A giant warehouse full of books? Of all lengths, ages and genres? Free for the taking? Yes, please! This magical place is The Book Thing of Baltimore, a nonprofit organization that gets unwanted books into the hands of readers.
After recently moving back to the DC area from Baltimore, I’ve thought a lot about what I miss most about living in Charm City. My semi-regular pilgrimages to The Book Thing to donate books, find new treasures, inhale the smell of dusty pages and be around fellow book-lovers are among the things I’ll miss most.
Each Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., The Book Thing is open to the public. On a typical weekend, it’s bustling with little kids enthusiastically pawing through bins of picture books, college students looking for copies of their required class reading, retirees looking for gardening guides, late-20-somethings discussing their latest literary conquests in the Classics section, and folks who came to donate a box of books but end up quietly cursing to themselves as they haul two new boxes back to their car. There’s just no resisting the pull of free books.
When you get there, I recommend heading straight for the Russell Recommends bookcase first, which contains recent bestsellers and personal favorites hand-selected by Russell Wattenberg, a former bartender and the intrepid founder of The Book Thing. You can read more about Russell and The Book Thing in this Washington Post article. He also recently started The Book Thing Blog, which I’m looking forward to following. Stop by, find some books, and meet some interesting people at The Book Thing.
The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc.
3001 Vineyard Lane
Baltimore, MD 21218