Meetup and Halloween releases

Our regular last Sunday of the month Breakfast Meetup was this morning. As usual, we met at Trattorie, where Libragirl has set up an OCZ. Not a huge turnout today, just me, Lytteltonwitch, her ex-husband (who’s acting as her chauffeur at the moment), and Awhina, but we had a nice breakfast, swapped a few books, and restocked the OCZ shelves with the ones none of us wanted. And the really good news is that lytteltonwitch has had the clearance to fly from her doctor, so she’ll be coming to Sydney after all!

She’s pretty limited with releasing books at the moment, though, because she’s not allowed to lift heavy weights (and it’s amazing how heavy a bag of books can get!), so she asked me to take a few ghost-themed kid’s books and release them for her, in honour of Halloween. She had them all labelled up, and in protective plastic bags, so I walked home through the park and left them on benches and in trees around the playground.

One of the books I got for myself at the meetup was Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach . It’s actually a bookring book, but I spotted it at Lytteltonwitch’s last weekend, and after flicking through a few pages, was immediately hooked, so she said I could read it before she sends it off to the next person. She finished reading it while she was in the hospital, and brought it along to the meetup today, along with a pre-addressed posting bag so I won’t forget to send it on to the next person :-)

Now, I’ve got a final exam for my university psyc paper on Tuesday, so I’d intended to spend the rest of the day studying. But when I got home from the meetup, I thought I’d just sit down and read a chapter of Stiff first, and then get into the serious study… yep, you guessed it: six hours later, I was still reading! The book was just so incredibly interesting, that I really couldn’t put it down. So, no study done, and finished reading the book in one sitting. Oh well, I can always do a bit of last-minute study tomorrow night…

Had some trick or treaters turn up at the door tonight for the first time ever. We don’t really do Halloween in New Zealand (though you wouldn’t know that from all the ads on TV – places like The Warehouse seem determined to get the tradition started here so they can sell costumes and lollies!), so of course we hadn’t prepared at all, and didn’t have any lollies or anything to give them. But I remembered some of the Americans talking on the forum about giving out books to trick or treaters, so I said to the kids “You can have a book if you like”, and to my utter surprise, they all said “Yes please!” and were really keen to get a book (I’m just too cynical, I think – I expect kids to turn up their noses at books, yet when I was that age, I would have reacted in exactly the same way!). So I brought out my box of ready to be released books, and let them pick one each. They were all very excited, and dug around in the box to find something they liked. Of course, I didn’t manage to see what they all picked, so I haven’t been able to make journal entries for the books saying where they’ve gone, but who cares – anything that gets kids keen on reading has got to be a good thing! And you never know, one of them might see the bookcrossing stickers and journal their book.

Currently reading: Potiki by Patricia Grace

Keeping in touch

A couple of days after I first joined Bookcrossing (8 February 2003), I got a PM from Mothercat, another Christchurch Bookcrosser, inviting me to a meetup the next evening. I was understandably a bit nervous about the idea, but she seemed friendly, and the group was meeting in a public place (a cafe in the centre of town), so I decided it seemed safe enough. Mothercat had told me to look out for a group of people carrying books, so I reasoned I’d be able to leave without introducing myself if I turned up and they all looked scarey or something :-)

Anyway, I arrived at the designated cafe, and it was shut. As I was standing outside, wondering what to do next, someone came up to me and asked if I was with the Bookcrossing group – he was another newbie who’d turned up to find the cafe closed. We stood chatting for a while, and eventually some more people appeared, all equally bemused about the shut cafe. It turned out that the meetup had been organised through Meetup.com, an American site, and whoever had submitted the venue to them hadn’t actually checked whether it was open in the evenings. In fact, nobody seemed to know who had actually submitted the venue details anyway – the whole Meetup.com system seemed to be rather random. We still managed to have our meetup, though – there was another cafe across the road which was open, and which had outside tables, so we could keep an eye out for other lost Bookcrossers.

The following month, the meetup was scheduled for a cafe in Sumner (for those of you who don’t know Christchurch, Sumner is a suburb way out on the beach, a long way from the city centre, and difficult to get to by public transport). At least this time the cafe was open, but again, nobody seemed to know who had picked such an inconvenient location. A few of the long-time Bookcrossers mentioned that they’d tried submitting better venues to Meetup.com, but they never seemed to be chosen. We agreed that we’d be better off just deciding for ourselves where to have our meetups, and ignoring Meetup.com altogether, but then there was the problem of letting everyone know where the meetup would be. Around this time, I mentioned that I had some free web space that I wasn’t using, and somehow managed to volunteer to set up a website for meeting announcements. And thus, the Christchurch Bookcrossers website was born. We abandoned Meetup.com, organised our own meetups, and haven’t looked back since.

