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bookcrossing | utter randomonium

Tag Archives: bookcrossing


My sister suggested I write about how I got into Markeroni and what I like about snarfing*.

I think we can safely blame Cookie for this one. :) Actually, I’d known about Markeroni for years before joining, as its founder is a BookCrosser. As part of a BookCrossing-related fundraising effort, she ran a pretty good sale on her book, a travelogue about her solo motorcycle trip to the 2005 BookCrossing Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. In it she includes a few side trips to visit historical markers. In early 2009, Cookie joined the annual history release challenge and invited the rest of us to join her.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea why I signed up. I didn’t participate in the release challenge and the kind of history printed on roadside signs doesn’t interest me much. Looking back, I suspect it was just another excuse to hang out with my buddies. It also opened up new wild release opportunities and excuses to visit new places – and a little friendly competition with a good friend.

These days I use it as a way to satisfy my wanderlust. I’ve been known to just pick a town and make a snarf map for it. Were it not for Markeroni I would have never thought to visit places like Waterford or the African American Civil War Museum. When I get a cabin fever my husband will actually suggest I go snarfing, because he knows that getting out of the house would be good for me, but only if I’m actually doing something. One of these days I want to combine Markeroni with SketchCrawl but I haven’t figured out how to make that work yet. Maybe I need somewhere with a bunch of markers within easy walking distance of each other. Maybe I’ll try it out when I’m in Asheville, North Carolina this autumn.

*Snarf, by the way, is a rather complicated word: as a noun, it means the actual visit to a historical landmark. As a verb, it is the act of hunting for these landmarks. My friends and I also refer to the landmark itself as a snarf.

Convention 2011 registration price increases on Jan 1!

The Early Bird Rate for the 2011 BookCrossing Convention registration expires as the clock ticks over into the new year! That’s just under two weeks away. We are on Eastern Standard Time here in D.C. and so that is when the change will become effective.

If you would like to qualify for the lower $150 rate you must do 2 things:

  1. You must submit your registration form BEFORE the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2010 EST. (That’s when the ball falls in Times Square.)
  2. You must submit payment within 3 business days. That means that your PayPal transaction must be submitted or your check postmarked by Wednesday, January 5, 2011. If you cannot make this deadline then please send the regular convention fee amount of $175.

There are some special deals available now on the website: http://tinyurl.com/bcindcdeals. In order to qualify you must submit your PayPal payment or postmark your check within 3 business days of submitting your registration form. Don’t get disqualified from some great deals by procrastinating on sending in the payment.

(Please note: if you submitted your forms prior to December 1 and you have already paid, you will be grandfathered in and are qualified for promotions regardless of the length of time it took you to pay).

What are you waiting for? We want to see YOU at the convention in April, so register today! http://tinyurl.com/bcindcregistration

Busy Busy Weekend

This coming Saturday, September 25, is the annual National Book Festival, put on by the Library of Congress on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., each September. It’s tons of fun and every year they attract loads of marvelous authors. This year’s line-up includes Elizabeth Kostova, Suzanne Collins, Katherine Paterson, and so many others. In addition, they’re reprising their Pavilion of the States, where the public library systems from every state and territory have tables and information (and free stuff).

On top of all this fun, that day is also the annual cross-site meet-up for BookCrossing and LibraryThing, many of whom are members of both sites. We’re meeting at 2:00 PM on the steps of the Natural History Museum. It’s always a great time with lots of chatter and laughter. Please join us!

I, however, will not be attending this great yearly event. I will be off in Pennsylvania at the Celtic Classic. We used to go every year, but it’s been a while. (I think the last time we went was in 2006.) It’s a gigantic free Celtic music and games festival. It’s full of bands, games, parades, dancing, competitions, and other entertainment, and best of all it’s free admission. I’m really looking forward to it.

By the by, if neither of those are your bag, the Maryland Renaissance Festival is still open every weekend till late October. Go ye, and be merry!

Booking Through Thursday – Disaster!

You’ve just dropped your favorite, out-of-print book into a bathtub, ruining it completely … What do you do now?

Whine. Post on the BookCrossing forums about it. Then pop onto AbeBooks and see about finding another copy.

One time my cat urinated on my backpack, utterly destroying the book I was currently reading. But then, it was The Da Vinci Code, so she may have just been commenting on my taste in literature.

BookCrossing Convention, April 15-17, 2011

You may have noticed that I’m a member of BookCrossing. (How you would have missed it I’m not sure.) BookCrossing has an International Anniversary Convention every year on the weekend nearest its birthday (April 17) and in 2011 it’s going to be here in Washington, DC.

It’s going to be awesome.

First off, you really have to check out the BC in DC website because it’s gorgeous. Kate’s done such an amazing job.

Second, we’re holding an auction to help raise funds for the convention in order to keep registration fees down.

There are eight themed boxes in all, with bidding open for two weeks each. I’m sure some of my friends would be interested in the Harry Potter box, the Books to Movies box, or the Cooking box. There are a few I’m thinking of bidding on as gifts for other people. You don’t have to be a BookCrosser to win. And if you’re local or I’ll be seeing you in person, you don’t even have to pay shipping – I’ll bring it to you.

In related news, we are collecting Choose Your Own Adventure-type books. They don’t have to be that specific brand and they don’t even have to be children’s books – just the CYOA style. If you come across any at thrift stores or yard sales, please send them our way:

BCinDC c/o Kate McDevitt
P.O. Box 343
Fairfax Station, VA 22039

(Or you can send them to me if you’d prefer. Either way is fine.)

I am so excited about this convention, I can’t even tell you. Even if you can’t attend or donate or bid in the auction, I’d really appreciate it if you helped spread the word. Link, Digg, Stumble, Tweet, or whatever – just please tell your friends. It’s going to be so much fun.

