Photo: B. Alter
At a time when libraries are being closed down and the very future of the book is being questioned, let's give a cheer for the book swap. Organized by the UK newspaper, the Guardian, think of it as a generous act of recycling.
It's such a lovely idea. By sharing a favourite book with a stranger you are inviting them to take part in the enjoyment that you had as a reader. It's like a secret society; but instead of the handshake, it's a book share.
It's so simple... Leave a book that you love on a street corner, or in a restaurant or on a park bench. Put a sticker (above) inside it with a message. Take a picture of it and upload to the Guardian site. Maybe you will even get a message back from the new "owner" of the book.
At the same time, the Guardian is setting free 15,000 books. They have collected them from publishers and authors and are distributing them around the country for free. Books will be left in public places where readers are liable to chance upon them, from stations and coffee shops to galleries and museums.
Book swapping is not new. The comments section of the paper has a lively discussion about the many different programmes which are already alive and thriving. One disappointed commenter said "My only sadness is I have left books but never found one. So hope somebody in Wirral leaves one somewhere soon." Someone help her out.