Anyway, what brought all this to mind was that this morning I was checking my phone messages at work, and there was a message from a name and voice that sounded familiar – I was sure that it was WhiteRabbit, a Bookcrosser who’d been a regular at meetups when I first joined, but who hasn’t been active lately. I wasn’t entirely certain though, because I didn’t know her surname – even when Bookcrossers meet in person, we tend to use our screennames (mainly because that’s what we’re used to seeing in PMs and on the forums), so I have enough trouble remembering what everyone’s real first name is, let alone remembering their surname! And, of course, she didn’t know she was ringing FutureCat, because she didn’t know I worked here. Anyway, I rang her back, and got her answerphone, so after leaving a message about what she’d rung about, I said “By the way, is that the ***** who is known as WhiteRabbit? If you aren’t, then this won’t mean anything to you, but if you are, then I’m FutureCat – give me a ring.” And luckily for me (I had visions of a confused customer ringing my boss to complain!) it was her – she rang me back, and we caught up on the Bookcrossing gossip (she’s been busy with other stuff for the last few months, which is why she hasn’t been around), and she said she’ll try and make it to our December meetup.

Serendipity is a word that often comes up in relation to Bookcrossing (usually when the right book finds its way to the right person), and this seems to me like yet another instance of serendipity in action. At Lytteltonwitch’s on Saturday, we were discussing some of the Bookcrossers we haven’t seen for a while, and WhiteRabbit’s name came up. Three days later, she rings me. It’s all part of the Bookcrossing karma :-)

Currently reading: Keep It Simple, Stupid by Peter Goldsworthy.

An instant catch!

MrPloppy and I just came back from a walk to the supermarket to get some bread for lunch. There’s a park bench outside the supermarket, so when I go up there, I try to remember to take a book with me to release on the bench. I haven’t had a lot of catches from there, but I keep trying, because it’s such a potentially good spot – lots of people walking in and out of the supermarket are likely to see the book.

Anyway, the book I left there today was in one of the new zip-lock bags from the supply store, and seems pretty good evidence that they work. I left the book (The Red Balloon by Iela Mari) on the bench as we went in to the supermarket, and it was still there when we came out. We walked home, made some lunch, and I sat down at the computer to make release notes for the book. But before I had a chance, I got an email from Bookcrossing, telling me that one of my books had been found – yep, it was The Red Balloon. The finder didn’t like the book very much, but they’re going to release it back into the wild again, so maybe the next person to find it will like it more.

Some Bookcrossers get frustrated when their books get caught before they’ve done release notes, but I think it’s great – it’s better than the book languishing for months!!! And the best thing about this catch is that it was one of the books we got from Lytteltonwitch on Saturday, so she’ll get a catch notice on it too (when a book is journalled, everyone else who’s journalled that book gets an email) – and she’s probably in need of cheering up about now.

Currently reading: Keep It Simple, Stupid by Peter Goldsworthy. Neither a bookring book nor a NZ book, but it is by an Australian author, so I thought it might make a good themed release while I’m over there, so it was near the top of the TBR pile.

The best laid plans of diarists… (and the time zone saga)

I was going to post a short photo-essay of a release I just did, but my first attempt to log in to the HamiPiks site was unsuccessful (basically, it won’t let me past the terms and conditions page), and of course, Steve posted a message the other day saying that support requests won’t be answered until Tuesday, so not much I can do about it for now.

It wasn’t that exciting a release anyway, just a book dropped at a nearby bus stop, mainly to help out on the beta-testing of a tweak to the Bookcrossing database, but it was the first time I’d used one of the new release bags from the supply store, so I took a few photos, and thought I could write a diary entry on releasing a book. But that will just have to wait.

