Leave one, take one: the book exchange
During my travelling days in many hostels have I come across one nice idea: the book exchange, or book swap shelf. The rule is simple and permissive – you leave one, you take one. No matter which type it is, or what language. The advantage is that if you travel for a long time, you can read several good books without having to carry them all at the same time. Plus, if you get the chance of carrying around a thick book, you can even use it as a pillow during the long train or bus trips that are inherent when you are on the road in Europe! Just like the Alchemist ( Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemist”). The nice things that come with it are that you can find the most interesting books laying around in hostels in the most improbable countries: classics, philosophy, new age etc. You will find books with notes by other people and so, apart from the travellers you meet in the hostel you will be able to get in touch with peoples you never saw, but who read the same book as you. Just like the bottles thrown at sea, with messages inside, that may start you on a new adventure, like in “ The children of Captain Grant” ( Jules Verne).
So we have started a book exchange shelf in our hostel, since the beginning even. The picture you see here is of one of the books we have on our shelf right now. If you want it, you are welcome here to leave one and take this one; you are welcome to do that even if you stay in another hostel in Bucharest right now. The important thing is that the books move.
I’m saying this because lately, they haven’t moved as much.
At the beginning, the books on our book exchange shelf were changing rapidly but now, I hardly see people with books in the hostel. I don’t know why, is it that they don’t travel for so long? Or that they just want to carry what’s essential to them? Or because they want to visit places and meet people more than to read something? I’m not sure…Maybe I will start asking around, who knows.
But knowing that in the light of recent discoveries, brain cells CAN be regenerated, but only if you use them, I think I’m gonna start support reading. After all, what is travelling without using your brains?
And, last but not least, if there are “travelling pants”, why not “travelling books”?