Busy bookcrossing

The last week or so has been filled with bookcrossing. First there was gwilk‘s birthday party, which strictly had nothing to do with bookcrossing, but lytteltonwitch and I managed to turn it into a bookcrossing event by releasing a pile of books at the party suited to its space theme:

Time and Stars by Poul Anderson
Beyond the Beyond by Poul Anderson
Under Alien Stars by Pamela F Service
Future History by Jerry Pournelle
Citizen in Space by Robert Sheckley
How to be an Alien by George Mikes
The Next Ten Thousand Years by Adrian Berry
Space Adventure by Patrick Moore and Angus MacVicar

We dressed appropriately for the theme too. I made a long black cloak (with some assistance from Ming)

and dressed as a jedi, and lytteltonwitch stuck stars on her knees

and dressed as… um, we weren’t sure what she was, actually, but something spacey 🙂

(Aren’t I brave, posting a photo of me without hiding it behind a friends-only filter?)

Then on Monday night lytteltonwitch and I went to the grand premiere of the bookcrossing documentary at CPIT. The documentary looked great, and I didn’t make too much of a fool of myself in my interview (saying my whole social life revolves around bookcrossing made me sound a bit sad, but it’s not that far off the mark…). Fingers crossed now that it will be shown on TV sometime, because it would be a great promotion for bookcrossing – they did a wonderful job of showing how much fun it all is.

Of course, we had to release a few books around the studio, just in case anyone was inspired after watching the documentary 🙂

Movie by Wolf Rilla
The McGuffin by John Bowen
School for Love by Olivia Manning
Cannes by Iain Johnstone

Tuesday was meetup night, the third meetup in as many weeks. That meant the turnout wasn’t great, just me, MrPloppy, lytteltonwitch and rarsberry, but we had a pleasant evening anyway planning an expedition for the weekend, and shared a few books (Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier and Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult).

The rest of the week’s bookcrossing activities were mostly spending my evenings registering and labelling books. I’ve been trying to finally clear the backlog of books that have been sitting in boxes in the study waiting for me to get round to registering them, or, having been registered, waiting for me to properly label them so I can release them. As well as reducing the number of boxes lying around the study, having all the books all ready to go has made keeping up my steady stream of releases a lot easier:

Monday 9 June:
Twilight in Italy by DH Lawrence
Kate and Olivia by Annie Murray
The Rich Mrs Robinson by Winifred Beechey
The Bold Thing by Mark Daniel
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
Island by Aldous Huxley
Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper

Tuesday 10 June:
Pins by Andrew Neiderman
Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov
Stalking Point by Duncan Kyle
Hearts, Hands and Voices by Ian McDonald

Wednesday 11 June:
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
A Dry Spell by Susie Moloney
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Shorter Poems by William Wordsworth
Starvecrow Farm by Stanley Weyman
The Last Legends of Earth by AA Attanasio

Thursday 12 June:
Old Mortality by Sir Walter Scott
The Ambassadors by Henry James
The New Noah by Gerald Durrell
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
Life of Johnson by James Boswell
Female Playwrights of the Restoration edited by Paddy Lyons and Fidelis Morgan

Friday 13 June:
Danse Macabre by Frederic Mullally
Hancock by Freddie Hancock and David Nathan
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
Firebird by Mercedes Lackey
Catch Me a Colobus by Gerald Durrell
Beasts in my Bed by Jacquie Durrell (in a display of dog beds in the supermarket – one of those wonderful unplanned themed releases when I saw a release opportunity and realised I had the perfect book with me)
And a couple of spooky books released in the cemetery in honour of Friday the thirteenth: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

On Saturday I was running low on labelling supplies, so I decided to walk over to Northlands, and took a few books to release along the way:

The Doll and the Kitten by Dare Wright
What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry
Taboo by Elizabeth Gage
The Walpole Orange by Frank Muir (in the fruit section of the supermarket, of course)
Day of Infamy by Walter Lord
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (among the potted plants in the Warehouse)
The Body Lovers by Mickey Spillane (in Lush)
The 1973 Annual World’s Best SF edited by Donald A Wollheim
Dreams Die First by Harold Robbins
Guerilla in the Kitchen by Linda Grimsley
The Real Story by Mary Holm
Joby by Stan Barstow
The Strange, Familiar and Forgotten by Israel Rosenfield
What’s It All About by Michael Caine
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Love’s Cross Currents by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Bridge on the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle
The Small Assassin by Ray Bradbury
Roughing It by Mark Twain

Ok, more than a few 🙂 It was a lovely day, so I had a very enjoyable walk, detouring to several parks and other good release locations along the way. And the best thing about releasing books as you walk is that your bag gets lighter as you go along!

Then Sunday was our big expedition. Rarsberry and lytteltonwitch turned up at my place at 10 am, and we loaded my very heavy box of books into the car (there weren’t all that many books, really, it was just that I decided to take the opportunity to release all the big hardcovers that are too heavy to lug around when I’m walking) and headed north… well, northish. Our original plan was to head up into North Canterbury, because lytteltonwitch and I have gone south so often we’re starting to get a bit bored with it, but then lytteltonwitch lit on the idea of Lake Coleridge. Which is very slightly north of Christchurch, if you look at the map closely and squint a bit…

It was a wonderful day for expeditioning, and we had lots of laughs along the way, and of course stopped in every small town along the way to release books:

In West Melton, Compelled to Kill by Leonard Gribble and Are You Lonesome Tonight by Lucy de Barbin and Dary Matera.

