BBWN’s Book Swapping Tradition

Dec 2, 2021 | 2022 Winter - Traditions

By Ellyn Ruthstrom

In 2000, I hosted one of the monthly Boston Bisexual Women’s Network brunches and christened the first BBWN Book Swap Brunch at my apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts. (See the photo at left from one of the early swaps and the plethora of books!) And, for the last 21 years, I have hosted or co-hosted a Book Swap Brunch in late summer or early fall so that members can gather together, share book tips, exchange books from their own shelves, and take home new reads. And at the same time, share some delicious food! (Noting that the tradition of a monthly brunch has been a part of BBWN community for far longer, so the swap is a tradition nestled within a tradition.)

After we held an online Book Swap during 2020—we just HAD to do something—we were able to return to an in-person brunch this past September (photo on page 28) and it felt wonderful to sit in our traditional circle in my backyard and chat about a wide range of books we had been absorbing throughout the pandemic. Then we fulfilled the swap traditions. The group spent time looking over the array and then, at a designated moment, each person chose one book. Once that choice was confirmed, it was a free-for-all and people took as many books as they wanted. The 2021 Book Swap was on the smaller side of attendance (some book swaps attract up to 25 people), but it was just what each of us book lovers needed!

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