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BookCrossing.com: Clean out space on your bookshelves

For starters, leave your volumes of Tolstoy amid the toothpaste at Walgreens.

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I recently joined BookCrossing.com after I found a copy of the "The Perfect Storm," by Sebastian Junger, on a bookshelf at one of those cozy new McDonald's. A note, taped to the inside cover, revealed the book's connection to this online community: "When you are finished, please pass this book along to someone else who will enjoy it."

Here's how BookCrossing.com works: You leave a book in a public place and wait for someone to find it. That person registers their discovery online and the book is tracked as it travels from person to person.

At last, I thought, an easy way to rid our sagging bookshelves of my husband's books and gain some space for my own! I would scour Chicago's suburbs for appropriate drop-off sites and, little by little, chip away at my spouse's book collection.

I marveled at my husband's Greek Bible when we first dated and he read aloud in the original Greek. It was so romantic. But now after more than a decade of marriage, it just looks, well, big. It would be the first to go. Aristotle's "Theory of Poetry and Fine Art" and Lucretius's "De Rerum Natura" – those guys would be next.

But then I hesitated. What if someone shopping at Victoria's Secret stumbled upon my spouse's copy of Augustine's "Confessions?" Would the 4th-century bishop end up among some lace, misunderstood? And Cicero at the outlet mall sounded more like an ancient reality show than an appropriate site for a great orator.

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