At least the database tweak seems to have worked, as far as I can see. The tweak being needed at all was partly my fault, so I thought I’d better help out on the testing :-)

OK, I suppose now you’re wondering what terrible thing I did to break the Bookcrossing database, but don’t worry, it’s really only indirectly my fault. When Bookcrossing was first set up, it was mainly Americans using it, so the database was set up to use the US Central time zone as “BC Time”. Which was fine, until us antipodeans got in on the act, and noticed that whenever we released a book, the date would usually come up as the day before (because America is around 20 hours behind New Zealand, so when it’s Sunday morning here, it’s still Saturday afternoon over there). This caused a lot of confusion, because some NZ and Australian bookcrossers would leave the date as it was, and others would adjust it to the “correct” time (but then the book wouldn’t show up on the Go Hunting pages until the next day, because the database would think it was a planned release that hadn’t happened yet), so anyone looking at the Go Hunting pages and seeing that a book had been released wouldn’t know whether it had just been released that day (in which case there would be a chance that it was still there, so it was worth looking for it), or if it had been sitting there for a whole day and had probably already been caught. Most of us “old-timers” used a work-around of noting the correct date in the release notes, but newbies were always getting confused by it, and it was a common question on the forums.

Anyway, eventually frustration built up enough that there was a concerted campaign on the Feature Request forum, and a thread started by Australian Bookcrosser newk asking for time zone support ended up with nearly 300 posts on it. I think non-antipodeans were getting sick of us constantly asking for time zones, but the squeaky wheel eventually got the grease, and the wonderful Bookcrossing support team (i.e. Ron and Dan) changed the database so that times were now not only shown as absolute BC-Time, but also as relative time (e.g. “two days ago”). After extensive beta testing, this feature was added to the main site, to the sound of much celebration from Down Under.

However, recently a problem arose with the database, which seemed to be caused by the extra effort taken by the database to calculate the relative times (which is how I can claim to have broken the Bookcrossing database, because I was one of the loudest voices calling for the time zones thing that caused all the problems… sorry everyone!). As a temporary fix, they removed some of the location details from the release notes (I don’t know why that fixed it, but it did), but that’s been the cause of a lot of complaints and confusion, because it looks really strange. Anyway, they announced today that they’ve found another way round the problem (by changing the way the release times are displayed), and are beta testing it before they put it up live. So, being a member of the beta team (not really the huge honour it sounds – the only requirement for getting on the team is to volunteer), I thought I should dash out and release a book, to check if the new system is working ok. So I did. And, like I said, I was going to also use the opportunity to write a bit about releasing books, complete with pretty pictures, but that will have to wait for the return of Steve.

Happy Bookcrossing anyway!

Currently reading: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

A garage full of books

No, not mine (although the house is getting close to overflowing, so that might be the next step!), but Lytteltonwitch’s. She’s been complaining for ages that her garage is so full of books that she can’t get her car in it, so this morning she invited a bunch of bookcrossers over for lunch, with the aim of all of us leaving with as many books as possible. In the end, only MrPloppy, ORNOT and I could make it (everyone else seems to be either busy studying for exams, or away for the long weekend), but we had a nice lunch, and then tackled the boxes of books.

She wasn’t joking about her garage being full of books – there must have been about 30 banana boxes of them in there! We worked our way through the boxes, picking out anything that looked good, or interesting, or fun to release, and managed between the three of us to remove two full boxes (ORNOT’s car was a bit sluggish on the way home, with all that weight in the back!). Some of them she’d already registered on Bookcrossing, so she’ll get quite a few catches from us (though she doesn’t really worry about the stats – I suppose when you’re already at the top, you don’t have to! 😉 ), but most she hadn’t had time to register, so I can see I’ll be busy over the next while getting my share registered and labelled up.

Oh, and good news – it looks like Lytteltonwitch is coming to Sydney after all! She’s still not 100% certain that she’ll make it, but she’s determined not to let anything get in the way, so I’m sure any remaining obstacles will be brushed aside.

When we got back and I’d made journal entries on the already registered books I got from Lytteltonwitch, I decided to tidy up my TBR shelves a bit (trying to make space for a few of the new acquisitions) – I am seriously going to have to learn to read faster! (or maybe I should just start being more choosy about which books I set aside to read before releasing… don’t see that happening, though – they all look so interesting!) Maybe if I spent less time on the computer…

Currently reading: Where’s Waari edited by Witi Ihimaera

A step closer to Sydney

My new passport has finally arrived (it’s really depressing when you realise your old passport expired a couple of years ago, but you didn’t notice, because you haven’t used it for so long!), so now I’m all ready for my Sydney trip. I’ve even gone and got some of the funny-coloured Monopoly money they use for cash over there (Money from other countries never looks entirely genuine, but I think Australian banknotes are the worst of all – they’re so brightly coloured, and completely unlikely looking :-) ), so all I have to do now is decide which books I’m taking with me. Good thing there’s still 4 weeks to go, because this could be a difficult decision – I can see myself weighing each book, trying to get the optimum number of books in under the 20kg limit (and is it better to take one really good hardcover book, or 2 or 3 not-as-good paperbacks…). I’ve also got to try and read some of those books first, too – which wouldn’t be that difficult a task, if it wasn’t for all those bookring books (finished another one last night, but I haven’t had time to write a journal entry on it yet), and there’s the minor little matter of exams coming up, so I really should be reading text books anyway…

Had a bit of bad news last night, though – Lytteltonwitch, the other Kiwi “delegate” to the BC-AUS conference (delegates only in the sense that we delegated ourselves to go and were willing to pay our own airfares etc – the BCNZ community doesn’t stretch to sending formal delegates!), might not be able to make it after all. She called to tell me she’s just found out she might have an unavoidable commitment here in Christchurch that weekend – she should know for certain by the end of this week, so we’ve both got our fingers crossed. It’ll be very disappointing for her if she can’t make it after all (especially because she’d already paid for her plane tickets!), but I’ve said if she can’t make it, I’ll take some of her books over and release them for her, so she can at least be there in spirit.

Oh, and welcome to my diary’s first friend!

What did I say about bookrings?

Another two bookring books showed up at the weekend: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris and The Meaning of it All by Richard Feynman. At this rate, I’m never going to get those NZ books read, so I’m breaking the ettiquette slightly and alternating reading a bookring book and then a NZ book off my TBR pile. I’m a fast enough reader that this shouldn’t hold up the bookrings for too long (I hope!) – and anyway, MrPloppy saw me open my mail and immediately pounced on the Feynman book (he’s a huge fan of Richard Feynman), so he’s unofficially added himself to the bookring and is going to read it before me (that’s another thing that the ettiquette says you shouldn’t really do – add extra people into a bookring without consulting with the organiser of the ring – but as the book would be just sitting on a shelf waiting for me to get to it anyway, it’s not like it’s holding the bookring up for any longer for MrPloppy to read it too, so hopefully nobody will mind too much).

Oh well, great example I’m setting here, aren’t I – only a few entries in this diary, and already I’m describing all the rules I’m breaking! Actually, there’s only a couple of real rules in Bookcrossing: “One Book, One BCID” (i.e. don’t give the same copy of a book more than one BCID (for obvious reasons!), and if you’ve got two copies of the same book, they should each get their own unique BCID), and a request from Ron (the Bookcrossing founder) that we don’t release books anywhere they’re likely to cause a security scare (this rule was implemented after someone left a book in a US airport, and they evacuated the entire airport because someone thought it might be a bomb! Luckily, NZ airport officials aren’t normally this paranoid…) However, as happens in any community, several unofficial rules of ettiquette have grown up around things like RABKs and bookrings – mostly common sense ideas like “journal the book as soon as you get it” and “don’t hold on to bookring books for too long”. TexasWren’s FAQs includes the most commonly accepted “rules”.

I haven’t been doing a lot of releasing lately, mainly because of other things in life keeping me busy, but also because in August I went down to Stewart Island and released loads of books on the way, and quite a few on the island itself (got a few catches too: my favourite is this one), which seriously diminished my pile of books ready for release, and because I’m now saving up books to take over to Sydney (I might have to weigh my bag carefully before leaving for the airport, because I think I’ll be pushing the 20kg limit, even though I’m only going for a weekend!!!), so every time I go to release a book, I think “this would be a great one to release in Sydney” and I put it back in the pile. But I did release a couple of books at the university on my way to work this morning. The university makes a great place for releasing books, because (a) the students all have internet access, and seem to be more receptive to the Bookcrossing idea (hey, free anything sounds good to students!), so you get some good catches; (b) it’s the best place to release non-fiction books where they’re most likely to find an appreciative reader; and (c) plenty of opportunity for themed releases! Today’s releases fit categories (b) and (c): House Without a Roof and The Penkovsky Papers, two books about communist Russia that I released in the Russian Department. With releases like that, I don’t really mind whether they actually get journalled, I just want them to go to someone who’ll they’ll be useful to – and the chances of that happening if I released them anywhere else are pretty slim.

