Saturday, April 20, 2013

When giving is the gift. . . .

As often as there is talk that the e-book revolution will cause the demise of the actual book, that magical, hand-held kingdom that can be found between front and back covers, that might perhaps have a dust jacket and pages with deckled edges, there are clues that as a human race, we would never be so foolish. For instance, consider the advent of the “Little Free Libraries” that are springing up in neighborhoods around the world. From downtown streets to rural routes, these tiny book shelters house an assortment of books that
readers can’t keep but also can’t bear not to share. Near as I could discover, the trend began in 2010 and the goal was to have 2,510 little free libraries around the world, one more than Andrew Carnegie built. And now? Today? They are over 6,000 and the trend is still growing. So, while the publication of e-books and the readers to read them by has increased and continues to increase significantly, so does the proliferation of these small repositories that hold real books for those of us who can’t quite give up the desire for covers and printed pages to turn, a spine to balance against our drawn up knees, not to mention the lovely smell that is particular to an actual book.

I love the idea of these little libraries. They’re so significant, I think, of friendship and sharing and
community. Reading does that; it opens doors, it invites us to explore. It fires our minds and when your mind is on fire, can you keep it to yourself? I don’t think so. That’s what the little free library movement does. It gives us a chance to exchange books, which is like an exchange of ideas, which leads ultimately to greater compassion and understanding. At least, that’s what I like to believe.

So, recently, when my son David mentioned there was a Little Free Library in a Houston neighborhood where he once lived, and asked if I would like to donate a copy of EVIDENCE OF LIFE for it, I jumped at the opportunity. And I was thrilled when he took it there and then sent me this photo. Isn’t it cool?

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