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Today, as I looked around my room at the excellent Extended Stay Hotel in Scottsdale (I didn’t link because their site has no images; it is a booking service only), and on the way out to my office (the Starbucks at B&N, of recent renown), I saw my copy of the also excellent William Gibson novel, No History. Reading a novel by the inventor of the word “cyberspace” and then writing about it here is just about enough conscious recursiveness for one day. Anyhow, I had just finished reading it, and thinking about it, realised that I did not want to take it with me to Chattanooga, my next stop.

What to do? There are no second-hand bookstores near the hotel, as far as I have noticed. Then I recalled that there was a tiny glass-fronted cabinet near the front desk (and above the very handy shared printer) where a few paperbacks could be seen. None had interested me, but how would the next guest regard this pristine copy of No History, I wondered?

The only way to find out was to add ‘Bookshare’ to the Pay it forward movement, I decided. From now on, I will leave all books that I have read on the road in a prominent place, with this inscription:

If this works, there will be millions of interesting books left wherever we go, and we will be able to satisfy the first tenet of the green movement: reuse. Bring it on. Could this work? Let me know what you think, or suggest a better plan for a worker/traveller who does not want to be weighed down, but who loves reading books, and who wants to find good books waiting at the next venue!

And what a way to meet people—if someone really likes a book you like, enough to write to you, there’s a point of real connection there, don’t you think? (As an aside, my introduction to the great WG was a book of short stories called Burning Chrome. I have everything he has published, and cannot recommend him too highly.)

Update, 16th September:

Left book #2 this morning, on my way out of the ESH: I sense momentum building here! This one has a very different flavour: Thereby hangs a Tail, by Spencer Quinn—one day I am going to write a mystery with a cat as the central character. The original book in the Bernie and Chet series gave me this idea.