The little (free) book shed
I walk frequently for exercise and fresh air on the campus of my alma mater, Eastern Mennonite University. One day I spied something new next to a bus stop.
It was a little shed for books. So cute! Such a perfect and great idea, I wonder who thought of it. Maybe this will help me find out.
An instantly accessible and amazingly trusting little library. With no due date.
Anyone can take or give a book. You can keep it as long as you like and return it or bring other books you no longer want on your own shelves.
It. Is. So. Cute. I just had to write about it.
I wonder if there are more around campus or town? Or have you ever seen anything like this near where you live?
So far I have taken three books, returned one, and put in four or five myself. I get lots of free books as a syndicated columnist, sent for possible review. A new home for the titles I can’t give away at the office.
The first book I took was a disappointment, so I took it back after a few weeks.
My favorite book so far, is an absolutely stunningly written story, Abel’s Island by William Steig, with drawings. It’s stamped as removed from the Moorefield (WV) High School Library, so maybe it shows up on high school English class reading lists, but it is a great book to read to younger children. It received the 1970 Caldecott Medal and Newberry Award.
Just one sentence gives a little of the great literary style of the writer:
“Heaven knows how far he was hustled in this manner, or how many rocks he caromed off on his way.”
The plot revolves around a mouse who gets swept away from a picnic in a rain storm to an island, away from his beloved wife, Amanda, and how he tries, and tries, and tries to escape and return home.
That the writer can make you care so much for a little mouse, a little guy who would send shivers up most of our spines if we happen to see him darting through the kitchen or a corner of the basement, is a testament to the power of good fiction. You can read a sample (and even hear a great long! excerpt here.)
A book I’m reading now, that I would never never never have found or ordered anywhere else, is an obscure older book from the 50s written about the “Bushmen” of of the Kalahari desert in Botswana and South-West Africa by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas called The Harmless People. I’m always fascinated by the idea that there are people on this planet who live without all of the “necessities” of modern life and have no electricity, running water, cell service, and don’t know or care that Obama is President of the U.S. So even though the book describes that culture as written in 1958, I have no doubt that there are still people living much as the author describes from her time living among the Bushmen.
A blurb from Amazon: “Her account of these nomadic hunter-gatherers, whose way of life had remained unchanged for thousands of years, is a ground-breaking work of anthropology, remarkable not only for its scholarship but for its novelistic grasp of character.”
Books can help you travel the world—or just inside the marvelous imagination of another writer or illustrator. Like the sign says, “just slide back the bolt on the door.” Your mind can be opened to new experiences, thoughts, places, dreams.
And now I can get a free trip anytime I pop by the little book shed. Looks like something my husband could have come up with.
Thank you, creative minds.
Do you have a source for free or very low cost books?
(I mean of course besides your local library, duh.)
I also like to visit the local Booksavers shop just a short walk away, where I can get rid of or buy books cheap (and the money goes to support the world wide relief and development efforts of Mennonite Central Committee); but anyone can hop into the Booksavers online store here.