(And just because I know you’re all thinking it, I’m not going to append “oh my” to the title! :-P)
Tonight’s the big coming out, when the film crew arrive to expose my secret identity. Ok, so the big coming out won’t actually be until whenever the documentary gets shown, which probably won’t be for months, but after tonight I can’t change my mind about it.
Actually, I’m less nervous about the coming out than about the whole being filmed thing – why on earth did I, who hates being in front of a camera, agree to this? I don’t even like being photographed, how am I ever going to cope with acting natural and talking coherently while there’s a TV camera pointed at me? I feel like I’ve been preparing for an oral exam – I keep studying up on the facts and figures of bookcrossing (oh no, what if she asks me how many books are in the wild? – better memorise that number too…) Of course, a more intelligent person would reason that with the magic of editing, they can cut out all the bits where I say “um, I don’t know” and go and look it up…
In all my fact checking, I did find one useful (and encouraging) statistic. One thing reporters (and newbies) always want to know is what the catch rate is. The standard answer has always been 10%, and the last time I checked (a couple of years ago), my catch rate was around there too, but I’ve noticed 20% quoted a few times lately. That seemed pretty high to me, so I thought I’d work out my stats again (it’s not as easy a calculation as it sounds, because although the number of catches you’ve had is displayed on your bookshelf, that figure includes catches from controlled releases. To work out your genuine wild catch rate, you basically have to go through your shelf and count them.) And to my immense surprise, my catch rate has gone up to 19.6%!!! It makes sense for it to have increased over time, I suppose, given that so many catches I get are for books I released years ago, but I’m amazed it’s increased that much. Nice to have some evidence that the bookcrossing concept actually works.
The other major preparation for tonight has been tidying the house, especially the study (where my computer is) and the spare room (where most of the bookcases are), because Scarlett said she wants to film me at my computer and in front of a bookcase. So I spent most of the weekend tidying up (while at the same time trying to make it look like I hadn’t spent the whole weekend obsessively tidying up – you know, the ever-so-casually placed bits and pieces lying around to prove that this is what it normally looks like, honestly :-)). The study wasn’t too bad, because despite normally looking like a bomb has hit it, it’s actually semi-organised chaos, so doesn’t take *that* much effort to straighten up. The spare room, on the other hand, took a lot of work. It was originally envisioned as a sun room, but has gradually evolved into a “throw all the junk you can’t decide what to do with into” room, so needed a lot of sorting out. And the bookcases I’m supposed to be filmed in front of were the literary equivalent of the room – over the years they’ve been the dumping ground for books that wouldn’t fit on other shelves, Mt TBR, textbooks, books I’d set aside to be released and then forgotten, books I hadn’t decided whether to release or not… until the books were stacked two-deep, with more piled on top.
So sorting that out was well overdue, and actually turned out to be quite a profitable exercise, because I found a few books I’d completely forgotten I had. I also decided to be ruthless with Mt TBR, and removed all the books that had been on it for years and I knew I’d never actually get round to reading, so my to-be-released box is now full to overflowing. And after the cleanup there’s enough room on the shelves for all the books again, so they look much tidier. I was tempted to let my inner snob come out and fill the shelves behind where I’ll be sitting with all the classics and “worthy” books from my collection, to look impressive on TV, but in the end honesty won out, and I left it as the random assortment that is my true reading style
The other excitement of the weekend was the Kimis coming to visit. They were down in Christchurch for the William Morris exhibition at the art gallery, and stopped off for dinner at our place on their way to the airport. They’re the ideal dinner guests, too, because they bring their own dinner – a huge feed of Thai takeaways (even if a large quantity ended up in Kimi’s lap instead of on our plates!). Ming was especially impressed, and was eating bamboo shoots with gusto (that cat gets weirder all the time!). A brief visit, but great to catch up with them again.
