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Friday, August 29, 2003

More of the Canada Wheelbarrow
Paixful emailed more pictures of the very successful Canada wheelbarrow project, so here they are!

This may as well be my office where I register all of my books. Are all BookCrossers so crazy for books and getting people to read that we'll plant ourselves within stacks of books and never think this might be an odd thing???

This is a picture of the mayor of paixful's town taking a gander in the wheelbarrow!

A pre-lunch looker hones in on the wheelbarrow.

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:7:03 PM: :

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Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Canada Wheelbarrow Project
I got the below message at the beginning of the month and was very jazzed.

3 August 2003

I was actually going to PM you to say I'd donate a few books but then I thought, I could do the same here and videotape it and send the tape to you, to edit in to yours, if you'd like?! I'd be more than willing as I think it would be so much fun. I am in Alberta Canada, in a city of about 70,000. I think it would be interesting to see what would happen:) Let me know and if you want to keep this to your area, thats fine too:)


So, paixful & I emailed back and forth for a bit and went about our business. I was busy getting my wheelbarrow going and I didn't worry too much about paixful because I know how projects can be - they seem fun at first and then you feel like you just bit off the hind leg of a brontosaurus. I let her know how my own wheelbarrow releases had gone just so she'd know I hadn't forgotten about her. A few more emails and then this one today:

Well, its done!! It was a blast and people were pretty excited, once they got over their wondering what the heck was going on ;)

I took pics and have no clue about websites etc so put them on a geocities site, only to learn that I can only look at them a certain amount of time each hour ... so at this moment I have exceeded my data transfer so have to wait an hour before I can look again and make sure I labelled everything ok.

Feel free to use any of the photos - I labelled the one that was the mayor because I thought that one was especially fun ;)

Can't wait to see if bookcrossing gains in popularity around here :) I'll keep you updated!


I took a look at the webpages, but they were having trouble loading so I decided to include the pctures that paixful sent me via email. I can't wait to see the one of the mayor, but this is what I have for now.

Paixful, you and your family ROCK!

paixful registering books...this looks VERY familiar ;p

The Cdn-wheelbarrow

Paixful's family gets in on the fun - What a nice husband! He looks like he's as nice about indulging his wife as my husband is when it comes to wheelbarrows & books.

Final moments before the wheelbarrow release...

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:10:56 PM: :

Read and Release at

Monday, August 25, 2003

Australian Surprise!
I got an email from BookCrosser auntyMEL on 8/16/03 which read

Hello thewheelbarrow, I'm a BookCrosser, too (screen name "auntyMEL"), and I just wanted to say G'day from Australia.

I am totally inspired by your project, I have a couple of books in mind that I think really belong. Please let me know where I should post them to.


Today I came home from work and there was a lovely package waiting for me from 'Stralia. 4 books with such the perfect fit for my request: "The kind of books I'm looking for are books that you feel encompass the feel, taste, color or essence of your country, region, or town." She did that so completely with the books she sent, I feel very honored to have received them.


:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:9:51 PM: :

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

the wheelbarrow wake
Grandma's funeral was yersterday. We took the wheelbarrow to St. Francis Solano Church and parked it out front. I had no qualms doing it. I was almost a little bit defiant about it. Grief makes us do things we might not otherwise do, I suppose. SGinger and Dave helped me get the wheelbarrow to the church and then back to the wake afterwards at home. Everyone who saw it and came up to me said it is an idea Grandma would have loved with a vengeance. Indeed...

I spent the night before the funeral registering books like mad on BookCrossing, staying up until after 2:00 in a frenzy. As though I needed to get as many books as possible on the wheelbarrow bookshelf before the funeral. I had no eulogy ready, I refused to think about it. I registered books and I tapped frenetically away on the keyboard, all thoughts of the words I would have to say before the crowd of faces, the friends and family who would come to remember this woman I had loved and adored so much, ignored.

This is the manner in which a heart reveals itself.
This is the way in which I can hold tightly to the piece of my grandmother that is indelible.

The morning of the funeral was one of those perfect days when you know the weather could be a whole heck of a lot hotter for August but instead the weather is flawless along with the temperature and you're grateful.

Entering the church for the funeral Mass.

