Another two bookring books showed up at the weekend: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris and The Meaning of it All by Richard Feynman. At this rate, I’m never going to get those NZ books read, so I’m breaking the ettiquette slightly and alternating reading a bookring book and then a NZ book off my TBR pile. I’m a fast enough reader that this shouldn’t hold up the bookrings for too long (I hope!) – and anyway, MrPloppy saw me open my mail and immediately pounced on the Feynman book (he’s a huge fan of Richard Feynman), so he’s unofficially added himself to the bookring and is going to read it before me (that’s another thing that the ettiquette says you shouldn’t really do – add extra people into a bookring without consulting with the organiser of the ring – but as the book would be just sitting on a shelf waiting for me to get to it anyway, it’s not like it’s holding the bookring up for any longer for MrPloppy to read it too, so hopefully nobody will mind too much).
Oh well, great example I’m setting here, aren’t I – only a few entries in this diary, and already I’m describing all the rules I’m breaking! Actually, there’s only a couple of real rules in Bookcrossing: “One Book, One BCID” (i.e. don’t give the same copy of a book more than one BCID (for obvious reasons!), and if you’ve got two copies of the same book, they should each get their own unique BCID), and a request from Ron (the Bookcrossing founder) that we don’t release books anywhere they’re likely to cause a security scare (this rule was implemented after someone left a book in a US airport, and they evacuated the entire airport because someone thought it might be a bomb! Luckily, NZ airport officials aren’t normally this paranoid…) However, as happens in any community, several unofficial rules of ettiquette have grown up around things like RABKs and bookrings – mostly common sense ideas like “journal the book as soon as you get it” and “don’t hold on to bookring books for too long”. TexasWren’s FAQs includes the most commonly accepted “rules”.
I haven’t been doing a lot of releasing lately, mainly because of other things in life keeping me busy, but also because in August I went down to Stewart Island and released loads of books on the way, and quite a few on the island itself (got a few catches too: my favourite is this one), which seriously diminished my pile of books ready for release, and because I’m now saving up books to take over to Sydney (I might have to weigh my bag carefully before leaving for the airport, because I think I’ll be pushing the 20kg limit, even though I’m only going for a weekend!!!), so every time I go to release a book, I think “this would be a great one to release in Sydney” and I put it back in the pile. But I did release a couple of books at the university on my way to work this morning. The university makes a great place for releasing books, because (a) the students all have internet access, and seem to be more receptive to the Bookcrossing idea (hey, free anything sounds good to students!), so you get some good catches; (b) it’s the best place to release non-fiction books where they’re most likely to find an appreciative reader; and (c) plenty of opportunity for themed releases! Today’s releases fit categories (b) and (c): House Without a Roof and The Penkovsky Papers, two books about communist Russia that I released in the Russian Department. With releases like that, I don’t really mind whether they actually get journalled, I just want them to go to someone who’ll they’ll be useful to – and the chances of that happening if I released them anywhere else are pretty slim.