Go to a Book Swap and Make the Big Time

© 2014  by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

Books from the Gillies Community Book Swap  photo by wlk Photography

Books from the Gillies Community Book Swap    photo© 2014  by wlk Photography

Would you venture out on the highway in bad driving conditions to go to any book event?  Should a late spring, blinding snowstorm on April 19th, 2014 be reason enough to miss a scheduled book swap and make the big time?
Up the rural highway almost devoid of traffic, we discover that with care, life is passable.  Soft, wet snow. Instant road slop, slush, four inches, with freezing rain.  Slipping, sliding, so what, book lovers persist, anything to get to a community book swap.
For this event four bags (the reusable cloth shopping- kind) chuck full of well-read, used books were hauled down the highway. Some books were obtained at previous events, some gleaned and weaned from our own eclectic collection. No matter. Up the mile hill we slipped in to the ancient community center in South Gillies, Ontario.

Community Book Swap: How does it Work?

It’s a simple process.  Come and see. Haul used books to the swap, and return home —with just as many or perhaps more ‘new and different’ books. Keep them for a month or forever if you wish.  Read, enjoy, give them away, lend them to others, or haul them right back to the swap, your choice.
Creating an endless supply of excellent reading material, used books are living fuel for a healthy book swap.  Books for exchange; want one book? Ten? A hundred or more every month?  Go for it. Swap. Take’em away.   Books of every description,   Cd’s, music and movies, and older VCRs are there too.   New or used, worn, dog-eared,  some never cracked to the curious eye,  ancient,  deeply enjoyed or skimmed. Perhaps some pocket westerns narrowly missed being tossed into someone’s woodburner, —but now rescued they’re all  treasures equally tossed into the swap instead.  Each and every book can be recycled—to a new reader, a new, proud owner.  A new bookshelf, a new home.

Book Swap Rules

The rules of the community book swap are simple, smart, and green.  Every book is free.  Bring books or not, you may also make a donation, but only if you wish. It’s a kind gesture, the swap is a lot of work setting out tables, boxing, handling and displaying so many books. A whole library’s worth.  There’s a gallon pickle  jar  handy with a handful of coins,  a few loonies, crumpled fives in it, so toss in dimes, nickels, folding money, whatever you wish,  no expectations, no obligation assigned. Help yourself. 

Community Book Swap  photo  by rakukke

Gillies Community Book Swap   photo © 2014 by rakukkee

If you’re looking, the neat organization and layout of hundreds of books on endless tables arranged by the two wise and helpful, gentle organizers is impressive and eases the burden. The highly-dedicated gray-haired couple seems to have every book  in the right place,  some memorized, too, believe it or not. Mainstream fiction?  Right there. Bird identification books? Over there. Diet books?  Downstairs, there are cookbooks too, last table at the end.  You get the idea.

Get to the Book Swap and Make the Big Time

Here’s the best part. Great titles of every genre are available, reference books, poetry, fiction, instruction books, textbooks, soft-covers, hard covers, literary, the weird and wonderful,  New York best-sellers, you name it, they are all free for the taking, first come, first serve yourself.  Works by authors,  the incredibly famous to the eclectic,  virtually unknown  and insignificant are equally available.  Hemingway,  Shakespeare,   King,  Burton,  Christie,  L’amour, Gray,  Irving, Dostoyevsky,  Harper Lee,….and…I.

Yes, you heard it here first.  Browsing casually with her reusable cloth shopping bag, among a thousand other books, she discovered it. The better half found a signed copy of  The Fires of Waterland, 1st edition.  Laying there with Hemingway, Shakespeare,  King,  Burton,  Christie,  L’amour,  Gray,  Irving, Dostoyevsky, Harper Lee, and I.  My own novel.   Right there at our community  book swap, and during a snowstorm too.   Imagine that.

I showed it to the old guy and his wife.  Upon previous visits to the swap I had told them I was a writer and a published author.  I told him  the 2nd edition of The Fires of Waterland was soon going to print.  A new publisher.  “Oh my!”  he  said, beaming, as he thumbed through the prized find.