After the funeral before we set off for home, the wheelbarrow like a bright but lowly beacon in the middle of the sidewalk.

Our neighbor Edna, who I've known my entire life, telling me about all the books in her house that she ought to get rid of!

the wheelbarrow wake (click on the image above to see a larger version; the sign below the FREE BOOKS sign reads, "This wheelbarrow is in memory of my Grandma, Jeanne Deenihan, who loved reading, writing, and never missed the opportunity for a grand adventure.")

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:8:48 PM: :

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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I made sure my Grandma was commemorated in this obituary with the wheelbarrow. The response has been overwhelming as well as touching. Today would have been Grandma's 86th birthday.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:6:36 PM: :

Read and Release at

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Farmer's Market 2nd Run
Dave & SGinger took the wheelbarrow for a 2nd run at the Sonoma Farmer's Market while I spent the evening at Border's Books at a BookCrossing meetup. They figured out at the 2nd run that the wheelbarrow can't be left unattended if one cares at all about what happens to the books...and the 'barrow, for that matter! It seemed there was a penchant for some of the teenagers to want to do "bad things" to the books when no one was looking. But, you know what? That's kind of the way things are in the world and the wheelbarrow is part of the world, so why would it be any different? That said, people still really like the idea of the funky old wheelbarrow.

On the way home from the Farmer's Market, SGinger left a book at this church:

Meanwhile a the BookCrossing Meetup, I talked with 3 other BookCrossers - Rae, John and Jeanne. We met at Borders Books in Santa Rosa, so I stayed late after work to do the Meetup and do some videoing for the film. Jeanne is getting ready to move out of the area, but she was telling some great stories about going on a Mystery Writers tour in Britain that sounded like a merry old time! Rae moved here from the midwest and is getting accustomed to California, and John works at the library book sales in Sebastopol and sounds like he gets some great books there. They were all very good sports about being recorded for the film, although the footage may be less than even less-than-amateur since there was a cash register going a mile a minute in the background and it's sometimes difficult to hear what people were saying. Ah yes, the joys of the amateur documentary!
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:6:08 PM: :

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Sunday, August 10, 2003

Ancora di piu'!
Went to church today and they donated 6 big boxes of books. I'm trying to get them all registered, but few of them have ISBNs, which means all the info has to be typed in. My other concern as I am going through the books is that if there are too many "religious" or "spritual" books, people may get turned off. But then I thought some more and figured it really doesn't matter. There may be someone out there who finds a book, for instance the one I'm looking at right now that's called God Speaks to Women Today and they read it and it changes their life somehow. Who am I to judge? I am no one! Thus by judging books that have been given to me rather than just taking them as the gift they are, I am supposing that I know what everyone else out there in the big, wide world wants or needs in the way of books. And I sure don't. So, the wheelbarrow bookshelf will soon have a ton of books from the shelves of SVCC set free and out into the world. And off they go!

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:5:34 PM: :

Read and Release at

Saturday, August 09, 2003

251 Books
Well, after Dave & I cleaned out a bunch of boxes in the garage and SGinger got her parents and co-workers on the book-donating bandwagon, we're up to 251 books registered as of today, a total of 40 releases, and no new journalers for any of the releases. Which is no surprise. There was one journal reply from our very first releases that we did on the park bench, but it was logged under Abott, my personal bookshelf, for the novel Dragonfly In Amber, a sort of almost-cheesy romance novel that is saved from being too cheesy because the history is accurate and the main character dude, Jamie, is a hunk. So there. Anyway, we've got a few hundred books registered, now it's time for more releases of the wheelbarrow. I'd like to talk to Larry & Rose Murphy about letting us leave the wheelbarrow in front of their Irish pub one weekend, and SGinger and I talked about leaving it in front of the Community Center as well. We'll see. 'Tis a project after all.

SGinger came over today; in fact she's downstairs this very moment watching footage from the video I took on Tuesday. I haven't watched it yet. I've been registering books and feeling sad & blue about Grandma's death. Not unexpected, but difficult nonetheless. SGinger told me that she's been wearing a rose pin since my Grandma died in memory of her. I thought that was very sweet. I haven't done anything like that. All I've done is want to get more and more books; like the more books I have to register for the wheelbarrow, the more it'll take away that sunken feeling behind my belly. It doesn't, but if I stay up late enough at night registering books, I'm so tired by the time I drag myself to bed, I don't have time to think about the fact that Grandma is gone.

