When I saw my first Little Free Library in Spokane (I'd link you there but it's not listed), I thought it would be a dumping ground for the old Debbie Macomber* (not to slam the Yakima writer, she's just not my thing), but I was so wrong. Tim and I were living by Huckleberries and we walked by this ramshackle little box with a bent tin roof stuffed full of books without stopping to peek in for quite a while. Then we found this little treasure, and although that particular book did a lot more sitting on the coffee table than sitting in our hands, it did start our family love affair of Little Free Libraries. We have since found Geek Love, The Missing Piece**, Grandma Calls me Gigglepie, Square Foot Gardening***, and some poetry books I can't recall because I have a hard time remembering poetry books.
And the great thing is that it makes us want to do what you should do with great books--share them. Why do we hoard books the way we do? Although I sometimes like to imagine a world in which we are forced to live in some approximation of a post-apocalyptic Spokane (one where we still have electricity and running water), that is the only reason I can see for keeping so many books. That and a few for sentimental value. This has been a bone of contention in our house since my husband shipped over 6 boxes of books and brought still more in his car, when he moved in with me. He will tell you i am exaggerating. And I can't help but agree, because i have a tendency to exaggerate, like, all of the time. But there were a lot of books. And he's gotten rid of a ton of them since then, but we still have a lot. And, as book lovers, there are always more coming in.
Two Christmases ago I received and quickly read Karen Russell's Swampladia! and it's been sitting on my shelf, waiting for, what, I don't know. When I heard that the author's bold debut novel will be Spokane is Reading book****, I snagged it and brought it to the nearest LFL. And it was gone in no time! That is one of the best parts about the whole thing, is checking back and seeing that someone took your book and is going to read it! It makes me feel intimately connected to my neighborhood in a weirdly magical way. I think Tim is especially hooked on the high of seeing a poetry collection snagged because it must feel good to know that, somewhere, in walking distance even, there is a brain out there thinking about poetry. I like to imagine they will meet someday while he is out for a walk and say, "Oh, you're that guy who put Robert Bly in the Little Free Library?! Thank you!"
So, although I will be hanging onto Jane Eyre, my Alice Munro and Murukami collections and a few books that have significant sentimental value, the rest I will slowly put into these boxes. And I can't wait to do the same with Beckett. There is an effortless lesson in the wonders and excitement of sharing wrapped up in these tiny book houses.
*I did actually snag Harbor Street for my Nana last week,
**You can read The Missing Piece here.
***This is our favorite location--there's one dedicated to kid's books next door, which is where our Shel gold nugget came from!
****Karen Russell will be reading on September 16th in town during the day and at night. What a treasure! Go check it out.