As I write, thousands of books lie scattered across our nation: abandoned, rejected and lost, waiting with hope and courage in their hearts for new owners who will rescue, rehouse and read them. Unlike many of their friends, they cannot be found luxuriating upon the warm bookshelves of a library, or curled up amidst the cosy table display of a local bookshop. No such luxury for those such as these, whose temporary, makeshift shelters consist of benches in draughty railway station waiting rooms, a shelf in the chilled food section of a local frozen foods outlet, or a humble seat on the Piccadilly line. In cafes and castles, cinemas and supermarkets, greengrocers and garden centres, they sit in silence, hoping that someone will see them, pick them, and commit to giving them a warm and loving home.
Last weekend, The Guardian and Observer launched a nationwide book swap, in which you can swap one of your old books for another by leaving it in a place in which it is likely to be found by someone.
So that the person knows that your chosen book is part of The Guardian and Observer Book Swap (as opposed to A Random Item Of Lost Property), you can can download a ‘message sticker’ from The Guardian and Observer website, which you stick to the inside cover of your book, complete with your own personalised message of recommendation. Then, hopefully, you will find one of your own, whilst waiting for the 137 bus, or standing in the queue at Waitrose, or somesuch.
Isn’t it wonderful? I love it, and shall definitely be a most avid participant.
Happy weekend swapping,