Castle Hill Free Library Journal

Castle Hill Free Library Journal 1-1

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.

Page from Listen Yankee-1

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:

Castle Hill Free Library Journal 1-1-2

  • 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.)

Book drop day 2-1


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.

Book Box 2, 2016-04-013

Book box 3 - 2016-04-013


Drop-off #2 (13 April):

Book Drop 2 - 2016-04-013

  • 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


  1. Manja Mexi Movie says

    Damn! Far Tartuga was given to me by a dear friend as her favourite book, and I don’t own it yet, and haven’t read it. I’d be beyond exulted to find it. Alas, it wasn’t me. May I invite you to leave your favourite title (or, if you can’t narrow it down, up to 10 titles) on my book list?

    Thank you very much. I’m very happy that you left the books there (and sad to see that page on the ground). I haven’t seen this feeder up there at the Castle yet. When I go next, I’ll bring some food.

    1. Bob R says

      Great fortune has found you. Far Tortuga is still available (see update above). Send me your mailing address via the contact tab at top and I’ll be happy to send it along. It’ll be a few weeks since I want to reread it after reading this short interview with Matthiessen — — but it will reach you.

      1. Manja Mexi Movie says

        😮 What excellent news! And a confirmation of Slovenian proverb: “Kdor jezika špara, kruha strada.” (Who hold their tongues, hunger for their bread.) I’ll give you the address. If you change your mind upon rereading, I’ll understand. 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Judith says

    Is there another chapter to this story?

    1. Bob R says

      Yes, there have been. I’ve just not been very good with posting the pics. Thanks for the kick in the butt. Coming soon. 🙂

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