Castle Hill Free Library Journal
11 April 2016
There are three wooden boxes shaped and perched like bird houses along the east and south sides of Ljubljana’s castle that sits atop its eponymous hill in the center of the Slovenian capital. An inscription written in both Slovenian and English on their clear plastic doors reads:
Little Free Library.
Take a book, leave a book, give a book…
Everything is about sharing what we read.
I walk past them almost every day and they’re always empty.
There’s a box of paperbacks sitting in the hallway of my apartment. About 45 or so, their pages all various shades of tan brown, caked in a thin layer of must. A few have been following me since high school – that’s the early 1980s. But all still readable. The box, just to the left of my door near the landing’s railing, hasn’t moved since I moved in six months ago.
You see where this is going.
I left eight books in one of the libraries tonight, with a note inserted into each asking those who borrow them to drop me a line to let me know where the books wind up. It didn’t take long to see where at least part of one ended up, and it didn’t require an email.
Twenty-six minutes after I filled the box’s shelf, I spotted this, a page from Listen, Yankee, on the ground across the street from the central market. At the base of castle hill. In fairness, the book’s spine cracked when I inserted the note, suggesting self-destruction rather than vandalism or an overly enthusiastic critique.
I’ll continue posting pics here of the books I drop off, followed by messages I receive, if any, pertaining to the books pictured. I’m still holding out hope that not all will leave a page by page trails through town.
Drop off #1:
- The Stranger, Albert Camus
- Mean Street, Sinclair Lewis
- Solidarity With the People of Nicaragua, James McGinnis
- Listen, Yankee, C. Wright Mills
- The Tower Commission Report, NY Times
- Far Tortuga, Peter Mathiessen
- 3 Lives, Gertrude Stein
- Revolutionaries for the Gospel, Teofilo Cabestrero
12 April 2016
Naturally I was curious. So, sandwich in hand –but no books– I devoted part of my lunch hour to a stroll up castle hill. Wow – someone even snagged the 1987 Iran-Contra investigation’s Tower Commission Report.
For future reference: It’s probably best to hold back on 1980s Christian Left testimonies on the Nicaraguan revolution; preferences noted.
It’s just after 2pm and nobody’s checked in yet. (Not that I expected anyone to.)
15 April 2016
I was wrong. (Yes, that’s the earth you just felt move under your feet.)
Most of the books from the first drop weren’t immediately checked out, they were simply redistributed. Shared among the three book boxes. All but two were still available when I walked by last night, so I re-borrowed Far Tortuga for a reader who checked in below. Ask and ye shall receive.
The re-distribution of wealth.
Drop-off #2 (13 April):
- Welcome to the Monkey House – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S Thompson
- i luoghi del fare – Guide to artisanal and traditional Art in Tuscany
- Revolutionary Forgiveness: Feminist Reflections on Nicaragua – Amanecida Collective
- The Pentagon Papers – NY Times Books