Releasing a Hungry Caterpillar at KFC

Bet the title made you look! No, I haven’t been infesting fast food restaurants with larvae, but I did release the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle in the High Street KFC this afternoon – not my best themed release idea, but it just seemed to fit at the time.

I was going to release a few other books today, but it’s such a grey and rainy day that everyone in town was just rushing to get their shopping done and get home, so I didn’t think there’d be many people around who’d actually stop and look at a stray book long enough to see the “I’m not lost, I’m free” post-it on the front. Oh well, maybe next weekend…

I did manage to acquire a few more books though – I went into a couple of second hand bookshops and bought some books by NZ authors to take over to Sydney with me next month. I paid about $10 each for them, which is a lot more than I’d normally pay for a book for bookcrossing, but I wanted to select some good books for my Australian hosts, not just whatever happened to be in the bargain bin. I got:


It’ll be interesting to see what the Australians make of them :-)

This diary seems to be paying off, too – at least six people have clicked through to my Bookcrossing bookshelf from here in the last few days. I just hope some of you liked what you saw enough to want to join. Let’s make the whole world a library!

The Book-Labelling Production Line

A couple of weeks ago, Lyttletonwitch, who is New Zealand’s most active Bookcrosser (she’s registered an amazing 3,682 books, and released 2,785 of them!), offered me a couple of bags of random books that she was clearing out of her garage (she gets a lot of her books for free – they’re normally ones that have been donated to charity shops, but they either don’t have the storage & display space for, or aren’t in saleable condition (but with just a little bit of effort can be repaired), so the charity shops are happy for her to take them off their hands – as a result, she’s got boxes full of books cluttering her garage). She didn’t have time to register and release them all herself, so wondered if I’d like some. Of course, I jumped at the chance (Bookcrosser’s rule #1: never turn down free books), and have been working my way through the bags over the past week or so, slowly registering all the books.

The actual registration process doesn’t take all that long – in theory all you do is enter the ISBN into the Bookcrossing book registration page, which then searches the Amazon.com database for the book details (and sometimes even a cover picture). Of course, if that edition of the book isn’t available on Amazon.com (which is unfortunately common for non-US published books), then it won’t work, but if that happens you can always enter the details of title, author, etc yourself (although there is a neat little work-around if you really want the cover picture to show up: you go to Amazon.com and search for an American edition with the same cover, and copy the ISBN they have listed – et voila! instant cover picture on your book’s journal). You can then write the books’ first journal entry. If you’ve actually read the book, then this is your opportunity to write a review of it, but what if you haven’t read it? Well, it’s up to you. Some people like to type out the blurb from the back of the book, others copy and paste Amazon’s description, whereas I usually just say where I got the book from – I think it’s interesting to include what I know of the book’s pre-Bookcrossing history, especially if there’s an interesting bookplate or inscription in the front of the book. Once you’ve done all that (which really isn’t the long process I’m making it sound – once you get in the swing of things, it only takes about a minute per book), the Bookcrossing database generates a BCID for your book.

Just like writing the first journal entry, every Bookcrosser has their own style for labelling their books. I like to get the Bookcrossing URL and the BCID in as many places as possible, so that it’s impossible to miss. There’s not much space around my computer for writing out labels (why is it that computer desks seem to attract more clutter than any other place in your house?), so if I’ve got a lot of books to register, I do my labelling in a two-step process. First, I register each book and write the BCID inside the back cover. Then, once I’ve got a pile of books registered, I take them all through to the table, where I can work more comfortably (and watch TV at the same time!), and begin labelling. If the book needs any repairs, I’ll patch it up (my partner, MrPloppy, used to work in a library, so I’ve learnt lots of helpful book repair techniques from him) I copy the BCID from the back cover onto a label (I use the pre-printed labels from the supply store when I can afford them, otherwise I print my own), and add the date. Then I use my Bookcrossing stamp (also purchased from the supply store, but you could probably get one made up yourself with the Bookcrossing URL) and stamp the inside back cover under the BCID, and also stamp a couple of the inside pages (the white space at the end of a chapter is a good place), and write the BCID beside the stamp. This might seem like overkill, but I want to make sure that if the cover gets ripped off or something, then the BCID isn’t lost. Finally, I stick the label inside the front cover, and stick a little sticker saying “Free book – look inside” on the front cover (I designed these stickers myself, and usually print them onto coloured stickers so they show up well against the cover). And then I’m done.