Having found all those releasable books, and with the good news about my stats, I’ve been inspired to do some releasing this week, so I’ve been popping a few books in my bag each morning to drop off on my way to work. Yesterday I released The Group by Mary McCarthy, Joking Apart by Alan Ayckbourn, The Social Behaviour of Monkeys by Thelma Rowell, Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice, and Iron Cage by Andre Norton, and today I’ve released Star Struck edited by Betty M Owen, The Assistant by Bernard Malamud, Evan Help Us by Rhys Bowen, and Parkinson’s Lore by Michael Parkinson. Plus of course I’ll be releasing a few more tonight for the cameras
Currently reading: Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Currently listening to: Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith
The more observant of you may have noticed I haven’t got any further with writing up the trip. Put that down to a bit of a relapse into depression, contributed to partly by sheer exhaustion after all that travelling, combined with normal post-holiday let down, but mostly by the general stress at work (more on that later in a locked post). I really do intend to write everything up soon, and have made a few false starts, but every time I sit down at the computer determined to get on with it this time, I run out of oomph and end up browsing random internet sites or playing Puzzle Pirates.
Anyway, on to more interesting things than me making yet another excuse for not blogging: I’m gonna be famous! Scarlett-CH, a film student at CPIT, is making a documentary about Bookcrossing and contacted me to ask if I’d like to be involved. Free publicity is always good, even if it is only on one of the little local channels that hardly anyone watches, so of course I said yes, but not without a little trepidation – after all, I’ve guarded my anonymity pretty closely, and while I’ve managed to get in the paper (Warning, that article is full of misquotes (or totally invented quotes!) and incorrect facts – the reporter wasn’t the best at note-taking. But she did I think do a good job of conveying the feel of bookcrossing) without revealing my secret identity, that’s not so easy on TV. Scarlett did say she could arrange an interview where they didn’t show my face, but the idea of appearing only in silhouette, with a computer-generated voice (I’ve got no idea if that’s what she intended, but it’s the image that immediately sprang to mind) seemed a bit over the top, as well as having a few too many connotations of criminality – not quite the image we want to portray of Bookcrossing.
There followed much soul-searching, about why exactly I value my anonymity so much (difficult to explain, even to myself – a lot of it just comes down to habit, the rest is a vague feeling of “what if the people I work with think I’m weird?), and the advantages and disadvantages of “coming out” (on the plus side, if I do have to start applying for jobs, being able to list all the voluntary work I do for Bookcrossing would look great on my CV – especially the convention organising stuff), and in the end, I realised that the issue has pretty much been decided for me, seeing as my photo has been plastered all over the internet in the course of this trip – it’s even in the latest bookcrossing newsletter! So hiding my face seems a bit pointless now.
So the upshot is, I told Scarlett that yes she could film me for the documentary, and use my real name. So she’s coming round next week with her film crew to interview me, and film me doing typical bookcrossery things – eek, I’d better tidy up the study!
In all the excitement of the last month, I haven’t reported on some great catches I’ve had recently:
The Taxidermist’s Dance by Richard Lunn travelled from Christchurch to Dunedin, and was caught by a librarian.
Adam Bede by George Eliot, released at the Richard Pearce memorial outside Temuka, was caught there by some tourists who’ve taken it back to Australia with them.
Stone Maiden by Pamela Townley, released two years ago at the Dunedin convention, has finally been caught, but has lost a few pages in its travels
Laws of Our Fathers by Scott Turow, caught and re-released at the university.
The Venetian Affair by Helen MacInnes, another book from our Easter expedition, caught in Albury.
Biggles Goes to War by WE Johns – another one from the Dunedin convention, caught two years later.
Death Wore a Diadem by Iona McGregor – caught at the university, and destined to travel to the US.
The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read – another catch from our Easter expedition! That was a very productive trip!
One by Richard Bach, caught by someone who really needed something nice to happen to them that day – this is the kind of journal entry that keeps me wild releasing.
Within the Bounds by Marc Lodge, caught in Christchurch and re-released in Santiago!
And one that’s not strictly my catch, because it was Pixette who originally released it into the wild, but is cool just because it’s now on its second wild catch, and is back in the wild again (interesting too for having four journallers but no release notes): Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
Currently reading: Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Currently listening to: Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith
Ok, I’ve been back long enough now that the jet lag has mostly worn off (I’ve managed to convince my body clock to sleep at normal times, but I haven’t quite adjusted back to normal meal times yet – I keep getting hungry at really weird times, then not be hungry when it’s actually time to eat), so I’ve got no excuse to not at least attempt to fill in some of the gaps in my trip blogging.
