What do you call a meetup that isn't?

I went to Trattorie for lunch on Saturday, to drop off the books that freesia had left with me:

It was a really lovely day, so on the way back I stopped off in the park and released Bruno’s Dream by Iris Murdoch on a bench by the duck pond (which was completely covered in ducks, being the first day of the duck shooting season – it always amazes me how quickly they figure out that city ponds are safe havens for the duration), and then went and sat on another bench on the other side of the pond where I could watch it discretely while reading my own book. Very quickly, a woman sat down at the bench, noticed the book (which I’d put in a “Free Book” bag from the supply store), carefully read everything written on the outside of the bag, put it back down, picked it up again, looked at the “Free Book” bit again, and eventually opened the bag and took out the book. Then she read the bookmark I’d put inside, looked at the stuff on the bag again… and finally opened the book and started reading it! She sat there for about half an hour, and looked like she’d read a couple of chapters, so when she got up to leave, I was sure she’d take the book with her. But no, she put it back in the bag and left it on the bench 🙁 I ended up sitting there for a couple of hours (no great sacrifice – it was such a lovely day, and I was enjoying the sunshine and my book), watching loads of people walk past and either glance at the book and look away, or not even notice it. A couple of people actually stopped for a second look, but didn’t pick it up, and by this time a few clouds were starting to appear, so I decided it was time to go home. But then I noticed a couple of women with a dog, who seemed to be doing a circuit of the pond, and I decided I’d wait and see if they noticed the book, and *then* leave. And you know what? They not only noticed the book, they picked it up and took it away with them! No journal entry yet, but who cares, it was worth it just to see the book get caught.

My idea of releasing a few books last week after the mention of Bookcrossing on John Campbell’s programme paid off – I got two catches! The Night the Rain Came In by Jenifer Wayne and Nude in Nevada by Thomas B Dewey. Both new members, too.

On Tuesday night we had our regular second Tuesday of the month not-a-meetup (Skyring suggested on BCAUS that they should be called TGPKAMUs (The Gathering Previously Known as MeetUp)). Quite a good turn-out – me, natecull, lytteltonwitch, non-fiction, Cathietay and daveytay, awhina, and a newbie who actually found us through meetup.com and (as far as I could tell) had never got around to joining Bookcrossing, but decided to come along to a meeting after getting all the emails I’d sent when I was the meetup organiser! He seemed to enjoy himself, and went away with a book, so hopefully he’ll join properly now.

Despite all my good intentions, I ended up catching more books than I released (although it’s not entirely my fault, because three were in a series, so there was no point in only taking one of them; and one was one that lytteltonwitch had brought along specifically for me (Glorious Needlepoint by Kaffe Fassett, which she hasn’t registered – I need to check with her whether she wants me to register it or if she’d rather do it (not that she really needs the stats or anything!))). I gave The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin to awhina to take home to meerkitten, and Cathietay took Mr Brightly’s Evening Off by Kathleen Rowntree, and I caught Lefties: The Origins and Consequences of Being Left-Handed by Jack Fincher, Where Did I Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s by Andrew Collins, and the first three books in Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming series: The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, and The Ships of Earth.

After the meeting, a few of us went to visit the new Borders that’s opened in Riccarton. Wow! Nowhere near as big as their London shop, of course, but still a much bigger (not counting Smith’s, of course!) and more comprehensive bookshop than the usual Christchurch fare (once we had the wonderful Scorpios, which used to be considered one of the best bookshops in New Zealand. We’ve still got Scorpios, but it’s nowhere near as good as it used to be – I think they went downhill when they moved to their new location). I don’t care if they’re a big American multinational – it’s just so nice to see a bookshop that’s actually devoted to books, and not filled with gifts and stationery and all the other rubbish that Whitcoulls carries (ok, so Borders does have magazine, music, and DVD sections, but it’s still clear that their main business is books). I was seriously tempted by quite a few offerings, but managed to restrain myself to just browsing… for now, anyway 😉

Currently reading: Stancliffe’s Hotel by Charlotte Brontë (yes, still reading it – for such a tiny book, it’s taking an awfully long time to finish!) and The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

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3 Comments

  1. how about learning to cook, and my life as a waiter, learning to read and write, learning to talk, learning to be myself, learning how to erase all my mistakes, learning how to think before i speak, learning to stop starting fights, learning to eat properly, learning to excercise, learning to bathe, art of management, learning to be kind, preschool for adults, learning to hear the sound of brass

  2. Interesting. I’d thought the only books Charlotte Bronte had written were Jane Eyre and Villette. I adored Jane Eyre (even listened to a recording of it recently during my afternoon walks). I didn’t enjoy Villette so much, but I’m willing to give her another go. I’ll have to look for Shirley. According to a web site I just checked, Charlotte also evidently wrote something called The Professor, as well as some essays and a book about how her family celebrated Christmases.

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