In my free time, and sometimes when day-dreaming on my daily commute, I think of all the books that I want to read in the future. My notebooks are filled with quickly scribbled notes when someone has mentioned a book that sounds particularly good or which reservations I want to make next at the library. Honestly, being a bibliophile is a full time job especially if you have ambitions to become a writer because being a writer is just another way of being a reader; one who makes content for other readers to show what has been learnt from previous reading. This very cycle shows that at the heart of literary culture is a need to share; to share stories, which is why I enjoy book crawls so much because that’s what they’re all about too.
For those of you who don’t already know, a book crawl is when you go to a new place (or sometimes several new places) and explore via the book shops there. Sometimes you can set challenges or goals, such as seeing how many indie bookstores you can find in your own city or how many translated texts you can find in 2 hours, but mostly it is just about discovering new content to read and sharing a great day out with some friends or loved ones. My latest ‘book crawl’ was to London in the summer, when I encountered everything from the oldest book shop in England to Persephone books which is a new favourite as they publish books by previously forgotten or underrated authors (mostly women from during/prior to the twentieth century).When planning a book crawl, particularly for the first time, I think it’s important to set some goals on what you would like to achieve from the experience on a whole and also where exactly you want to head with it. Do you want to take a map and mark on some places, or just take it as a guide in case you get lost? Are there specific books you want to find on your journey? I would recommend taking your phone; also known as easy access to google maps, it is light, portable and not as fiddly as a paper map. I would also recommend that you arrange to go with a group of like-minded friends as, whilst going on a book crawl alone can mean more time to browse, there is just an energy to the experience when there are other people tagging alone that wouldn’t exist if you were flying solo. It feels like a magical walking road trip and also means that you don’t always have to be the first one to suggest a cake stop (because you’ll also discover plenty of good places for snacking along the way).
Whilst there is no singular or straightforward guide to planning a book crawl, make sure you don’t head into it with too much seriousness. Like I’ve stated, set your goals and invite some people along but don’t stick to things too strictly. The best experiences in these incidents are the ones that just happen: When you see something in the distance and think, aha! I want to discover exactly what that is. Who says that exploring is old news? Not everything has been discovered yet and there will always be room for adventure. So what are you waiting for – your destiny is waiting and it’s narrated by your new favourite author who is yet-to-be-confirmed.
Happy reading bookworms!