I’m suffering very much from where-do-I-start-itis, so I’ll take the easy way out and start with a summary of the trip, or at least of the books that passed through my hands (hey, it was a Bookcrossing World Tour, after all – books are the whole point! :-))
- Naughty Stories for Good Boys and Girls by Christopher Milne: given to libertine101
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach: released on a kangaroo statue. Although we saw a catch, not journalled yet.
- There She Blows by Sarah Ell (copy 1): another statue release
- The Riddle and the Knight by Giles Milton: released at the Perth meetup, and caught by KLL
- North Island/Te Ika a Maui by Susan Brierley (copy 1): Released in a Starbucks on Orchard Road
- Die Saga von Garth und Torian II by Wolfgang Hohlbein: found on the book exchange shelf in our hostel and labelled with a pre-numbered label
- Der Herr der zerstörten Seelen by Heinz G. Konsalik: found on the book exchange shelf in our hostel and labelled with a pre-numbered label
- Armon Enkelit by Michael Palmer: found on the book exchange shelf in our hostel and labelled with a pre-numbered label
- Os Dianc Rhai by Martin Davis: found on the book exchange shelf in our hostel and labelled with a pre-numbered label
- The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant: found on the book exchange shelf in our hostel and labelled with a pre-numbered label
- Riki the Royal Albatross Chick by Annie Baird: released in the Museum of Welsh Life in St Fagans
- Falling off the Map by Pico Iyer: released in an OBCZ in Cardiff
- Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat: caught in the OBCZ in Cardiff
Bath and Stonehenge
- Questions Kids Ask About Themselves: caught from KLL in Perth, and released on Royal Parade in Bath
- Stonehenge: The Secret of the Solstice by Terrence Meaden: a themed release at the Stonehenge visitors’ centre
- The Sayings of Dorothy Parker edited by ST Brownlow: released on a statue of Emeline Pankhurst, and caught by thyroidman from Canada, who I met later that night at the convention!
- The Big Book of Epic Fail by Aaron Williams: given to londonmet
- time of the salamander by Margaret Beere: added to the book buffet at the convention, and caught by
- A Woman in Green by Wensley Wilcox: also caught by jazz-ee2
- Oh! To be in England by HE Bates: added to the book buffet at the convention, and caught and re-released by lytteltonwitch
- North Island/Te Ika a Maui by Susan Brierley (copy 2): added to the book buffet at the convention, and caught and re-released by Katisha50
- There She Blows by Sarah Ell (copy 2): also caught and re-released by Katisha50
- North Island/Te Ika a Maui by Susan Brierley (copy 3): added to the book buffet at the convention, and caught by Aaltsje, from the Netherlands
- The Sayings of Oscar Wilde edited by Henry Russell: added to the book buffet at the convention, and caught and re-released by fuocoblu and liberliber, from Italy
- Aberyswyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce: added to the book buffet at the convention, and caught and re-released by newk
- Quirkology by Richard Wiseman: caught from libertine101 in Perth, and added to the book buffet at the convention, where it was caught by PDB11
- The London Embassy by Paul Theroux: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released outside the Oman Embassy
- A London Christmas by Marina Cantacuzino: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released outside the Imperial College
- Down on All Fours by Mark Tremlett: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released on a 4WD outside the Imperial College
- Let’s Meet on Platform 8 by Carole Matthews: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released on an underground platform
- Cuts by Malcolm Bradbury: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released in Kensington Gardens
- Green Grass by Raffaella Barker: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released in Kensington Gardens
- Wild Lavender by Belinda Alexandra: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released in Kensington Gardens, where it was caught by an anonymous finder from the Czech Republic, who subsequently joined
- Angels in Our Midst by Liesl Vasquez: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released at the Natural History Museum
- Kiss in the Hotel Joseph Conrad by Howard Norman: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and given to newk to release at his hotel
- Full Circle by Peter Straub: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released on a Circle Line underground platform
- National Trust Handbook 2007: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and passed on to lytteltonwitch for her travels
- A Backpack and a Bit of Luck by Zhang Su Li: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and currently reading
- A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and now on Mt TBR
- Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and now on Mt TBR
- English Passengers by Matthew Kneale: received from Molyneux at the convention, and now on Mt TBR
- Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult: received from rahar109 at the convention, and now on Mt TBR
- A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard: won in the raffle at the convention, and now on Mt TBR
- Der seltsame Bücherfreund by Gerard Hoffnung: the German cheat book (much more successful than Angel Fire East ever was – it’s been at the top of the stats for years now), signed and returned to Wyando at the convention
- En Blanc: the Spanish convention journal, signed and passed on at the convention
- The Joy of Reading by Cindy Chang: a geocaching travel bug spotted at convention, and returned to lytteltonwitch to continue its journey
- The Case of the Fagin File by Terrance Dicks: found in my goody bag at the convention, and left with lytteltonwitch to release when I was packing to leave and realised my bag would be too heavy
- The Lurker at the Threshold by HP Lovecraft: caught from the book buffet at the convention with a themed release in mind, but left with lytteltonwitch
- Victoria Line, Central Line by Maeve Binchy: caught from the book buffet at the convention with a themed release in mind, but left with lytteltonwitch
- A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller: caught from the book buffet at the convention with a themed release in mind, but left with lytteltonwitch
- Money Talks by Sherry Ashworth: caught from the book buffet at the convention with a themed release in mind, but left with lytteltonwitch, who released it in Greece, where it was caught by an anonymous finder
- Tell No One by Harlan Coban: caught during an icebreaker game at the convention, and left with lytteltonwitch
- Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey: I’m just assuming I left this one in London. I had intended to wild release it somewhere in the US, but when I got to Chicago I couldn’t find it in my suitcase. So it was probably one of the books I left with lytteltonwitch. Maybe.
- My Side of the Matter by Truman Capote: released at the Bilbao meetup
- Duende by Jason Webster: released at the Bilbao meetup
- One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Humans by Celia Hadden: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released at the Bilbao meetup, where it was caught by Shilmarien from Ireland
- El Libro de la Selva: caught from an OBCZ in Bilbao, and now on Mt TBR
- All That Fall by Samuel Beckett: released on a monument to Fermi
- Chicago Loop by Paul Theroux: a Chicago Loop themed release
- New York Quest by Judy Allen: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released at a travel agent in Chicago
- Cat Crazy edited by Heather Russell-Revesz: caught from the book buffet at the convention and given to mojosmom
- The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult: received from beckydore at the convention, and released at the Chicago meetup
- Gutsy Women by Marybeth Bond: received from mojosmom, and now on Mt TBR
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Babes From Outer Space by Linda Jaivin: caught from libertine101 in Perth, and given to princess1984
- The Night Crew by John Sandford: caught from MariGalant in Bilbao, and given to princess1984
- Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs: received from princess1984, and now on Mt TBR
- Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs: received from princess1984, and now on Mt TBR
- Friendship: The Four Musicians by Mary Rowitz: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released at the parliament buildings in Ottawa
- The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh: caught at the Chicago meetup, and released at the parliament buildings/li>
- Suess-isms: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released at the Canadian Museum of Civilisation in Quebec
- Very Bad Poetry edited by Kathryn and Ross Petras: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released at the Ottawa meetup, where it was caught by NunoCoelho
- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood: one of only two books I bought on this trip (well, I had to buy a book by my favourite Canadian author while in Canada!), now on Mt TBR
- The Amish Landscape by Robert Holman: a Pennsylvanian-themed release
- America the Beautiful by Moon Unit Zappa: caught from the book buffet at the convention and released in the world’s largest frying pan (which I think illustrates perfectly everything I loved about America!) in North Carolina
- Sauerkraut and Enterprise by Edna Staebler: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and passed on to otakuu
- Bonk by Mary Roach: the other book I succumbed to temptation over and bought
- Summer of the Sea Monster by Raymond Coutu: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released in the Market in Charleston
- Small Acts of Kindness by James Vollbracht: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released on a fountain in Charleston
- Made in America by Peter Maas: I’d brought this from NZ intending to wild release it somewhere in the US (a whole country for a themed release!), but at the Charleston meetup Rebekkila asked if I had any books that had travelled from NZ, so I gave it to her instead.
