Pass It On

Free is as free does. As they say. Or nobody says. One or the other.

I scored a water-damaged copy of The Handmaid’s Tale the other day. It was sitting in a Little Free Library. It is bloated as water-damaged books are, its pages thick, stained, and curly, but someone thought it was worth passing on so I took it.

You’d think I would have already read this book, given who I think I am, all feminist and all. But nope, I never have. There are a lot of books I should have read that I haven’t and I sometimes worry, not often, that time is running out to right this terrible shortcoming of mine. I will go to heaven not having completed all my homework. So unlike me.

I’m obsessed with Little Free Libraries and want to jam on the brakes every time I see one. They are filled with books people love but not that much because the books they really love are on their bookshelves inside their house. Just generalizing here, I don’t actually know since I have no data. Still, each little library is packed with books for the taking and so I take.

And sometimes I take books back which is only fair.

I think people are reticent about peering into a Little Free Library. They think it’s something for poor people and that you shouldn’t ‘shop’ in a Little Free Library if you can afford to buy books which I can and I did for a long time until I realized I’d developed a crack-like addiction to downloading books one after the other to my Kindle. The credit card bills were ridiculous but I won’t go into detail. Trust that I have a shit ton of books with great looking covers on my Kindle.

I do sometimes feel conspicuous pulling up to a Little Free Library in my Thunderbird or our F-150 and imagine that the curtains are parting in the Little Free Library’s owner’s house. Who is that rummaging through my books? They should buy their own books! But they aren’t saying that. They want me to come take their books and bring other books back. That is the whole point. It’s a great kindness. I love the Little Free Librarians.

5 thoughts on “Pass It On

  1. One of these little libraries just started in my neighborhood. A neighborhood, I might add, of 25 people out in the middle of the woods. So I open that little door and wonder ‘who put THAT one in there?’. I love the concept of these libraries and I love borrowing the books, but I struggle to contribute because it is practically impossible for me to let go of books. I’m one of those you reference here in your post. If I like a book I want to hold it close and hug it and re-read it over many years and keep it as a friend. I’m interested in hearing what you think of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I loved the concept and the message, but just couldn’t get into the book. I so wanted to like it, but it just didn’t capture me for some reason.

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  2. One of the best books ever, and just an fyi- Atwood has written a sequel to this book coming out in September I believe: The Testaments.
    I have a little free library just down the road but sadly I never find much that interests me. Being a strong liberal in a very conservative little town doesn’t lend itself to finding the types of reading material I typically like. I’ve left a few of my own on occasion though, and I can’t help but wonder what the reaction is when people encounter some of my choices of feminist dystopian literature! 😉

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      1. Hi Lisa! On my way to your blog to reply a bit more to this idea. I stopped quickly a bit earlier and see we have something in common…

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  3. I love, love these little libraries, too. I love reading real books so this serves me well, and I love to pass mine on. some of mine have pages that I’ve gotten wet while reading in the bath, but I figured others may still enjoy them. before these little libraries, I used to leave my books on park benches for others to pick up and read and keep.

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