New! The HPL Book Pass — Who Wants to Play?!

Her Packing List is a community of awesome female travelers.

We all have tips we want to share, and we all have things that inspired us that we feel others should benefit from, too.

To help build a little bit of community (and just do something fun at the same time), I’ve put together an idea called the HPL Book Pass. As this idea is still in its infancy, I would love your feedback, and most of all, to know who would like to participate!

The HPL Book Pass

girl reading on planeThe HPL Book Pass will basically be a book chain. One person will read a book and then send it to another female in the chain, in another part of the world.

But, the book has to be one that is both owned by and means something to the person starting the chain.

That’s pretty normal, but there’s more…

I want to the book to turn into a scrapbook. Whoever has the book at any time can highlight passages, write notes or stories in the margin, staple or tape tickets to the top of a page, or simply just note where in the world they are reading a chapter at that moment.

As the book passes on, the story being told grows to include the notes and personal accounts that might be added by each new reader of the book.

Eventually the book will be sent back to the original owner, who will then have the chance to re-read this book that means so much to them along with the stories, notes and additions added by these other traveling females around the world. Cool, no?!

The Process

Let’s say our first book pass includes 4 people (the book owner + 3 people who have never read the book before).

Person 1: Book owner. She might highlight some passages in the book that are extra special or extra “must-read” for the future readers in the chain. She sends the book to Person 2.

Person 2: Nancy in Paris. Nancy spends most of her time reading the book in a cafe in Paris. She takes the time to write notes in the book, tell a personal story that relates to one of the chapters and also inserts the receipt of one of her coffees into a chapter that actually talks about sitting at a cafe in Paris (for example). She sends the book to Person 3.

Person 3: Sue in Ukraine. Sue has a totally different perspective on the book. She doodles pictures in the margins and puts inspirational quotes in the cover. She sends to Person 4.

Person 4: Kate in China. Kate is working as an English teacher and is tired of her location. She reads the book and is inspired to book a ticket to the place talked about in the book! She writes her story at the end of the book and sends it back to Person 1.

Person 1: She re-reads her favorite book with all the notes from the other women. It becomes a very special book placed forever on her bookshelf.

The Logistics

There are obviously some issues that might come up along the way. I would really hope that the book makes it back to the original owner, but there is always a chance that someone might lose the book along the way. Each person participating in the book pass will have to pay to have the book shipped to the next person in the chain.

To keep the book pass to a reasonable time frame, perhaps the people involved need to agree they will read and pass the book before a month’s time.

I would definitely want to keep the community updated with the book’s progression along the way, so the people involved will need to send me an email to let me know they have sent the book, and also received it.

The original book owner will be asked to do a final read of the book and write about how her perspective or feelings for the book have changed because of the inclusions from the other readers.

I would love for each person involved to write a post about the experience and the book on their own blog, which I will then promote here on HPL. However, what do you think?

What Do You Think?

Do you think this is a cool idea? Is there anything you would add or change from these rules? Lastly, who has a book they love and would love to have turned into an awesome scrapbook?

Let me know, and we’ll get this sorted hopefully for a start in the new year!


  1. says

    Brooke, I love this idea! A good book is a journey in and of itself and having comments, stories, etc. from people reading it who are either on journeys of their own or at home dreaming about one would be such a wonderful way to read. Let me know if you want any help getting this off the ground, I’d be happy to pitch in in whatever way is helpful!

  2. says

    I’d participate! Books + mail are pretty much my favourite thing. Hahaha. Although I have to say, it’ll be hard to part with my favourite books. 😉

  3. says

    Count me in! I love reading and this sounds really fun. Sort of like a book club that never has a meeting:-)

    Keep me posted on any developments or any help you may need!

  4. says

    I love this idea Brooke!
    In our digital world this is lovely way to connect like-minded women (although like Candice it is hard for me to part with my “friends”) I am drawn to the serendipity aspect of it as well, having had moments of reading a book that was in my life just at the right moment and wanting to share that with others (more than turning to the person in the seat next to me MCO-JFK and saying “hey! in this book about Florida the main character just decided to got on an adventure to NYC! How crazy right?!” Somehow that fell flat) I’ve also a little guiltily turned to a good book in a foreign country just for a little English “break,” so I appreciate the appeal of having that connection to others on a deeper level.
    The (future) librarian in me is thinking through logistics like perhaps a Google doc to track books initially or even LibraryThing? Oh and having an inscription on the inside listing each woman’s name, dates read and location(s). Ok was that too much card catalog? I see it as an extension of personal notes and inspiring in its own way.
    Sorry to mind dump, just excited about the idea. I’m new to your site, so happy I found you, and look forward to learning more here.
    Long Live Marginalia!

    Or in other words: “yes, please add me to your list”

  5. says

    LOVE this!! Definitely count me in! It’s a part of travelling I love. I have books that have been collected in various countries through swaps and trades. Nothing like having a story within a story!

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