I love books. So naturally, I used to collect them. I kept all the books I had ever read, I bought dozens of books that I still wanted to read and I even bought antique books which I would never read but which looked good. My house was like a library.
And then I began to move to a different country every year. Books are a bloody hard thing to move, especially hundreds and thousands of them. So, I had to leave them behind. I sold some of them, I gave some of them away as gifts and may of my books remained behind in heavy cardboard boxes.
Now, because I know that I will move to another country, possible even another continent, in a year’s time again, I don’t have this obsession with ownership anymore. I take out more books from libraries. (And return them again.) And even for the books which I buy, I know there is no point in keeping them because they won’t fit into my bag when I move to Italy, Israel or India next year.
Now whenever I finish reading a book while on a train, in a park or in church, I leave it behind and hope that somebody will find it, pick it up and read it. If you have found a book on a bus in Malta, a train in Morocco, a boat in Venice or in a bar in Texas in the last few years, chances are that it was one of mine. I hope you enjoyed it.
When leaving books in public places, I have the romantic imagination of somebody finding it whose life will be touched, or even changed, by the book. A poor child who will discover her love for literature. Somebody who will fall in love with a hitherto unknown writer. Someone who hasn’t travelled but will read about foreign countries for the first time. – I am aware that the book is probably more likely to end up in the trash, but still each time I leave a book behind, I wonder who will read it next.
Another romantic thing which you can’t do with your e-book.