Thursday, September 11, 2008

What -- a Gideon Bible wasn't good enough for them?

Here's a possible creative writing exercise:

Imagine you check into a hotel room, and the previous inhabitants of the room have left a certain book behind. Write a story about those people based upon the book you've found.

What book would it be? Well, for suggestions you might want to check with the British budget hotel chain Travelodge, which every year produces a list of the books most often abandoned in their hotel rooms. Some of the titles might prompt quite salacious tales (The Best 50 Lovemaking Positions for the Over 50s) and others tales of economic woe (You and Your Money was high on the list). If you wish to locate your story in a specific location, Travelodge can help there too. For example, travelers in Cornwall were most likely to leave behind spiritual titles. And while ten visitors to Peterborough abandoned copies of the Kama Sutra, one traveler to Southampton discarded The Kama Sutra for Dummies. We'll let Peterborough and Southampton battle that one out.

Overall the categories left behind the most were autobiographies, chick lit, and thrillers, and most of the top ten titles were books of specifically British interest (the top-ranked abandoned book was a memoir by Labour politician John Prescott). However, On Chesil Beach came in at number nine (I hope not too many honeymooners were reading that one), and tenth on the list was The Secret.

For more inspiration -- or just to satisfy your curiosity -- The Guardian's article on the Travelodge list can be found here.

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