I'm forever amazed by the personal stories that are elicited from the people who read my book. Old friends, new friends, complete strangers, it seems like everyone has an emotional attachment to that special time we enjoyed in the muscle car era.
More amazing is how the book has forged new friendships, and strengthened existing ones.
But perhaps the most amazing side-story about Beltsville Shell is what I have come to call, "The Brotherhood of the Travelling Book". I first wrote about this phenomenon back in 2014. Here is the article from that time:
Essentially, a new friend, Thomas Payne, learned of my book, bought a copy, and loved it. He promoted the book through the Garage Journal forum. Then one of the readers came up with the idea that one book should be shared and passed from one reader to the next, each person signing and dating the book. In Thomas' words, here is how the activity started:
"I am the author of a thread on another web site that has long embraced Beltsville Shell. One of our long time contributors on that thread read the book at my recommendation and loved it so much he made the following suggestion: He had finished reading it and was willing to pass the book on to another member. He had signed it on one of the blank pages, dated it and inscribed the city and country where they lived. When the next reader finished it, they in turn would sign off on it and send it to another and then another etc."
The idea of the Brotherhood of the Traveling Book was started over 8 years ago in 2012.
That single copy of Beltsville Shell has now been sent to over 70 different readers, been on 4 different tours all over the USA and Canada, been to Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand. It has met with a 100% positive response."
Here is how the catalog of readers looks as of November 2020:
I'm not sure who gets greater enjoyment out of the World-travelling book, me or Thomas!
In a recent post on the Corvette Forum, Thomas described a bit more about the legacy:
"Over the years, occasionally readers would send back with the book, a little remembrance from them. Here are a few, on the left, a reader from Scandinavia, made a protective cover for the book. The material was left over NOS Saab seat cover material. A gentleman from Amsterdam, Netherlands sent a 13mm wrench which he said was a very common size for fasteners in Europe and a retired UK police officer enclosed an outdated police uniform badge."
Thank you, Thomas, for your support of my book and the many years of friendship!
Cary Thomas, January 2021