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Tiago Luz

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Wandering Books

Most of us have a lot of books that spend years on a shelf, don't we? Well', I've come across an idea which I find worth spreading: leaving these books somewhere they're going to be picked up and read by someone else.

I'd like to point out this idea is not mine, it's something that was done by a group of around 10 people, each from a part of Brazil, one of which is a co-worker of mine.

When they bought a book, they would write on one of its first pages something like this: "I'm a wandering book. That means I wasn't born to spend years accumulating dust on a shelf: I'm meant to wander and please as many eyes and minds as possible. Please, after you read me, leave somewhere where I can find a new reader."

I know that some countries have a similar tradition with newspaper, where it's quite common to find papers on bus stops or tram/subway stations. Do you think this idea has any real potential to spread the love for literature?

Topics: Reading sharing

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    Aug 2 2011: Hi Tiago,

    Yes I do think this has potential. In the UK we had a similar system that was also linked to a website/facebook. So each time someone found a book left in a place they could log on to the website/facebook and follow the book. The great thing was that when that person finished the book they would leave it in another location and register this location on the website. You could search by book or place. A friend who didn't read so much at that time became so fixated on finding books that she became a great reader. I am also considering doing something similar on my university campus. I have so many books that are just on a shelf or in storage. People just need encouragement and an incentive to start. Once you start you get hooked. Another scheme is in Germany where people leave books in parks. I have posted a link to the picture of the wooden structure they use to exchange books that was taken by my niece when living in Germany: http://www.sharonzspace.com/?p=290. I am also collecting ideas about such projects. I would love to add yours to this blog page. If you could take a picture of a book with the writing in it would be great.) If you have any other ideas as well I would be extremely interested. Thanks again Sharon
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      Aug 2 2011: Hello, Sharon.

      Here in Porto Alegre, some bus stops have been equipped with shelves symilar to that one pictured in your website. Sadly, though, I've never seen a book in one of them. I'm not sure if books aren't being placed there or if they are being picked up fastly...

      I think having some form of tracking the books that one has read is a valid incentive for people to participate. Something similar to the pictures which work as baits for kids to start reading, only it's something that appeals to adults.

      I haven't come across any of the books my co-worker and her friends have "freed", but I can surely make the writing in one of my own and release it somewhere. I'll do it as soon as possible, and promise to send you a picture of it.

      Thanks for your feedback, it's nice to know there are people as concerned as me about spreading the love for literacy.

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