It’s finally ready: the lovely book swap area at Helsinki Airport. The whole thing was made possible by Quality Hunters, an initiative by Finnair and Helsinki Airport. In short, the initiative was one big online community of people interested in various things: e.g. food, services, culture and of course – traveling. I’ve blogged about the topic earlier, at least here and here.
What started off as an idea, has now developed into something tangible: a small room with bookshelves and books. Anyone can come in and relax for a while. There are some cozy armchairs as well, in case you’re like me and actually need to read parts of the book before choosing.
So, if you have a book in your bag that you’re already done with, you can leave it to the bookshelves. Just tag it with the Book Swap sticker, write down where the book has traveled with you (you can also add the book crossing code) and choose a new book to enjoy. And, if you look really closely, you’ll see the blue logo on the stickers. So happy and proud for my input!
I was delighted to receive an invitation to join the opening of the book swap area this morning. I wanted to take a book with me, and it took me a while to make the choice. After some consideration I chose Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I chose the book for two reasons.
Firstly, I’ve bought the book second hand from Helsinki. The book has travelled with me to Laos and back. But, more importantly, the book has been given as a gift to someone who has visited someone in New York in 2004. There’s a brief handwritten message in Finnish on the inside cover. The message says: it was so nice of you to visit, thank you. Welcome again.
Now how cool is that? The book as an item has a story.
Secondly, the book is about people from different countries and cultures coming together – just like creating the book swap area, with ideas flying in from all over the world. Anyway, in Bel Canto, everyone is tied together by a very dramatic turn of events in what everyone thought would be an ordinary embassy reception in an unnamed country somewhere in South America. The story is actually based on something that happened in the 1990′s in Peru.
What a story. Well done Ann Patchett!
So, to sum it up: if you’re traveling from Helsinki Airport, find the book swap area near gate 27. Walk the steps to the second floor and you’re there!
♥ In the meantime: We don’t live in a vacuum. We live, learn and become better when we’re open to other cultures. This is why I’m happy to see serious consequences for the rather openly racist Finnish parliamentarian, who seems to think very little of other people, other cultures and the Finnish Supreme Court.
♦ Song of the day: Lykke Li, Get some