In Kirwee, One Life by Christiaan Barnard, Marooned by Martin Caidin, Malafrena by Ursula K Le Guin, and Burr by Gore Vidal.

In Darfield, The Distant Lands by Julian Green, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, No Place for Men by Peter Mulgrew (in the women’s toilets, of course), Peter the Whaler by WHG Kingston, and The War Diaries by Jean-Paul Satre (on the war memorial).

In Hororata, lytteltonwitch showed us another of Canterbury’s hidden wonders, the Hororata Domain. It’s much like every other domain in Canterbury, except for the strange ornamental pond hidden among the trees:

Apparently it used to be a skating rink, but the winters don’t get cold enough any more for it to freeze over properly (who says global warming is a myth?), so they turned it into an ornamental pond instead. A strange thing to find in the domain of a small country town, anyway.

After releasing a few more books (The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell, Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, and The Complete Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant), we looked at the time and realised that we’d planned the logistics of the day badly, not having thought about where we’d have lunch. We were in a tiny town unlikely to have more than a dairy, and ahead of us on the map were only even smaller towns. The only thing for it seemed to be to head back to Darfield and buy some supplies in the supermarket so we could have a picnic at Lake Coleridge. But as we were about to turn back, we suddenly spotted a sign for the Hororata Cafe.

Anything was better than having to turn back, so we went in, and to our surprise it turned out to be a really lovely place, with great food. Who knew Hororata even had a cafe, let alone a good one??? And what was even better, the manager was totally bookcrossing-friendly (we discovered later that she knows MarcieNZ, and they’re even talking about setting up an OBCZ there) and not at all fazed by us dropping books all over her cafe 🙂 (Clues that Spelled Guilty by Leonard Gribble and The Big Shot by James Lee).

We spent a very pleasant hour or so lingering over our meals, teasing lytteltonwitch about her family business, and doing a bit of convention planning, then hit the road again. We ended up on a back road that bypassed the remaining small towns, but stopped at an information board in the middle of nowhere to release another few books (The Urmal in Space by Max Kruse).

Finally we reached Lake Coleridge, but to rarsberry and my shock there was no lake. There was a very nice river valley,

plenty of mountains,

and even some deer (which can be distinguished from lakes by the fact that they have more legs. Lakes only have arms.), but no lake.

It turns out that to get to the lake from the town misleadingly called Lake Coleridge, you have to drive 5 km over a mountain, on a very narrow, very winding, very steep dirt road. The views were worth it, though:

We released a few books on the lakefront (Agatha Christie’s Crime Collection), then headed back over the mountain to the township, to release more books (Tough Guys Don’t Dance by Norman Mailer, Fifth Planet by Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle, Washington DC by Gore Vidal, The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, ’80s Letters by Bob Jones (in the post office), and We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (in the toilets)), and fruitlessly search for a geocache, then it was time to head back to Christchurch.

This time we went via Glentunnel (The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, In the Name of Humanity by Alexander Thomsen and The Centaur by John Updike) and Coalgate (The Pit by Frank Norris). When we got to Darfield (His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), we detoured off to try and find Mothercat‘s letterbox to leave a book in it, but although we think we found the right house, her name wasn’t on the letterbox any more, so we didn’t leave a book after all.

One more stop, in Hornby, to pick up our traditional end-of-expedition KFC dinner (Circus by Alistair Maclean), which we ate back at my place. A long day, but lots of fun – and lots of books scattered around Canterbury!

Lots of releases have meant lots of catches again. Some from recent releases:

* The McGuffin by John Bowen was caught after the documentary screening.
* Pin by Andrew Neiderman, caught at the university by an enthusiastic new member.
* Twilight in Italy by DH Lawrence, caught by an anonymous finder.
* Clues and Suspects by Angela Wilkes – another new member
* Old Mortality by Walter Scott, which amazingly was caught by a descendant of the subject of the book!
* The Season by Bob Ellis – a catch from the books I released in Jellie Park with the film crew.
* Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad, caught by someone who’s been unsuccessfully hunting bookcrossing books for a while.
* What’s It All About? by Michael Caine – another catch from someone who’d already heard about bookcrossing.
* The Body Lovers by Mickey Spillane – caught by an enthusiastic new member who immediately PMed me to ask about meetups.

One from earlier in the year: The Eighth Commandment by Lawrence Sanders

And one from five years ago! Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh, now on its way to Germany.

Currently reading: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Currently listening to: Erewhon by Samuel Butler

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  1. You have a fabriccat! Kimi-cat had a fabric obsession. I had to resort to shutting him out of the room when I was cutting out fabric.

    I thought you were going to say Lake Coleridge had dried up! Instead it was only hiding 🙂

    Hmm, looks like we’ll have to allow enough time to watch your doco next time we’re down 🙂

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