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Author Maura Pierlot leaves books on benches for bibliophiles to find as a random act of kindness

As per the award-winning author, books are 'meant to be shared' and there's nothing she would like more than strangers reading her collection of books.

Author Maura Pierlot leaves books on benches for bibliophiles to find as a random act of kindness
Cover Image Source: (L) Instagram | @maurapierlot_author; (R) Instagram | @thebookbenchproject

Just a random act of kindness for a stranger feels so energizing. However, doing these gestures without even meeting the person on the other end of the act brings on a different smile. Author and playwright Maura Pierlot has been actively doing this as a part of her ‘The Book Bench’ Project. While many may find it unusual but for the author, it is an opportunity to spread knowledge and smiles. ABC News shared a vibrant interaction with the author about her spontaneous book project that now serves a selfless and bright aim. The project is simple, Pierlot leaves one book per week in certain spaces in the Canberra suburb for strangers to find.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Maura Pierlot (@maurapierlot_author)


 

To add an illuminating touch of positivity, the author leaves an encouraging note to accompany the book for the lucky one to find and write their thoughts about the story inside the cover. “It’s a good way to communicate with people you don’t know. You can be connected with people you don’t know on a strange level, you can feel an affinity to people you’ve never met in your life through a shared love of reading,” remarked Pierlot. She mentioned that the concept began way back in the 1980s when Pierlot was working in Manhattan. Revealing the random yet enthusiastic feeling it gave, the author said, “Rarely in New York at a job would you actually have a lunch break where you could leave and go somewhere for an hour, it’s usually an eat at your desk, kind of job, at least the work I was doing. But when I got a chance, I would go outside with a book sometimes to the park,” Pierlot recalled.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Maura Pierlot (@maurapierlot_author)


 

She then shared the interesting habit she developed saying, “If I happen to finish the book on my lunch break, I would leave it there and I would always put a note ‘to future reader’ saying what I loved about the book, what I didn’t – no spoilers.” However, that’s not all. What charmed her about the whole concept was that the book would reappear. Traveling through different readers with different perspectives, revolving around the area for more gazes to fall upon. “I was amazed, maybe six, eight months later and even a few years later, to find the same books that I had left on benches in New York in a totally different neighborhood with heaps more comments in it,” she said.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Big Ideas Press 💡 (@thebookbenchproject)


 

Adding further, Pierlot said, “I have a lot of books, I inherit a lot of books from people who don’t have room for them, and I like donating back for the community to read. I just think books are meant to be read. They’re meant to be shared.” Apart from sharing stories, knowledge and good reads, the purpose was also to spread kindness randomly. “I think if you’re having a bad day and you just come across a random act, just something that brings you pleasure or makes you stop for a moment and think or makes you smile, that’s literally a good thing,” the author shared. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Big Ideas Press 💡 (@thebookbenchproject)


 

Weighing in on her perspective about reading, Pierlot said, “The arts are really fundamental to our wellbeing. They can help us tap into an inner core of who we are and how we connect to each other,” she said. The author also mentioned that many of her friends and closest acquaintances have come through these random encounters which, in itself, is an inspiration for her.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Big Ideas Press 💡 (@thebookbenchproject)


 

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