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:8:26 PM: :

Read and Release at

Friday, August 08, 2003

the wheelbarrow's First Release Pictures

booked up 'barrow

books at the Farmer's Market, and they're FREE!

KC and SGinger talk about BookCrossing at the Farmer's Market

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:12:33 PM: :

Read and Release at

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:8:45 PM: :

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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

the wheelbarrow's Maiden Voyage
We did it! SGinger and I (with a little help from a good-sport husband with some muscle) took the wheelbarrow down to the Plaza to Sonoma Tuesday night Farmer's Market. We got a few sidelong stares as my husband wheeled the yellow, mobile BookCrossing Zone through the streets of Sonoma, down the walkways of the Plaza, wending our way amidst the throng of people to prop the wheelbarrow against the curb by the fountain in front of City Hall. I had made a red sign that said "FREE BOOKS!" that I attached to a stick. SGinger said the FREE BOOKS part needed to be more prominent, so it got a coat of silver ink. We made off into the evening, pushing the wheelbarrow and carrying our (looked-like-one) picket sign, feeling like we were off to the picket lines, picketing for the Freeing of Books. A kind literary Amnnesty International.

At first people were slightly hesitant. Kids came right up to the wheelbarrow with no qualms whatsoever. The kid's books were gone in a flash. In fact one little girl stood by the side of the wheelbarrow looking forlorn because all the kid's books were gone. I promised we'd bring more back next week. I hope I still have one or two in my stash; if I don't, I'm going to Goodwill or Salvation Army and buying some to make sure she gets one!

People began to warm up to the idea as they read the (picket) sign, and before I knew it, word had spread around the Farmer's Market that there was a wheelbarrow full of books that "you just have to go check out! It's the coolest idea ever." We interviewed a few people, but there was live music, so I'm not sure how well the sound recorded. We'll see. We also took some digitals & 35mms.

Basically, people love this idea. the wheelbarrow itself is whimsical and quirky, and of course the BookCrossing concept alone is the coolest thing EVER. The combo is offbeat and eye-catching. It's a twist on the idea of a wild release and people seem to love it. One woman even said, "I haven't read in years, but I used to read novels by so-and-so. Is there anything like that in the wheelbarrow?" She took a book and promised to check out BookCrossing. Wow! Might people actually be inspired to read again, people who've relied entirely on TV or video games for entertainment? Might they pick up a book and remember how good it feels to sink into a story and lose themselves in WORDS? What a thought, eh? It makes m'tail end go all a-quiver!
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:10:11 PM: :

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Monday, August 04, 2003

Can it be? Will there be a dual north-American wheelbarrow release this month? It looks like this might just be the case since BookCrosser, paixful has said she is going to release her own Canadian wheelbarrow. Whoddathunk a little ole lowly wheelbarrow could attract another? Let the wheelbarrowing begin!
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:11:29 PM: :

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Saturday, August 02, 2003

relay for life
SGinger released some health-conscious books to the Sonoma Relay For Life today at the Sonoma Valley High School track. One of the books was registered under the wheelbarrow and the rest were registered under SGinger. Were any actually caught? You can see the 4 released books in the middle picture below.

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:9:12 PM: :

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real deal

the wheelbarrow
soon to be filled with books and released into the wild!

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:8:59 PM: :

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Friday, August 01, 2003

not-so-mellow yellow
My husband painted the wheelbarrow neon yellow today. It's hilarious. It needs a big clown nose and a fire engine red wig with some Golden Arches hooked on it's shanks. It's that yellow. We'll need to see if SGinger can get the wooden parts fixed so it's not quite so rickety and away we'll go. Lucy donated quite a few books to the cause and registered them all under the wheelbarrow. This weekend I get to sit and glue bookplates into all of them. Whee.

