This post is not directly related to hacking, but it is related to the
spirit of freedom and sharing that many of the list's members seem to have,
and also related to Internet-based activities, so I hope nobody minds.
I wanted to share with you a fun day I had today, and perhaps give some
of you ideas for an interesting way to spend a few hours and a few shekels :)
Have you heard about the site http://www.bookcrossing.com?
If not here's a very short summary: Ron Hornbaker's idea was to let books
(actual books, you know, the things made of dead trees) roam freely.
A person would read a book, and then "free" it by giving it to a friend or
putting it in some public place (bus-stop, park bench, etc.) where someone
else could find it. That person can take it, read it, and hopefully release
it again for somone else to find, and so forth.
To add more fun to the general good-feeling that comes from philanthropy,
the bookcrossing.com site is used to "track" the books. Each book "released"
into the wild gets its own serial number, and people finding the book are
requested to enter a log entry into site (the site explains exactly how this
works and lets you print labels to stick in the book, which explain the
Until today, over 30,000 books have been released worldwild, but only 4 of
them were released in Israel. Today me and a friend of mine started to
change that, and released 10 (!) more books in Haifa. See the
for a list of 8 of them (we forgot to enter
two more, so unless the finder logs them, their details are lost...).
It was a really fun day, lasting over 6 fun hours. Here are the details:
People who know me, know I'm a packrat, the kind of guy that could never
give away a book he has. This is why my friend and I decided to buy new
books, copies of books we have read and know to be good, to release them to
the wild. To make this a cheap experience, we started the day buying books
in Zomet Sfarim.
For people who don't know Zomet Sfarim, it's a book store that also carries
new books costing 10-30 shekels, hundreds of different titles. You won't
find there any "best-seller" books for this price (they also have full-priced
books), but someone with an extensive knowledge of authors and literature
will find there many excellent, interesting but under-appreciated books
(one example is Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man" which I mentioned in a
previous posting, and costs 30 shekels in Zoemt Sfarim).
Zomet Sfarim is also open on Saturdays, and surprisingly it was even open
today (Rosh Hashana).
Browsing in Zomet Sfarim is a very interesting experience for people (like
me) who love books, and we ended up buying there 8 books for only about
120 shekels. We also bought several more books for ourselves :)
The sales man was enthusiastic that we took so many books, and especially
seemed enthusiastic about my choice of books. But he was dumbfounded when we
told him we were going to give most of those books away :)
After spending more than an hour in Zomet Sfarim, the rest of the day was
supposed to be us driving all around Haifa to all sorts of interesting and/or
crazy places to leave the books behind. We were beginning to get hungry,
so we headed towards an Arabic restaurant in Ben Gurion st. (downtown), on
the way stopping and leaving books in Chutsot Hamifraz, in the Chutsot
Hamifraz bus depot and in the Kiryat Hamemshala in Paris square.
Inside the books we printed the bookcrossing labels, and also wrote in hand-
written Hebrew our own explanation. Outside the books, we wrote teasers like
"This is a free book!", "Take me!", "Read me!", "I am not a suspicious object",
"I'm more interesting than the movie!", "I'm funny!", and so on :)
In the restaurant we had a very nice meal. To anyone who happens to be in
Haifa I would recommend the Fatouch restaurant in Ben Gurion street (a 1
minute walk from the lower entrance to the Baha'i center). Make sure you
go inside to the specially-decorated inner room, don't sit outside.
We left one book inside the restaurant and proceeded to go around Haifa
leaving behind books. Part of the fun was thinking of interesting places to
leave books in, and another part of the fun was going to places we don't
necessarily visit very often, and in any case it was a fun way to spend an
afternoon with a friend I haven't seen for quite some time.
We ended up putting the rest of the books in a beach, outside a highschool,
in the Technion, in the Haifa University, and near a public library.
All in all, it was a fun day which included shopping, dining and traveling,
and I think we also did a good thing. We're also hoping to see someone
find one or more of these books and enter a log entry in bookcrossing.com!
By the way, what we did today is also an interesting way to get to know a
city (by looking for interesting public places in which to leave books).
So we're thinking about sometime in the future gathering a larger gang of
friends, and going to a different city to release books there.
After our book release today, Israel has more books released on
bookcrossing.com (12) than Greece, Hong Kong, Portugal, China, and many other
countries. If you want us to pass Brazil (13), Japan (25) or even France (40),
consider releasing books (and registering your release on bookcrossing.com)
too :) If you want to pass the UK, Canada or the US, keep dreaming: in the
UK 635 books have been released, in Canada 3,668, and in the US, as many
Nadav Har'El | Saturday, Sep 7 2002, 2 Tishri 5763
Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |We could wipe out world hunger if we knew
|how to make AOL's Free CD's edible!