It truly pains me to throw away books, but I am also without passion for collecting them. And too lazy to lug them to the local library. So I have boxes and boxes of gently used and sadly neglected novels sitting in my closet, garage and car.
I was nearing the point of chucking them all — conscience be damned! — when I made a fantastic discovery at a nearby park — a miniature library where you can drop off or pick up a book from what looks like an oversized birdhouse.
Every time my daughters and I walk Ivy and Lucy there, I drop off an armful of books. Most disappear between visits, and I feel unreasonably proud when they do, as if this somehow reflects on my good taste in reading material.
I like being an anonymous book lender and never intended to borrow anything others had contributed. But two days ago, I found three fabulous books for my daughter Kelsey: a book about fonts, a directory of illustrations by famous graphic artists and a collection of portraits of Hollywood stars with Kim Novak (whom Kelsey loved in Vertigo) on the cover.
Here’s a big THANK YOU to the books’ former owners and to the Glendale Public Library for making book-sharing fun.
February 14th is for (book) lovers!
When I found out through a Facebook post that Valentine’s Day is also International Book Giving Day, my heart skipped a beat!
What better way to fight the Valentine’s blues that so often accompany what is really just another day, than to spend it spreading the love of words, ideas, illustration and imagination?!
The idea is to give a book to someone you know, along with an adorable free bookmark and spread the bookish love and cheer!
I think that’s a pretty KOTAWesome way to spend Valentine’s Day. Who’s with me?!
BACK ON THE CLOCK
The “take a book, give a book” idea of the oversized birdhouse library is so quaint — you can give and take anonymously, free from expectation. The book givers don’t get any credit for their good deed other than knowing their donation will hopefully make someone smile. They aren’t donating books hoping the second they drop them off in the book birdhouse, they’re going to be tagged on three difference social platforms with the words “book donating hero” published for all to see. And I Iike that.
Social media makes it easy for kind gestures to instantly become Facebook or Instagram posts. And while I often take full advantage of this magic — a well-crafted Google Plus post can make a person who made my day feel like a star —that is because my thank yous (whether public or private) are always heartfelt and genuine. And if I want to shout to the world (via social media or otherwise) that someone made me smile, I will happily shout.
But do you ever get the feeling that certain people on social media only do something nice so they can be thanked publicly? And if you thank them privately (by way of long, heartfelt e-mail or handwritten note sent in the mail) they consider this some kind of snub, as if nothing is meaningful unless said publicly?
These same people are ever-so nice to you in their public replies to your comments on their posts, nice for all the world to see, but if you send them a direct message, their reply couldn’t be more rude. Because they have somehow gotten it into their heads that it’s important to have a strong personal brand, it’s important to be helpful and kind and supportive and to do good deeds — but only in public forums (because that’s all people see).
To those people, I have this to say: I would hope you could learn to be good for good’s sake, to be the kind of person who anonymously drops off books in a birdhouse library without expecting anything in return, but even if you’re only being nice as a business tactic, because you’ve determined “nice” should be part of your “personal brand” this “niceness” should extend to all your conversations, offline most definitely included.
Because it it doesn’t, it will be that one rude e-mail that will be remembered, not the dozens of positive, upbeat comments on social media.
Do you take the library birdhouse approach to your social media interactions — giving without expecting anything in return, being genuine and supportive because that’s who you are, not because you want a “powerhouse” or someone in the “in-crowd” to like you? Have you ever experienced the shock of a jeckly-hyde transition when dealing with a social media or business connection in a public versus private sphere? How did that affect your view of this person’s “personal brand”?
Please share your thoughts below, and also tell me, are you going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, International Book Giving Day, or both? Oh, and if you’ve read any good books lately, please share the titles with me too! As I’m sure you know, I’m a sucker for a good book!