Normally it’s “finders keepers, losers weepers,” but that is not the case for Shaheryar Malik, who cleared off his book shelves and left his belongings out on the streets of NYC for the taking.
Malik told The Guardian the idea for the project came while he was crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and was about to take a selfie. He stopped himself and thought, “Instead of taking the picture that has been taken millions of times, I’m going to share something different with the world.”
It was then he began The Reading Project. For the project he stacked groups of 40-50 books in public places like Times Square, Central Park, and, of course, the Brooklyn Bridge. He then took a picture of the stack and walked away.
The stacks were left with a note encouraging passersby to take a book. Inside each book was a bookmark with his email, encouraging participants to reply upon completion of the book. The project is meant to be part-experiment and part-commentary on the way we live today.
The photos alone are intriguing, but along with the backstory they’re downright inspiring. Malik got responses from people in 30 different countries.
“I have given away something, but I’ve never really left them. What you’ve read becomes you and stays in you, and now they carry on and get extra lives. A woman in Holland said she’d left it on a train there for someone else to pick it up.”
BRB, going to raid my bookshelves.