Next on the wheelbarrow project list are journals to release as well. One step at a time.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:10:30 PM: :


© 2003-2004 the wheelbarrow project
contact: thewheelbarrowATemailDOTcom



the travels & travails of a lowly wheelbarrow filled with books

the wheelbarrow is an entity created by me, Abott, and my friend SGinger as a result of coming across, quite by accident, the website We're doing a less-than-amateur film project with some people from our town. This is the nascent stage of our idea for our film project. I came across BookCrossing in a blog I was reading a week or so ago. The idea tickled my fancy to no end. I had been thinking of doing a film project called Why I Write in which I would interview people I knew who were writers or aspiring writers and ask them why they write. The idea was solid, and inspired almost in whole by Jonathan Franzen's book of essays How To Be Alone. The other inspiration was my grandma, who, at the age of 85, was an unpublished author who bequeathed her book into my care to hopefully one day publish. The book that grandma gave me is especially symbolic because her death on the morning of 6 August 2003 has made the idea of immortalizing her something akin to a crusade. The intent behind the original film project of Why I Write was an excuse on my part to interview & film grandma before her death. I was unable to film or interview her because the series of strokes she had before her death made understanding her speech extremely difficult.

The evolution of Why I Write into a film project based on BookCrossing came about when I realized that for me, reading has always been a primary function of my life whereas writing has always been secondary. This insight, of writing being a natural continuation of having been a reader my entire life, prompted a shift from the focus of the film being about writing and turned it into a project based first on reading. And what better way to see into the secret life and desires of readers than to hook into something like BookCrossing? Whereby a person would be inclined, whether by curiousity or a foreknowledge of BookCrossing, to pick up a book - off a park bench, in a laundromat, in a movie theater, on a coffee shop countertop? Capturing that moment on film, the release and the subsequent catch, is the idea that fired me into registering on BookCrossing and rallying my friends to get involved.

The wheelbarrow project came about after a lengthy conversation between SGinger, a friend of hers who was visiting for the day, my mother and my sister. We were trying to brainstorm ideas for release locations. I started laughing as a silly idea occurred to me. "Wouldn't it be hilarious to just fill up an old wheelbarrow with books to be released and leave it on some random streetcorner somewhere?" We all ho-ho-hoed for a bit, imagining leaving it in the Financial District in San Francisco where besuited business folk would walk around and ignore it. But then the more we talked about it, the more we realized that this could be a really great idea. A traveling BookCrossing Cross Zone, never the same location twice, but conspicuous by it's very out-of-placeness. A wheelbarrow filled with books where you least expect to find them. Hmmm. And there the idea was born for the wheelbarrow.

My grandma is undeniably the most significant person to shape my appreciation & passion for the arts & humanities, reading & writing, quirkiness & outside-the-boxness. Without grandma's influence, my world would have been considerably less colorful, the sharpness of every artistic sensibility dulled by not having had grandma's imprint, the thumbpress of her sensitivity, stamped firmly into my heart and my soul. The film project and the resulting wheelbarrow project are both labors of love influenced by the heartbreaking loss I feel at the death of a grandmother whose existence I cannot imagine no longer being a part of this world.

If you found a book that is part of the wheelbarrow project, are interested in knowing more about the wheelbarrow project, have books you'd like to donate to the wheelbarrow project, or anything else having to do with the wheelbarrow project, please feel free to email thewheelbarrowATemailDOTcom. If you have comments to add to this page that you would like to post, there is a commenting feature at the bottom of each post which can be accessed by clicking where it says empty ole wheelbarrow. If there is already a comment, it will say 1 comment in the wheelbarrow. Your comments are always welcome!

my book crossing name: thewheelbarrow

Book Donors' Thank You Corner
(Books to Date: 931)
  • Lucy Usher
  • Jill Kamahele
  • Haili Kamahele
  • The Cuff Family
  • Gloria
  • Natalie Conforti
  • David Botton
  • Beth-Marie Deenihan
  • Sonoma Valley Community Church
  • Stacy Smith
  • Glenda Klaucke
  • Virgina Alexander
  • Ellen Caccia
  • Jackie Madison
  • auntyMEL
  • The Walkers
  • Elizabeth Heine
  • The Roses
  • Brian Feutz
  • Jeffrey Johnson
  • Friends of the Library
  • And anonymous donors...
  • links

  • Also visit the Canadian wheelbarrow project started by paixful
  • My Book Wish List
  • bookcrossing

  • Film Festival Poster

    time machine