I've always tried to share my love of reading. How could I not practically scream at people to read Stranger in a Strange Land, The Shining, Boy's Life, Ghost Story, or Crazy Love?

It can be annoying, I know. Most people don't care how good a book may be. They do not have the patience or the mental endurance to read a book. It's easier to binge watch some crap or zombie out to video games. Giving books to people isn't always the best idea. Unwanted gifts are usually more awkward than appreciated.

We found a great solution: A Little Free Library.

I have been using Little Free Libraries for years now. One in particular, at a local nature center, has been a favorite. My wife and I have put dozens of books in, and I like to imagine who gets them.

My wife, Clara, is a librarian, so the love of sharing books is strong in our family. I can't remember which of us seriously suggested starting a Little Free Library, but we took the plunge a couple of months ago. I purchased a pre-built Little Free Library from the organization, and dug a hole and set it in cement. We registered the library and waited.

As expected things started off slowly. The first books to go were children's titles and some chick lit. Gradually things began to pick up.

We have a classic science fiction aficionado in the area. I put a hardcover of Heinlein's Friday in the library, and it went fairly quickly. Presumably the same person who took it brought a paperback anthology edited by Mike Resnick called Alternative Presidents. I took the book and plan to read it. I put in a hardcover of Isaac Asimov's collection, The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, and a paperback of The Day of the Triffids, and they too were taken. I have since put Richard Matheson's What Dreams May Come and Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama in the box. I expect them to be taken soon.

Stephen King is obviously one of the most popular writers of all time. The first title of his I added was a hardcover edition the The Bazaar of Bad Dreams collection. Someone got it rather quickly, and then I put in a trade paperback of It. That one was claimed even faster. Now a copy of The Green Mile is waiting for a lucky reader.

Currently successful books like Bird Box and Behind Her Eyes found new homes. Interestingly, Daniel Kraus's searing YA thriller, Bent Heavens, was taken and then returned. I don't know if someone hated the book or loved it and wanted someone else to have a shot at it.

One thing I like about the Little Free Library is how there is the aura of mystery. In an age where everything is open and exposed for all to see on social media and other areas of modern communication, the Little Free Library has us guessing.

I put a copy of my own opus, He Who Types Between the Rows: A Decade of Horror Drive-In, out on the very first day. I have been disappointed but unsurprised that no one has shown interest in it. The book is intended for a very specific audience.

The donations we have received have been interesting. If we get political propaganda, we scrap it. Regardless of whether the focus is from the left or the right. We want our library to be artful, not antagonistic.

We have a lot of dog walkers in our neighborhood, so we keep a baggie of Milk Bones in the library. We have plans to build a fairy garden around it.

The Little Free Library has cost us hundreds of dollars, and we continue to purchase books to add to it. Thrift store and library sale books, of course. We aren't going to pay full price for them. We have no regrets about the investment. We love our neighborhood and we love spreading our passion for books.

Written by Mark Sieber

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry