Monday, December 17, 2007


Last year at this time, I was exploring my new hobby, knitting. I had great dreams of riding down the road, knitting in my lap, working my way from beginner projects to... who knows? Something soft, lovely, useful, something creative and loveable.

This photo documents the extent of my knitting. I think I ripped out and re-knit this same portion of "Project 1 - Scarf" about four times before I lost interest. Six months later, my mother thoughtfully relieved me of my yarn, my 16 dusty inches of knit scarf, and my various needles, books, patterns and other supplies. This past November, she presented me with the completed scarf (as pretty as I imagined, and way less dusty than when she received it) and I closed that chapter of my life.

Time to face it: I am not a "handwork" kinda' gal. I am not a knitter, or a beader... or a quilter, woodcarver, or balloon animal artist. Still, when the long, light, lovely days of summer begin to shrink, when "nightime" comes at 5 pm and the short, cold or wet "daytime" doesn't translate to outdoor fun, I wish I had a hobby (not counting the blog, of course).

Kiva is fun and rewarding and was consuming for quite awhile, until I had loaned all the money I could without jeopardizing our financial future or causing Odel to wonder why he was eating beans for dinner AGAIN this week. (By the way, several of our loans have been repaid and reloaned - very exciting.)

So, time to audition a new hobby. While I was considering the pros and cons of geocaching, I remembered reading, somewhere, some time ago, about a way of sharing books that intrigued me at the time. Couldn't remember the name, but I googled a few key words and up popped BookCrossing.

BookCrossing was launched in the USA in 2001. This now-global movement encourages people to read books, release them ‘into the wild’ and then follow their journey the BookCrossing website.

Prior to the book's release in a public place, it is registered on the website with a unique ID number (BCID) that allows finders/readers to make an entry so that the travels of the book can be tracked.

Now, this appeals to me on SO MANY levels! What a great combination of a little adventure, an international online community with a common interest, computers, reading, and the excitement of the "message in the bottle" - who knows when I will hear back from a book I registered and "released in the wild"?

I'm off to a good start. I immediately took the all-important first step of any hobby: BUY SUPPLIES. (Sometimes this turns out to be the most fun part of the hobby.) I bought labels for the inside front cover of the book, and blank labels that I can print with artwork available online (like the one shown here). I bought sticky notes and Sharpie pens to label the front cover with "FREE BOOK". I bought Bookcrossing bookmarks. I almost bought a t-shirt! I set up my new profile, AreWeThereYet, and created my virtual "bookshelf".

So far, I love it... the process of registering and labeling, thinking about where to release the books, semi-surreptiously leaving them behind, wondering about their fate. It is a mixture of planning, organization, and mystery that is enormously appealing to me. And, it cuts down on the excess weight in the motorhome, an ongoing challenge.

This time next year: still BookCrossing? We'll see.


  1. Wow! What an awesome idea!

  2. i for one hope you'll be reading and releasing books through bookcrossing for many years to come. i'm in my third year now and while not the fanatical releaser i was at the 1 year mark i sure am continuing to have a great time reading, releasing and occassionally (about 9% of the time) hearing back from a wild release that has been caught and journaled. welcome to a great community! tempestsans aka Sandy

  3. Laurie, try this for a hobby. While you practice vocabulary, the advertisers donate rice.

    My husband and I are Boomers, though we mostly lurk. I've learned about Kiva and BookCrossing from you. Enjoyed peeking at your blog from time to time and I'm just glad to know there are folks like you and Odell out there.