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Jacques Anatole François Thibault, AKA Anatole France, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921, once said “Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent to me.”
Seems like good advice, but advice I am incapable of heeding. I’m too attached to my books. I love them enough that I want to share them, and I want to get them back. It’s literary greed, and I know it.
Were I the altruist my noblest intentions persuade me to be, I would surrender my books to an interesting quest like that of Bookcrossing.com. It’s an attempt to allow anyone to share in the opulence that is a good book. The scheme is the take a good and trusted tome, label, place it in a public location, and log it in the site. Once the book is found the label therein will allow the finder to look up WHY it was left, and to potentially join in the organization.
It could be a fascinating chance to be exposed to new flavors of thought at a reasonable expense—ideally only to do the same for someone else in kind.
An interesting prospect, to be sure. But I have yet to get a firsthand testimonial of its benefits.