BookCrossing Through Middle-Earth by Skyring

BookCrossing Through Middle-Earth by Skyring: A memoir about two trips to New Zealand, twenty years apart: first for Skyring’s honeymoon, then another trip with his wife and two teenage children. This is a fun and friendly narrative, with plenty of rich detail. I especially enjoyed the little historical anecdotes, like the toilets on ships and the Maori’s sound defeat of the British. Skyring’s side comments, particularly when dealing with language, are often quite funny. (One such example: his assurance that Wakatipu is not widely pronounced “Wakkity-poo”, especially by locals.) As an American, Australia and New Zealand are quite closely connected in my mind, but Skyring’s adventures reminded me that they are indeed two separate countries. However, amidst all the humor, there is no mistaking Skyring’s abundant awe and respect for the beautiful land and people he encounters. I nearly salivated at some of the scenery he describes. I would recommend this thin book to other BookCrossers, of course, but also to anyone who enjoys travelogues. This certainly whetted my appetite for New Zealand.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Brief Hiatus II

I’m off to Amsterdam to attend the 2010 BookCrossing Convention. I’ll probably have at least intermittent email access, but I won’t be doing any blogging while I’m there.

And before you ask: no, I’m not concerned about robbers seeing this because (1) you don’t know where I live, (2) my dear husband will be home the whole time, and (3) I don’t own anything worth stealing. Well, unless you count all the tons of books I give away for free. :P

Weekly Geeks

WG 2009-39 is about book recommendations. To be perfectly honest, most of the book recommendations I follow come in the form of books literally shoved into my hands by fellow BC in DC members. We get passionate sometimes, and more than once I’ve shown passing interest in a book, only to get a glowing “OMG you must read this”-style exclamation from whoever brought it. More often than not, I give it a try. And am rarely disappointed. I’ve come across several great authors this way, including Simon Singh, Neil Gaiman, and Catherine M. Petrini. Basically if a book looks interesting, regardless of genre, I’ll give it a shot.

Sometimes the books I read are a random find, such as the infrequent occasion when I catch a BookCrossing book in the wild, or if I happen to win it in a contest. I usually have a large number of to-be-read (TBR) books on my shelves, so it is rare indeed for me to finish my current book and have to go searching for something else to read. If I do, though, there’s always The Book Seer, Literature-Map, and Debbie’s Idea, all of which are fine tools for discovering new books and authors.

The official assignment this week involves reader participation. Since the vast majority of my readership exists solely in my head, I may have to play music to drown out the crickets, but hey, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. But anyway. The assignment is to ask for recommendations, and give my own, both within a single genre. So I’m going to choose science fiction/fantasy (SFF) as my genre. Some people may protest and tell me that’s two genres, but I beg to differ. First, several popular authors write books that are difficult to categorize as one or the other (e.g., Anne McCaffrey and Christopher Stasheff), and as Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

First off, I’d love to hear your recommendations. I don’t mean stuff that necessarily aligns with my established tastes, I mean great SFF books in general. What are some titles/authors I simply should not miss?

And now for my recommendations, again in SFF. The WG page suggests I start with something like “If you’re looking for…” which could just mean narrowing it down by genre, but I’m going to narrow it down a little further. So here goes:

If you’re looking for a rowdy yarn set in the far future… Mike Resnick is your man. Most of his books are set within the future chronology laid out in Birthright: The Book of Man, but my personal favorites are Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future and the Penelope Bailey trilogy.

If you’re looking for a beautiful fairy tale… then march right up to Neil Gaiman and Stardust. This is one of the few books I’ve kept and intend to reread. I hear Neverwhere is his best novel, but I haven’t read it yet (though I do have a copy on my shelf).

If you’re looking for a powerful tale of children in an adult world… I cannot recommend Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card highly enough.

If you’re looking for hilarious satire in the guise of SFF… then you want definitely to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

If you’re looking for time travel… The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is your best bet. There are other notables in this sub-genre, but Wells tops them all IMHO.

If you’re looking for good YA SFF… I really enjoyed the Borderlands books, especially Elsewhere and its sequel Never Never by Will Shetterly.

If you’re looking for great concept stories… Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov are all excellent choices for expanding your horizons.

And finally, if you’re looking for mythology in the modern world… you’re sure to get a kick out of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.

So there you have it.  I’m sure I’ll missed a bunch, but this is a good start.  What glaring omissions do you spot on this page? Have you read any of these?  What did you think of them?

Most importantly: enjoy! :)

Extra Festive Saturday

If you’re in the Washington, DC, metro area this coming Saturday, there are plenty of things to do. Fall for the Book in Fairfax is winding down and the Maryland Renaissance Festival is in full swing. The Baltimore Book Festival is this weekend, conflicting as it does every year with the National Book Festival in DC. My local BookCrossing group will be cavorting around the National Mall, handing out books. Heck, even my home town is having its annual festival on Saturday.

But I’m not going to any of it. My husband and I will be at the Small Press Expo, geeking out on indie comics. And I can’t wait.

We might also stop by Horrorfind Weekend on Sunday, but that’s still up in the air. Either way it’ll be fun times.

BookCrossing in the Washington Post

In This Club, Books Free to a Good Roam: A lovely article in the Washington Post from this past Tuesday (11 August 2009). BookCrossing shows up in the international media on a fairly regular basis, but this one is special because it’s about my local group, BC in DC. I wasn’t mentioned by name, alas, but I did meet with Ms. Ianzito. The woman in the photograph is our own crrcookie, one of the most prolific (and most organized) BookCrossers I’ve ever met.

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