In very English news, everyone's favourite well-mannered witch (sorry Sabrina) Hermione/Emma Watson, has been covertly distributing books on the London Underground. Watson has been sneaking around under the city, like the most conspicuous rat in the world, hiding copies of Maya Angelou's Mom & Me & Mom as part of her feminist book club initiative Shared Shelf.
While we dig Watson's initiative and the feminist slant of her book drop, the concept isn't exactly original. She dropped the copies of the book — which is this month's pick for her online book club — on the Tube (complete with personal notes inside them because she's an angel) as part of Books on the Underground, who have been dropping books all over the shop for years.
Closer to home, Books on the Rail started a book ninja empire in Melbourne that has rapidly been expanding across the country. Founders Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus have been coordinating their book ninja operation since April of this year. It's a simple concept – BotR distributes hundreds of books on Melbourne public transport. You know their work by the sticker on the front, encouraging you to read, enjoy and return the book. They started the project by giving away their own books and op-shop finds and now get regular deliveries from authors and publishers. The project is fuelled by the sustainable energy of social media, with commuters sharing and reviewing their reads under the hashtag #booksontherail. BotR is also gaining steam in Brisbane and Sydney. They've even recently organised a book club to take place on a Melbourne train. Early reviews dub it 'peak Melbourne'.