It was in high spirits that Shanghaiist joined BookCrossing last week. After all, we love to read, we dig the ra-ra-sharing spirit of the movement, and we have participated (happily and successfully) in other yay-serendipity collectives.
In a nutshell, the BookCrossing concept works as follows: people are encouraged to “release” their books “into the wild”. Each book is tagged with an ID and subsequent folk that pick up these branded titles are referred to the site, whereby they write comments on the book after they read it. The idea is that—fingers crossed!—the finder of the book will then release the book and restart the cycle of anonymous gifting. BookCrossing’s ultimate goal, as stated on its website, is “to turn the whole world into a library.” Nifty, eh?
Yeah, we thought so too. After failing miserably in our attempts to track down three wish-list books, however, we started having our doubts. But we’re hoping for our luck to turn this weekend. The Figaro Coffee Company (Xintiandi location) is hosting the December edition of the monthly BookCrossing meet-up this Saturday. The java joint is one of the city’s two Official BookCrossing Zones, meaning that it houses a bookshelf that is always stocked with titles for the taking. Yes, that’s right, for the taking. As in for free. No strings attached.
Indeed, the movement is gaining momentum worldwide and Shanghai, boasting 670 registered members (here is their Yahoo! Groups page), is the most active BookCrossing city in Asia. Saturday’s event will see bookworms from all over the city—typically one to two dozen—lugging their literary treasures to Figaro for a swap and shmooze. Newcomers are welcome, and there is no pressure to bring anything, though additions are always appreciated. (A little birdie told Shanghaiist that a certain Kazuo Ishiguro title will be released this day. Dibs!)
For those seeking a more traditional book club, the City Weekend one is also holding its monthly meet-up this Sunday at Figaro. Fresh faces are encouraged, and you needn’t have read this month’s title to participate—though, for the record, the discussion will centre around PD James‘ The Lighthouse.
Why not while away your Saturday (and perhaps Sunday) afternoon at Figaro? Treat yourself to a cup o’ joe—the baristas make some mean espresso drinks—and enjoy the company of books and their admirers.
Figaro Coffee Company. 160 Xin Ye Lu, near Madang Lu, in Xintiandi. Tel: 63747242.
The BookCrossing meet is taking place Saturday, December 9, from 2-3 pm.
The City Weekend Book Club will meet Sunday, December 10, from 4-5 pm. (If you can’t make December’s, upcoming 2007 events include discussions on MG Sheftall‘s Blossoms in the Wind on January 14, and on Thomas Friedman The World is Flat on February 11.)