Monday, December 20, 2010

BC in DC and other letters

With just five days to go until Christmas, things are naturally a bit crazy all over. I'm severely tempted to stay up late in order to catch the total eclipse of the moon tonight, the first to fall on the winter solstice in close to four centuries. My husband and I are having a little turkey dinner and bundling up on the sofa to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, and possibly Charlie Brown. I have to finish two crochet projects, a necklace, and three more handmade gifts that I'm not mentioning here because their recipients read this blog.

My esteemed friend Kate, she of utter randomonium, has other things on her mind. As 2011 creeps steadily closer, she's turning her thoughts toward "BC in DC," the BookCrossing convention she's anticipating in the new year. Since Kate is a few different kinds of awesome, I'm only too happy to share her excitement with my readers.

I know at least a few of you are wondering what BookCrossing is, although the phenomenon has been slowly catching on in the past decade. BookCrossing is the act of taking your books and releasing them into the wild, like rehabilitated falcons ready to take flight. The actual tactic of the release is variable; you can give it to someone else, leave it on a table in a restaurant, stick it in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of you on a plane. It's a semi-organized process, by which you affix special labels to the books before turning them loose and encourage the finders to record their captures on the official site. In this way, you can track where your books are taken and re-released. It simultaneously promotes literacy, sharing, and internet weirdness, all of which are things I heartily endorse.

As if the individual spreading of literary wealth weren't quirky enough in its own right, BookCrossing has evolved into a community action, with get-togethers and conventions being organized for the participants. Come together with your fellow lit geeks and share your experiences, as it were. Kate is something of a veteran of these gatherings, and has even traveled as far as Amsterdam to hobnob with her brethren. (Perhaps not coincidentally, shortly after she arrived in Europe, the Icelandic volcano erupted and stranded her there longer than she intended.)

So as to BC in DC in particular, it's the name of the local BookCrossing group in -- as you might expect -- Washington, D.C. Kate and her cohorts are setting up for a minor invasion by BookCrossers from all over on April 15-17, 2011. The event is actually going to coincide with another event of literary merit, the annual International Day of the Book festival in not-too-far-away Kensington, Maryland; in fact, a side trip to the festival is one of the optional convention activities. Other things you can do at the convention include visiting the Library of Congress and/or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, touring the Smithsonian museums, wandering around releasing (and catching) books, and exploring the Sculpture Gardens. These are just some of the exciting possibilities the BookCrossers have planned for convention goers; I can't do justice to the entire list, but it is going to be one memorable and amazing event. Many props to the crew who are getting everything ready and organized.

To check out a full list of what's in store, all you need to do is hop over to the official convention page. You'll learn about where to meet, where to go, and what you can do. Wonder about the specific focus on Choose Your Own Adventure (tm) books at this year's gathering.

Now, the reason for bringing all this up now is because there's a deadline looming. Early bird registrations for the convention have been open since October, but they won't be open for too much longer. If you're planning to go and would like to save some money, you only have until January 1st to complete the registration process, as Kate explains here. The convention is being held at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, and the regular rate for the whole shebang is $175. But if you get in on the early bird special, you can shave $25 off your costs. Your convention registration cost includes breakfast and dinner on Saturday, breakfast on Sunday, and all convention activities. Convention attendees also get to enjoy reduced rates on hotel rooms and parking, and free internet access in their rooms. This FAQ page can explain all that stuff better than I can, and if your question isn't answered there, you can post it and someone will answer. Just remember -- after January 1st, you have to pay the full $175, and if you wait until March, it goes up to $199.

And in case you were wondering, I will not be person. However, I'll be there in the form of the author interview video, in which I will be participating. Kate's never let me live down forgotten the fact that I published my first book, Saving the World in Your Spare Time, about seven years ago, and has even specifically purchased copies of it to release from time to time. Like I said, she's awesome. So between that, my more recent photo book, and my various other publishing adventures, she's asked me to be one of the authors who answers questions in this video. I don't know which of my answers will be actually used, so if you attend the convention, watch the video and let me know if I make any sense whatsoever. That would be nice.

Meanwhile, I'm going to get back to work on the novel that I hope will be available for BookCrossers to release in time for the 2012 convention. So I'll conclude this by wishing a happy Yule/winter solstice to my readers who celebrate it!


  1. You forgot all the free books you can carry! :D

    Seriously, man, this is awesome. Thanks for posting it.

  2. Glad to do it. I hope it helps! Maybe I'll make it to the 2012 convention. :)

  3. 2012 is in Dublin, so best of luck to you. :)

  4. Great article! I'm so excited about the convention!!!!


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