“So long, and thanks for all the fish” is book number four in Douglas Adams’ world-renowned six-part comic science fiction series Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Each of the books in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series has sold 15 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 30 different languages and has been adapted into stage shows, comic books, TV series, computer games.
A movie called Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy was also made.
On Wednesday, the first day of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, I was able to get a copy of “So long, and thanks for all the fish” free of charge.
No strings attached.
The reason I was able to get the book was because of the For The Love Of Reading TT team.
For The Love For Reading TT allows anybody to take a book for free.
The team has set up two tables outside the entrance of the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis) in Port-of-Spain for the duration of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest for that sole purpose.
“We collect donated books and then we distribute them at different locations in Trinidad,” Aara Cleghorn said.
Apart from the temporary tables set up for the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, For The Love of Reading TT has six book corners set up at various business places around the country.
“We have a pop-up shelf so you can pick up a book, it is free so people come they browse the shelf, we have non-fiction, we have fiction, people just take a book and go, there are no strings attached,” Cleghorn said.
Among the books on their tables on Wednesday were a hardcover copy of Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Richard III by William Shakespeare and The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav.
“You don’t have to pay anything, you don’t have to sign up, you don’t have to register, you don’t have to bring a book in exchange, you never have to bring it back, we just encourage people to get into that sense of community where you give a book without expecting anything in return and that means that other people can then take it without having to give anything back,” she said.
The team’s first book corner was opened in April last year, and so far thousands of books have already been exchanged in that time.
Cleghorn said For The Love of Reading has three main goals.
“The main goal is to encourage reading. You might not be able to afford to buy a new book every week but then if you know you have a book corner right around the corner from you where you are you know you can go and pick up a book,” Cleghorn said.
Cleghorn said some people use the space as their own “personal library” taking books one week and returning them.
She said the purpose is not to replace bookstores and libraries, but rather to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to read.
“It means that you are never restricted then by your financial status or anything like that, you don’t have to rely on being able to afford it everybody should be able to read,” she said.
Cleghorn said the second goal is to build a sense of community.
“It is about that sense of giving without expecting in return. A lot of people are just so amazed that people would give without expecting payment or without expecting that you have to give a book in return,” she said.
She said the third goal is about environmental sustainability.
“We know there is a lot of talk about being aware of our environment trying to go zero waste and we are totally on board with that we know that a lot of extra resources already exist so people have a bunch of books on their shelves and it may be that you never read some of them again so we encouraging people instead of throwing away books you don’t want or burning them as we know people do here, give them to somebody else,” Cleghorn said.
“Or if you have a bookshelf and the sole purpose is just to look at it let somebody use it, pick a few books, we are not asking you to give up your whole collection, look at your collection see what books you may be willing to part with and give somebody else so what already exists can be used instead of making it that everybody goes out and buys new books and creates that demand for more trees to be cut down,” she said.
Cleghorn said people bring box loads of books for them.
“We try to recycle some of the old books, we send to Ace Recycling whatever we cannot repair but we try to reuse,” Cleghorn said.
The For The Love Of Reading TT sign that was hung outside Nalis was made from old book pages.
Cleghorn’s hair clip and name tag were also used from old book pages.