“You’re one of the authors making the big time at the Gillies Book Swap  the old guy observed, smiling widely, —and smartly tucked The Fires of Waterland into his briefcase.

I was delighted.
Imagine that.  Going to a book swap and making the big time.


Is that Incoming I hear?

photo credit © 2014  by WLK Photography  all rights reserved.

tags:  book swap, The Fires of Waterland,  make the big time, Gillies Community book swap, authors,  books

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Life: Cabin Fever Watch

A Genuine Pile of Snow 2013 April

A Genuine Pile of Snow    ©2013  Photo by author

©2014 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee


  Cabin Fever Watch

It seems spring hasn’t hatched quite yet.  It wasn’t bad out there today, just inexplicably dull. Weather on the way in, and all that.  Is that new?   Well, okay, mea culpa, I’ve been off wandering about, trying hard to ignore the weather,   pretending my fuzzy Canadian toque is elsewhere,  putzing along, waiting for spring and glaring at the yard and garden that remains covered with  over 3’ of snow.  It, the thick ‘whitescape’ out there,  somehow, for reasons unknown,  has totally failed to live up to the lovely green and warm images promised in the half-dozen seed catalogues received back in January. Go figure. Think about it, that strange polar vortex doesn’t count, who invented that anyway?

Spring fever hit extra hard this year, a few inches at a time, here  there, every few days, flurries yesterday and again today—and  being Canadian,  it was a delightful -20C only a day or so ago first thing in the morning,  in spite of what you may have heard to the contrary,  such occurrences  affect us only marginally.  Yep. Wanna’ buy a bridge? Ocean-front swamp?
Serious weather events may come to mind,  but I’d be the first to report any extraordinary or overly-exciting  details, you understand, after tolerating and suffering enjoying the coldest and worst Canadian winter in 30 years.  It’s curious how one begins imagining -35C  is weather  “getting milder “…but compared to -45C,  it all becomes relative,  a distraction,  a game, so —yes, we better give the old pompom on the Canuck touque  an exhilarating shake and shed a few icicles from the beard,  you get the idea.


Spring fever, also known as ‘cabin fever

“Get me out of here, I wanna go somewhere warm”   kicks in quite naturally as an eye-opener after six months of winter —even for the toughest  hibernating bear or  frozen Canadian.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two, with  toque, big beard,  furry parka, scarf,  guaranteed  -72F  boots, woolen mitts up to the armpits,  —but  yes, something or someone is quite happily  offering you a turn on the snow shovel and the key to the big tractor snowblower sitting out there in the blizzard.

Cabin fever is  a catch-all excuse we Canadians invented to justify getting out there and  building snowmen,  ice-fishing, curling,  skiing, playing hockey, diddling about on snow machines,  hauling in firewood, and procrastinating.  Perhaps even for just staying  in the warmth of a crackling fireplace to enjoy another hot toddy.  That is unless the hapless old abode is buried in snow to the rooftops, that is, then minor Canadian cursing whining cheering is allowable, even required to relieve the old trusses.  Four-letter blue-air adjectives  enhance the Northern Lights romantically dance across the sky as we shovel off more of the white stuff,  waiting for July.
Escape from ice-bound paradise is possible, it happens, but only the rich, sunburned and winter-blessed types capable of flying off on vacation to sunny-elsewhere bother to go somewhere warmer than Canada.  Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela.  If the flight’s not cancelled due to snowstorms and ice, that is a given.

We get it. As usual, we get it.  Cabin fever. We’re here for the duration. Put on the toque, let’s go shovel.   We can do it, we’re Canadian. Wait, wait…it’s snowing again…wet, sticky snow.  Well, sooner or later,  the sun’s coming out. We’re sure  It’ll melt instead. Cabin fever?  There’s always relief. Just outside the  door.


Is that Incoming I hear?

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