Actually, that was the sound of me putting a lovely book I recently finished (J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country,) in an envelope and sending it to someone in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Some of you might recall that, a month ago, I tried to unload a plethora of stationery items on you. I managed to get Q to take some, because he is a kind man, and I still have a stack of file folders to send to the wonderful Dr. Gonzo. But beyond that, the reaction to this offer was a collective cry of, don’t you dare send me any more blank journals!
But someone has been thinking about this problem of what to do with our acquisitions. And they came up with Book Mooch. ( I found out about it from Diana at Diaphanous.) It’s very easy to use. The basic idea is that you enter the books you want to give away in a database. You get an email when someone wants one. You mail it to them. You get to mooch a book for every one you give away. The wonderful thing though is that you don’t ever have to get any books back if you don’t want to. I see the stack of books I want to find homes for literally disappearing before my eyes. I hope it works. I hope you go over there and look at my list. It’s very small right now, but I plan to add a few every few days.
One answer to the amount of stuff we acquire is not to acquire it. And I do that by visiting the library. But books seem to come to me despite the fact that I have cards to the libraries in two different counties. I love the idea that I can send the books I don’t need to keep to people who have decided they really want them. Jimmy Carter’s autobiography is a great example of this. I liked having it, and looking it over. But it’s big and takes up a lot of space and someone might need to read the entire thing. Maybe they will then be inspired to go and monitor elections somewhere (like Ohio). That’s the way things should work.
It took me moments to set up an account a few days ago. It is obviously free. (I am all over free things.) And then, I plucked ten books off one of the stacks on the floor in my office, entered their ISBNS (you can find the ISBN on the back of the book or on the page that has the copyright information). Beautiful little snapshots of my books appeared on my page of the site. Some of them are books I’ve read and really liked (Henning Mankell’s The Fifth Woman is there). Some of them are very specific books I doubt anyone will ever want to read. (In Other Words: The Science and Psychology of Second-Language Acquisition? Hey, it’s in perfect shape and it is a very interesting look at the many different ways people learn languages.)
I’m running out the door to go on a quick hike and mail A Month in the Country to Grand Rapids. I cannot think of two better things to be doing today.