Wednesday, May 25, 2005

After the Bookcrossing meetup

It was the first Bookcrossing meeting that I attended though I've already known about this bookcrossing thing some years ago when it started out. Though I have to say that at the end of the meet, it felt more like a Bookclub gathering then a Bookcrossing one. Not that it's a bad thing. In fact, I preferred it that way since I am terribly reluctant to lend out my books, much less release them into the "wild" and abandoning all but the hope that it will somehow make it back to me in as good a condition as it went out. I doubt I'll make a good parent.

The session was honestly extremely enjoyable. Kudos to Ivan for organising the event, complete with refreshments, lively banter and the Panaboard. Ivan's concerns that interest would wane as time wore on during the meet were (thankfully) unrealised as everyone stayed on way past the time and had to be reminded that each has a home to return to. How long I have pined and longed for something like this, a gathering of people just for the sole purpose of talking and exchanging ideas, book titles, goodwill without the overbearing stigma of education as aim or worse, obligation of commitment. The only thing left is to possess that critical level of optimism - not enough to douse future meets in disappointment but adequate to motivate interest and glean value from them.

Thank you Ivan.

The myriad of people! My goodness! There was the demi-deity like personality of Preetam Rai, who walked in holding a book titled "Beginner Russian", and then captivated with his childhood stories and incredible sense of humour and timing (and always that understated intellectuality and experience bubbling beneath, fuelling all his words and tales). There was Johanna, 15 going on 16 and yet exuding maturity and confidence uncommon among teenagers (at least those I see around, then again, perhaps my eyes are biased already). There was cool Ivan, who really knew what to do and what to say at the right moments to keep the discussion going and to keep the talk flowing. There was Yuyin (I hope I got the name right), effervescent and knowledgeable. I wonder if there was any book she has not read before.

Now one might think that I'm boot-licking because these very people I mention might read this entry. Perhaps so, I won't deny it. Yet I felt like the self-important, young ignorant punk that I am during the meet, the part of me that my daily activities and thoughts try to suppress. Good or bad, I haven't decided, but the aforementioned observations and impressions are nonetheless sincere.

I shall end this self-conscious piece with that paralipsis and the anticipation of the next meet. Though at the end of it, I still wish it to be more of a bookclub-ish type of group that happens to incorporate a self-contained version of bookcrossing. Well I am entitled to that no? At most I'll pretend I've walked into the wrong room next time.