- Same Difference edited by Simon Puttock: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released at the Charleston meetup, where it was caught by Rebekkila
- Soft Voices Whispering by Adrienne Dines: caught at the Charleston meetup
- Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier: caught at the Charleston meetup, and now on Mt TBR
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: caught at the Charleston meetup, and currently reading
- Summer of the Sea Monster by Raymond Coutu: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released on the Battery in Charleston
- Children on Happiness by David Heller: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released at the Texas Rangers ballpark, where it was caught by an anonymous finder
- Corrie Ten Boom by Kjersti Hoff Baez: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and passed on to otakuu to release at the ballpark
- Sickened by Julie Gregory: caught from KLL in Perth, and released at the Fort Worth meetup, where it was caught by BethanieKay
- Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg: caught from koolmotor in Perth, and released at the Fort Worth meetup, where it was caught by BethanieKay
- The Black Stallion’s Filly by Walter Farley: found in my goody bag at the convention, and released at Panera Breads in Arlington
- Silver Skates: Face the Music by Barbara J Mumma: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released at Panera Breads in Arlington
- Eat Dessert First: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released at Panera Breads in Arlington
- Wildcat by Wayne Barton and Stan Williams: a Texas-themed release at the Fort Worth stockyards
- Welcome to Higby by Mark Dunn: received from dustyflint
- Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn: caught from buffra on our road trip, and released at the Oahu meetup
- Neurotica by Sue Margolis: caught at the Fort Worth meetup and released at the Oahu meetup
- It’s a Dog and Cat World by Randy Evert and Jack Lindstrom: sent to me in Chicago by TexasWren, and released at Iolani Palace
- The Wooden Horse by Geraldine McCaughrean and Tony Ross: caught from the book buffet at the convention, and released while wandering around Kailua
- The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton by Larry Niven: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released while wandering around Kailua
- Flight 116 is Down by Caroline B Cooney: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released while wandering around Kailua
- Northern Edge by Barbara Quick: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released while wandering around Kailua
- King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released while wandering around Kailua
- Easy Rider by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released while wandering around Kailua
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released while wandering around Kailua
- Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult: caught at the Oahu meetup, and now on Mt TBR
- Fluke by Christopher Moore: caught at the Oahu meetup, and now on Mt TBR
- Behold the Many by Lois Ann Yamanaka: caught at the Oahu meetup, and now on Mt TBR
- Blu’s Hanging by Lois Ann Yamanaka: caught at the Oahu meetup, and now on Mt TBR
- The Adventures of Odysseus by Geraldine McCaughrean and Tony Ross: caught from the book buffet at the convention and released at the Sydney meetup, where it was caught by wombles
- Stanley, Flat Again by Jeff Brown: caught at the Oahu meetup, and released at the Sydney meetup, where it was caught by Littlemave
- Dogs are from Pluto, Cats are from Uranus by Scott Wilson: caught at the Sydney meetup
- Flatmates by Chris Manby: caught at the Sydney meetup
- The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden: caught at the Sydney meetup, and now on Mt TBR
- The Messiah(musical score) by Handel: received from Littlemaeve for Alithia
- Byron: Poetical Works edited by Frederick Page: received from Littlemaeve for Alithia
- Henry James: Letters 1843-1875 edited by Leon Edel: received from Littlemaeve for Alithia
Ok, that took much longer than I expected, so I don’t think I’ll be organising my photos today…
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..
Well, I’ve been to my first ever ball game, and it was great fun. I think there was some sort of sport being played on the field, but I was more fascinated by all the other stuff going on, in the crowd, on the screens, and on the field when the players weren’t. There was a horse-headed mascot who catapulted t-shirts into the crowd, a race between coloured dots, children winning prizes for looking slightly stunned on the big screen, the national anthem (and yes, just about everyone in the crowd did do that hand on heart thing!), players throwing hissy fits, fireworks and streamers, exhortations to random couples in the crowd to kiss, cheesy organ music, “We heart (player of choice)” banners, and of course lots of hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, and cotton candy (all of which we had to sample to ensure we were getting the full ball game experience). We had our photo taken by the official photographer (apparently we’ll be able to see it on some website somewhere), attempted to vote for player of the year or something (except I managed to lose the voting form somewhere between our highly scientific selection process (picking all the players with the silliest names) and the usher coming back to collect them), sang along to “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, and generally had a great time.
Ok, for those who insist on knowing such things, it was the Texas Rangers playing the Kansas City somethingorothers (Royals?), and Texas won. Otakuu (who used to play softball so understood all the words Turbostitcher was using) can probably tell you more than that. All I know is someone got a home run, because that’s why the fireworks went off.
And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re in Texas