The BookCrossing Experience

My apologies for the long gap between the last blog post and this one; I resolve to be a  better blogger over the remainder of the summer months. I enjoyed tackling my #PoetryinJune challenge but it has been nice to take a breather afterwards. Perhaps I will see if I can come up with another ‘Month of…’ in the future. Any ideas and suggestions will be more than welcome.

With the advent of the summer holidays, a blog topic has obligingly suggested itself to me as we start to think about books to take on  various journeys. You might hazard a guess from that last sentence that we are not an e-reader owning family, and you’d be right. But it isn’t only recalcitrant readers like us who still pack paperbacks; dedicated BookCrossers will also be packing assorted volumes to leave in hotel rooms, cafes, departure lounges and railway carriages. I joined the BookCrossing fraternity in 2007 and have ventured intermittently into the delights of BookCrossing ever since.

I wrote a piece about my not-so-successful experiences a couple of years ago for Hackwriters and I have now posted the article up here under The Blurb section and an extract from it below. My inspiration for digging out the article was that He Who Put the Shelves Up found a BookCrossing release at Trinity College one Saturday in May. I registered the find on my account and the book is due to be re-released back into the wild any day now, in a location in Shetland. The book that we found and registered was Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen and it had originally been released in Dublin in 2009. This is actually the first find I have ever registered and strictly speaking I can’t even really claim the glory for the achievement. I didn’t get around to reading Black and Blue before it set off on its next journey but it seems to have been well reviewed on Goodreads so I hope that whoever finds it agrees.

The Curse of the Pharaohs

An Amelia Peabody Murder Mystery

All this has inspired me to choose a book or two from my own shelves (but not The Landing ones) that I will register and send out into the world over the next few weeks. After much deliberation I’ve picked the first book; a re-read that I recently bought from Oxfam in Dundrum, Dublin. So, Amelia Peabody in The Curse of the Pharaohs (Elizabeth Peters) will be scheduled for departure in a few days time. I’ve read several of these historical murder mysteries but not in the right order. With this one I found myself almost back in the beginning of the action as this is only the second adventure for the spirited Egyptologist and her husband Radcliffe Emerson. I was fooled by the jacket of this newish edition (2006) and didn’t at first realise that it was one I had read several years ago.

Curse of the Pharaohs sees Amelia, now a wife and mother (to Walter aka Ramses) settled in a mansion in Kent. Peabody and Emerson (as they address each other) are unutterably bored by elegant domesticity and neither of them are cut out for socialising with their neighbours. Amelia bemoans that ‘They cannot tell a Kamares pot from a piece of prehistoric painted ware , and they have no idea who Seti the First was’.  With these exacting standards perhaps it’s not surprising that the Emersons take the first opportunity that presents itself to travel back to the Valley of the Kings. Deadly danger is preferable to tea parties. As the author points out, ‘Amelia is planning to draw her last breath holding a trowel in one hand and her deadly parasol in the other’. If you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of the duo of dedicated Egyptologists, then give the books a try. Elizabeth Peters’ historical detail is good and the books are lively and entertaining reads. Read up the background on the Amelia Peabody website.

BookCrossing for beginners: how not to do it if you want to be successful

Recently I decided to log on to the BookCrossing site again and take a look to see if anyone had by any lucky chance registered a copy of a children’s book that I’d love get my mitts on. (It’s called Holiday at the Dewdrop Inn by Eve Garnett in case anyone was wondering). I’ll explain the web site briefly for those BookCrossing virgins out there. This is how it works: you just register the book/s that you no longer want, write some blurb if you choose and give the book a star rating. The system automatically generates a BookCrossing Identification Code (BCID) for each book. When you decide to release your book you can either print off a label to fix in the book or simply write a note to attach. You post release notes online about the location and the time at which you will send your book into the wild blue yonder. In theory eager readers could be on the spot to nab just the volume they’ve been waiting for by using the advance information. On the other hand a passer-by may have a delightfully serendipitous find. You may also choose to leave a registered book somewhere and post the details later. If the finder then logs the BCID on the home page, the original owner can track the book’s journey. If you are looking for a particular title you can also do a search of the registered books and arrange a book swap through BC’s message system (a controlled release).

The BC site looked a bit different since the last time I visited; there’d obviously been a revamp, but imagine my amazement when I realised that the last time I had released a book into the wild was in July 2008. Where had all that time gone? What had I released? Why had I stopped doing it? And more to the point, where had all those books gone that I had so trustingly let go? I should have guessed that it had been some time since I last logged on by the fact that I had trouble remembering my password. Mind you at one point I was also misspelling my own name which didn’t help the situation. But I digress. The point is this: I put the children’s book title on my wish list (actually the only item on it) and bravely resolved to give the BookCrossing thingy another go.

To read this piece in its entirety, please click on the BookCrossing article in The Blurb section of this website.

Now, I’m off to do a little more BookCrossing…if anyone else has any BookCrossing experiences please drop a line in the comment box!

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