Today I complete one year of being a Book Fairy (with an absent wand and wings, but plenty of books in hand.) Last year – on International Women’s Day – I had applied to “I believe in book fairies“, and received my first set of stickers in April. What started off as forty of us fairies spread out in twenty-five countries, has now reached over a hundred book fairies in fifty-eight nations around the world. Who are we? We are people who love to read and share our books. Book Fairies hide books around the world, every day, for people to find, read, and then leave for the next person. Our sole aim is to share our love for reading and our love for books with others – we either share from piles of books we might have lying around, or handing over a book each time we finish reading one. The books are wrapped in ribbons and stickers, sometimes with a bookmark or note inserted. The sticker is important (this is provided to all Book Fairies from the headquarters in the UK), so that the receiver knows the book has been left by a fairy (and he/she is not plain stealing some random person’s book.) The other accompaniments are optional. Once you read the book, you can leave it for someone else to enjoy – hence the importance of the sticker. The book drops could happen at any large space (gardens, museums, malls) or smaller ones (cafés, theatres). The goal is not to litter – so once the book is dropped, the fairy hovers around discreetly to ensure it gets picked up. If not, we pick it up ourselves and choose another location. How can you spot a book left by a book fairy? The telltale signs are the green and white stickers. (I personally use green ribbons as well.)
The second initiative of the book fairies is the “Shared Shelf“. This is part of a tie-up with Emma Watson’s book club, and fairies around the world select books from Emma’s shelves for their drops. Some of the books we dropped that Emma was reading at the time include:
Mom & Me & Mom, by Maya Angelou
Half The Sky, by Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
My Life on the Road, by Gloria Steinhem
Our third initiative is the “Fairy Book Club”. This is where the fairies come together and read and discuss books. A country is selected each month, and the native fairies recommend books and authors from their respective nations that other fairies across the globe can get acquainted with. This club is for our own reading and interactions, but we drop the books after we finish them, thereby allowing the public a chance to read what their fairies are reading. The drops happen on the fifteenth of each month, after we have read the book. For instance, the countries chosen this year so far have been South Africa for January, Australia for February, and Japan for March. The native fairies present a list of highly recommended books from their countries, and one gets chosen for discussion purposes. (We can choose to read all, or any other book/author from that country as well.) The shortlisted ones for this quarter were Trevor Noah’s “Born A Crime” in January, “Breathing Under Water” by Sophie Hardcastle in February, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” in March. This broadens our horizons as readers as we are made more aware of literature from around the globe, and in turn have a greater repertoire for our drops.
This past one year with the Book Fairies has been wonderful. It has given me a chance to Explore around the city in an effort to find ingenious hiding places for my books. I carry extra books while travelling – you never know where you might come across some nice drop spots with keen readers around. The book club acquaints us with literature from around the world – ensuring we explore more authors, different genres, and making us more well read.
Here’s to more reading and spreading the joy of reading – one book at a time. ❤
Nutritionist. Odissi dancer. Marathon runner. Bibliophile. Polyglot. Enthusiastic about health & fitness, learning languages & musical instruments, art & craft. Curious about anything and everything.
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