If you are the kind of person who can't pass a bookstore without popping in, or you can't walk past a pile of books without having to look at the titles, you are a confirmed lover of books and reading, and you will totally get this post, if not...
I recently read an article by the author Laura Lippman who had trouble with her ever expanding collection of books. When she was younger she felt like people looked at the titles of books in your home and judged you by what you read. She kept those books which seemed to define her as especially educated and interesting in the living room for all to see.
One day she realized that she owned four categories of books:
-books she had read and may one day reread
-those she had not read but hoped to
-those she had read but was never going to reread
-those she was never going to read
She knew she had to do something about her obssession with books and she started creating a Mystery Box. It contained a very random collection of 12 books that she would give away monthly. A photo of the box is posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Everyone who shares the post is entered into a lottery to win the box. Since she began this lotto in April 2017, Mystery Boxes have been shipped to destinations as close as her own hometown and as far away as Indonesia. To date, she have sent out almost 200 books for “adoption.”
And while she thought the early boxes would be the best, she realized that the deeper she went into her shelves, the more likely she was to select books she sincerely loves. She realized that the type of novel that she needed in her 30s doesn’t speak to her now so it doesn't need to be kept, but should be shared.
Each recipient of the Mystery Box receives a letter saying the books are theirs to do with as they please but asking that the contents never be revealed on social media. In part, that’s because some writers might infer insult. But it’s also because she likes to think that the Mystery Box should be, well, a mystery. To reveal the titles would be a kind of humblebrag. Oh, look at the caliber of what I’m giving away—can you imagine what I keep?
It wasn’t her books that defined her, that shaped the writer she had become, it was what was in them—and what is now in her. We retain from books what we need to retain, usually one perfect image or a dazzling passage. Books deserve to be read, not preserved on shelves where they won’t be cracked open again in one’s lifetime.
There is also a movement called Books in the Wild where you leave a book on a park bench, on a train, wherever, with a note saying that you were setting it free for another person to have. If you love books, you must share them. I try to share my books with others and I will try to get even better. What better way to acknowledge what a book means to you than to give it to another person to enjoy!
Source: Excerpt from article written by author Laura Lippman