I was in Chicago this April for the national Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. As part of the registration material, I received a free book about movies made in Berlin. It looked like a very nice book, but I had no great interest in Berlin's film legacy and I had a six-month stack of books back home waiting to be read, so I wasn't too thrilled to get it. Still, it was free; how could I complain? I noticed that some of my fellow conferencegoers also felt the way I did about the book as they had dumped their copies of the book on the freebie table, but if everyone at the conference had it already, then who was going to pick it up there? I wanted my copy to find a better fate than just getting swept in the trash after the conference.
Fortunately, I saw in The Chicago Reader that they were holding a book swap at The Old Town School Of Folk Music one evening when I was in town, so I popped in and left the Berlin book there. I hope that it found a good home. Given all the intellectuals (or at least people wearing glasses) at the event, I figured that someone who dug movies and Berlin would be there and dig it.
What a cool event the book swap was! A little folk band was playing, and people were on the free books like crows on fresh roadkill. Some people appeared to be attempting to achieve personal bests in weightlifting given how many books they were taking, but I just wanted to swap my little Berlin book for one that I was more interested in reading.
I picked Bridge Of Sighs, a novel by Richard Russo. I had read some of Russo's other novels such as Empire Falls, Mohawk, and Straight Man and enjoyed all of them, so I figured it was a good bet. I've just started it now. I think I will especially enjoy the portions set in Venice, Italy since I would like to go there next year.
And if you do the math, now I only have a three-month stack of books! So my summer reading is actually my spring reading, but I am getting caught up.
I'm sure that you are just as excited as I am.
Apparently, the book swap is held annually, so if you're in Chicago next April and you like books, then maybe keep an eye out for it.
If I'm there and I'm caught up on my reading, look for me to be one of the weightlifter people.
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