August 17, 2017
In Bangkok, it’s beginning to look a lot like Bookmas
by Delia Davis
Imagine something kind of like Christmas, but it’s just another day and you’re on the subway headed to work. Imagine unwrapping a shiny present, except you’re not unwrapping anything, you’re picking up a book off the subway floor. Imagine that behind this mysterious, artfully-placed book is a horde of volunteers deemed “book fairies,” scuttling about in cities all over the world, hiding books (like the one you just picked up) for people (like you) to find. It’s kind of like Santa Claus, but way cooler. It’s… The Book Fairies!
On a recent weekend, these book fairies swarmed the city of Bangkok, Thailand, stashing books like The Little Prince and Cat in the Rain for the unsuspecting to discover. One newly-converted fairy sneakily dropped copies of Tuesdays with Morrie at a TedxBangkok event in the KBank Siam Pic-Ganesha Theatre. The deluge of free books was part of the launch of a local branch of The Book Fairies, a worldwide initiative.
The concept is simple: people leave books in public places for others to find, and once readers finish the book, they carry the torch by passing the book on to someone else. Eager readers can keep up with book title and location announcements through local branch Facebook pages. Additionally, as an international operation, the Book Fairies campaign invites anyone who loves reading to become an “official book fairy” (more on that here).
The Book Fairies campaign is just one endeavor among many during the past few years to promote reading to the general public through free books, which are sprinkled like fairy dust—by celebrities and everyday citizens alike—in public places like the subway, or in makeshift little libraries. Efforts like these remind us that while there are always the vandals and jerks of the world to contend with, there are also equally as many (if not more) nice, compassionate humans eager to do something nice for other humans — and these, these are the book fairies.
Delia Davis is an intern at Melville House.