Monday Mitzvahs: Release a Book “Into the Wild”

elephant crossing PD The phrases “catch and release” or “release into the wild” bring to mind fishing or animals, not books, right?  And yet today’s post is about releasing books “into the wild.”  It’s about Bookcrossing.

First a little intro, if I may.  On Sunday, I realized to my dismay that it was time to write my weekly Monday Mitzvah post, and once again, I was in no mood to do so.

Yes, I’ve been in a bad mood for a couple weeks, and Father’s Day was not helping matters.  Take huge amounts of anxiety to cover anger, the anger to cover pain, and you have a trauma sandwich.  That has been my life of the last couple weeks. Some annoying part of me whispered that this is what Monday Mitzvahs are all about: something to help with the pain.  I felt like I better come up with something quick or proclaim myself a hypocrite.  I don’t mean that doing mitzvahs is the cure for depression, PTSD , etc, simply that it can help.  Or at least that is the idea.

Jonathon Bean CC BY 2.0 Flickr
Jonathon Bean CC BY 2.0 Flickr

A quick internet search for some new ideas reminded me of Bookcrossing This is a fun way to share books with others.  San Francisco Chronicle calls it; a modern day message in a bottle.  The idea is simple find a book  and Label, Share, Follow.  Okay, perhaps a little more explanation is needed.

Step 1 Label:  Choose a book and register it on  You will receive a unique identification number for the book.  Then you can print out a label (free) or just hand-write a note inside the cover.

Andy C Bookcrossing Flatiron Building CC BY SA 3.0 wikimedia
Andy C Bookcrossing Flatiron Building CC BY SA 3.0 wikimedia

Step 2 Share: Take the book into public and leave it for someone else to find.  You want to be thoughtful about this, airports get a little jittery about people leaving things lying around.

BookCrossingBefore English Language Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 wikimedia
BookCrossingBefore English Language Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 wikimedia

Step 3 Follow:  Someone else will find the book, read it and share a quick journal entry and then release it back “into the wild” for the next lucky reader.

Hugovk CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 flickr
Hugovk CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 flickr

Now, I have to admit, while I love this idea, I wondered if it would really work.  I mean will other people follow through (yes, I have trust issues, I know.)   On the website, when you register you can “go hunting”.  There is a page that shows a list of books “in the wild”.  People are doing this all over the world!

How cool is this??? Charlette Henard CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr
How cool is this???
Charlette Henard CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

On another page you can see all the books that were released today, and read journal entries for books you love, etc, etc.  In short, people are doing this!

So remember I was trying to decide what to write for this post.  After I was reminded about bookcrossing, I went and sat in front of my bookshelf and tried to decide which one of my darlings I could possibly let go.  I went through several rounds of, –how about ____________?  No! Not that one, I love that one.  It was like visiting old friends.

I finally chose a book and registered it on bookcrossing.  And you know what?  I did feel better.  Imagine that. Give it a try!

Where do you think would be a good place to release a book?


Monday Mitzvahs were inspired by Linda Cohen’s book 1000 Mitzvahs


  1. I have a mental image of a message in a bottle and “Where is George” combined.

    What and where to leave would take some serious planning; possibly including prayer. I would probably carry three or four ready-to-go subjects and talk with wait-staff where I go and see what might be the most useful to that person. I realize the first I would have no control (did I say control, oops!). Interesting idea. Tantalizing just to think about. Thank you, Leslie.

  2. A bench outside of Barns & Noble, or a coffee house? At the Bus stop in front of any military base or complex. A lot of wait time = a lot of reading. Or perhaps on my chair?

  3. I love the idea of this! My only problem is deciding which one I can let go and be free! I know that I need to share something special to me so others may enjoy. I’ll try, I’ll really try–today!

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