in the Willows” and then log in to report the finding.
I think it took her a while to get the idea that members of BookCrossing make up a tiny percentage of those who "Catch" a book that has been "Released". ;-D
She mentions that there are BookCrosser groups on Facebook and YouTube, which I will find time to look into in the new year.
She finally contacted the Godfather of BookCrossing for enlightenment:
I also phoned Scott Sorochak, the chief executive of BookCrossing, for pointers.
“It’s all about serendipity,” he said.
“That’s the key?” I asked.
Only about 33 percent of the books released “in the wild” are picked up by bookcrossers within 30 days, he added.
“Not to sound Type A or anything, but I want to catch one now,” I said.
Well, here's where things got interesting.
How she finally makes her first "Catch" is cool, not to mention rather romantic, hee, hee. ;-D
When BookCrossers worldwide learned of the story they stepped forward to offer her ideas on how to increase her catch rate for wild releases.
There a thread in the Announcements forum letting people know about the article and another one in Release Techniques that was set up to share the "wealth of ideas to help this newbie BookCrosser, and others like her, improve the rate of the number of her wild releases that are picked up."
I was going to reveal how it was all the fault of Frank, Joe, Nancy, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise that I became an incurable Bookaholic, but realizing we'd be here thru Christmas Day, or even the New Year, I decided to instead leave you with a Baker's Dozen list of books I'd highly recommend any time of the year.
In print, or out, they can still be bought through the usual suspects found online, including Amazon:
1. AMERICA: THE LAST BEST HOPE - V.1: From the Age of Discovery to a World at War by William J. Bennett.
2. AMERICA THE LAST BEST HOPE - V.2: From a World at War to The Triumph of Freedom by William J. Bennett.
3. A PATRIOT'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen.
4. LIBERTY AND FREEDOM: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas by David Hackett Fischer.
5. THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTION by Kevin R. C. Gutzman.
6. THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO CAPITALISM by Robert P. Murphy.
7. THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE by Elizabeth Kantor.
8 THE STORY OF BRITAIN: From The Romans to the Present - A Narrative History by Rebecca Fraser.
9 THE FAITH: A History of Christianity by Brian Moynahan
10. FLAG: An American Biography by Marc Leepson.
11. INFAMOUS SCRIBBLERS: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Begginnings of Ameican Journalism by Eric Burns.
12. HOW TO RAISE AN AMERICAN: 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips, and Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country by Myrna Blyth and Chriss Winston.
13. THE IMAGE: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America by Daniel J. Boorstin.
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Can I get a rousing AMEN BROTHER! from the congregation? :-D
"I have always felt that it was commendable to buy books. I grew up with a liking for reading my own books, instead of someone else's. This preference I still have. I have my books strictly for use. I turn down the pages. I even tear out a few, if I need them. Books that I really use are much the worse for wear when I get through with them. I always mark them. When I read one of them a second time, which I seldom do, I generally can't remember what I meant by the marks I put in it the first time. But it gives you a feeling of having dug deep into the book, and it intensifies your sense of the ownership of it, to make big black marks down the side of it as you read. So I have always felt that one should buy as many books as possible. They are not like food, of which one should buy only as much as one can consume at the moment. Nor like clothes, of which a wise man will buy as few and as cheap as he can get by with. But of books he should buy all he can."
Rev. Carl S. Patton's opening paragraph in THE BUYING OF BOOKS from the Feb. 1922 issue of The Atlantic Monthly ( Must be a member of the website to read the article.).
I read this paragraph and see myself...
I love reading books that I choose to read and that I own and I used to turn down the pages until I got religion and converted to using certain types of colored paperclips.