Thursday, August 30, 2007

Leaving books behind

For quirky news on books and literature, I always look to the Brits, especially the Telegraph:

Alistair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief, received an unwelcome literary accolade today.

His book The Blair Years topped the charts of a list of the latest literary works most often left behind in hotel rooms, compiled by hotel chain Travelodge.

This cracked me up. Why on earth is Travelodge tallying left-behind books?

Never mind. What interests me even more is why the Telegraph believes it's a shame to top the list of left-behinds. Why assume that people abandoned the books because they didn't like or weren't able to finish them? For all we know, the books were thoroughly enjoyed and digested and then left by oversight or to lighten suitcase loads.

The new Harry Potter book was Number 10 on the left-behind list.

So. What books have you left behind on planes, trains, and in hotel rooms? And why did you leave them?


Anonymous said...

I dont leave books behind. Only it i really really dont like them.

Anne said...

I know that some people leave books behind after they have finished them as a gift to others. Usually they leave them in public places, not hotel rooms, but I'm with you. I'm not sure there's condemnation or criticism in the act of leaving (or possibly) forgetting a book.

ForstRose said...

If I've ever left any books behind it's an oversight on my part. I either continue cramming them onto my already crowded shelves or take them to the used bookbuyers at my local stores that offer that service in order to finance the acquisition of other books.


Vicki said...

I've never left a book behind (at least, not that I'm aware of...), but my DH left one on the plane once purely by accident. Unfortunately, it was a library book (and a hardback at that!), so he had to pay to replace it. The book was Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking." Should have been a book on thinking!

katemoss said...

I love leaving books behind at hotels! Books are to be shared. At most hotels they don't throw them out. Rather, you can go to the front desk and they'll show you some sort of rag-tag collection of these books left behind. There's a sense of sharing that goes with borrowing one of these books. You're reading something someone else who was recently in your approximate location just read. You have to wonder about their lives, their reaction to the book, etc. It certainly gets the creative juices flowing.

Katrina Stonoff said...

My family rented a cabin on the Puget Sound two years ago. There were three different bookcases, and each was filled with a fascinating collection. We left The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd because my husband and I both loved it and felt it was a good fit with the existing set. We didn't mention it to them, but we got a thank you note a month later, saying both the husband and wife had read and enjoyed it on vacation.

I replaced the book with a new copy when I got home.

TrudyJ said...

I am a book pack-rat and would never intentionally dump a book unless I didn't like it (might want to reread it someday!) But many years ago on a backpacking trip to England I decided I would change my ways and become a lean, mean, stripped-down reader who only carried one book at a time. I would read a book, discard it, and pick up another so I would only ever be carrying on book in my backpack.

The book I took with me on the trip was The Cider House Rules and I finished it a couple of days into the trip. It took GREAT strength of character to lay it next to me on the train station bench in Oxford and go in to get a bite to eat before catching my train. The book called to me. It wasn't even one of my favourites -- I'd enjoyed it, but it wasn't an all-time great -- I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving a book behind. But I told myself, "I can't walk around England lugging 7 or 8 books in my backpack" so I left it behind.

I went in to the cafe and ordered something to eat. A small polite Englishman scurried in a few moments later, holding out The Cider House Rules. "I think this is yours -- you left it on the bench," he said.

I smiled, thanked him and accepted my fate. I was born to be a book pack-rat. I bought a new book every 2 or 3 days on that trip to England and dragged them all around (and home) in my increasingly-heavy backpack. And I have never intentionally left a book behind since then -- it's just not Meant To Be.

Cindy said...

A several months ago, I found a novel that was intentionally left behind in the store I work in. It had a sticky note attached directing the reader to a website that tracks where the book travels. I attempted to read the book, but found it a bit beyond my taste. I did enjoy sending it to Georgia with a friend, to allow it to continue it's journey. Unfortunately, I have lost the web address to the tracking site, as I found it to be a wonderful way to share something that i adore,

Brenda Coulter said...

Cindy, I'm wondering if the site was Book Crossing.

Thanks for commenting, everyone.