FIRST it was the guerilla gardeners, then the yarn-bombing knitters, now prepare for – the literary anarchists.
These anarchists will not be punching the air at angry mass meetings or smashing the citadels of capitalism, however. Theirs is an altogether more peaceful movement, though still passionate in its intentions – to share a love of books and reading with others.
Littlehampton is the launchpad for the campaign, but it could soon be spreading along the coast to Worthing and Bognor, and who knows where after that?
Anyone can be an anarchist of this literary leaning – simply head for one of five points around Littlehampton where a selection of books have been left in sealed, weather-tight plastic bags and make your choice. You might want to leave a book of your own behind, too, perhaps with a note wishing the new reader well and saying why you enjoyed the book.
The initiative is another creative idea from the Littlehampton Organisation of Contemporary Art (LOCA), which left five books at each of the five places on Friday. Three were titles for grown-ups, one was for teenagers and one for children. By Monday, several had been taken and the stock will be topped up tomorrow.
“We want to stimulate a wider interest in good, old-fashioned book reading,” said LOCA’s Staci Mendoza.
“Kindles have their place in our busy lives, but the experience of reading and discovering stories through books engages the senses that technology does not, such as smell and touch through a book’s texture.
“We also want to encourage people to use the greatest public buildings in their community, libraries, which are under threat everywhere.
“And we want to get across the idea that books are cool, in this age of social media when literacy standards are dropping.
“Being a literary anarchist is like going out on a scavenger hunt to find a book you might like.”
Each package, as well as a book, includes a LOCA bookmark explaining the scheme, a piece of notepaper to leave a message for the next reader and a spare bag to leave a book, if people wish.
The five sites are at Evans Garden, off Arcade Road, Costa Coffee, High Street, the Stage by the Sea, the Coastal Drift market stall on Fridays and a bench beside the harbour office in Pier Road.