Of course, you don’t need to go to such extreme lengths to label your books – many people are just content to write the BCID and a short note inside the front cover. But I want my books to go out into the world with as much chance as possible that I’ll hear back from them, and all the extra labelling does seem to help their chances of being caught and journalled.

The Perils of Mount TBR

One of the joys (and sometimes banes) of a Bookcrosser’s life is the TBR pile – that tottering stack of books waiting to be read before you send them off into the world (by the way, I’m not going to explain every bit of Bookcrossing terminology I mention in this diary – other people have done a much better job of that than I ever could (e.g. see TexasWren’s FAQ Page), and anyway, it interrupts the flow too much to keep stopping to explain everything. I’m sure you’ll pick it up as you go along.). It’s funny, but almost every Bookcrosser finds that soon after they’ve joined this organisation dedicated to giving away books, they’ve suddenly got more books than ever!

There are two reasons for this phenomenon. One is down to the generosity of other Bookcrossers: someone sees that you quite like the works of Author A, and offers to send you another book by them, or maybe even something by Author B, who has a similar style; or someone posts a message on the forums that they’re desperately searching for a Book X, which you just happen to have on your shelf – you send it off to them, and in gratitude, they send you another book back; or you go to a meetup, and someone’s brought along a huge pile of books to share, and despite your best intentions, half a dozen catch your eye and you just have to take them home to read…

And then there’s the second reason: you catch the releasing bug (warning, Bookcrossing is highly addictive, especially after you get that first catch), but you’ve stripped your shelves clear of everything you can bear to part with (I know what I said in my previous entry about books collecting dust, but there’s some books which are just special!). So you find yourself haunting second hand shops, school fairs, car boot sales… anywhere you might pick up some cheap books. And you discover a useful trick: the guy at the car boot sale who’s selling old paperbacks for $2 each is often quite happy to sell you the whole box of them for $20, despite the fact there might be 50 books in the box – he knows he’ll never sell them all individually, so he’s just happy to get them off his hands, and make a small profit on his entry fee for the sale. So you drag them home, sort through them, find the 10 or 12 you actually want to read, and the rest go straight into the pile ready to be released (after they’ve been registered and suitably labelled, of course). But in the meantime, you’ve got another 10 or 12 books to read… And then there’s new books. Not many Bookcrossers would go and buy a brand new book solely to release into the wild (who has that kind of money???), but you find yourself more willing to buy yourself a book by a new author, or try something a bit different, because always in the back of your mind is the thought, “well, if I don’t enjoy it, I can always Bookcross it”. And then, of course, there’s the books that are discussed on the forums, and sound so fascinating that you just have to go and buy a copy for yourself… This is the usual response given to authors and publishers worried that the Bookcrossing movement might reduce book sales – most Bookcrossers report that since they’ve started Bookcrossing, they’ve bought more new books than they used to, not less.

I actually have several TBR piles – the first, and largest, (in fact, “pile” is a bit of a misnomer, because it now takes up three shelves!) consists of books I’ve bought, and will eventually Bookcross, but want to read first; a second pile is made up of books that other Bookcrossers have given me (which I’ll try to read before the books in the first pile, because I don’t want to keep them out of circulation for too long); and sometimes there’s a temporary third pile, for bookring books.

The etiquette of bookrings says that you should try to read the book and pass it on to the next person as quickly as possible after receiving it. The Murphy’s Law of bookrings says that a bookring book will always turn up in your letterbox the day after you (a) just started reading a 1000-page epic, or (b) received several other bookring books. I’m seriously starting to think that bookring books must be herd animals who don’t like to be alone, because they always seem to arrive in groups, never just one at a time. At the moment I’ve got a pile of books by New Zealand authors that I’d really like to read before November, because I want to take them over to the convention in Sydney (time to introduce these Aussies to some culture! 😉 ), but every time I go to start reading one, a bookring book turns up that I have to give priority to. Last Thursday, Love and Vertigo by Hsu-Ming Teo (oops, hang on, that’s an Australian book – forget everything I said about the Aussies having no culture – it’s a good book!) turned up (while I was in the middle of reading another book, of course). I started reading it yesterday morning while waiting for the bus, and when I got home that evening, what did I find waiting for me but another bookring book: Sweet Dreams by Michael Frayn . So reading those NZ books will have to wait a bit longer…

Oh well, it’s the eternal cry of the Bookcrosser: “So many books, so little time!”