It is no secret to those who know me well that I am obsessed with books. All books: chick-lit, science fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, biographies, and even, when I am in the mood, actual “literary fiction.” I truly believe one can never have too many books, a belief that is reflected by the sheer number that crowd every spare inch in my house.
So it goes without saying that as soon as I learned about World Book Night, I eagerly signed up to be a Giver. World Book Night celebrates reading and books, and I wanted to be one of the many passionate volunteers who give away books in their communities to share their love of reading with people who don’t read regularly or own books.
Reading books has brought so much joy to my life and taught me things I never would have learned. These days, with everyone on their laptops, tablets and smartphones, I fear people have become removed from the simple joy of curling up with a good book. I also believe it is important for our children to see us reading books, so they can learn by example how much the love of reading can add to our lives.
World Book Night U.S. is an organization dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. It was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011, and in 2012, it was also celebrated in the US and Germany. Each year, on April 23, tens of thousands of volunteer book givers go out into their communities and give away a total of a half million free World Book Night paperbacks.
The caveat? The books are given only to those people who consider themselves “light” readers, or people who don’t really read books at all.
When givers apply, they select three books they would like to give away from a list of books that have been nominated. The givers must not only have read the books they select, but they must have loved the books enough to convince strangers to read them.
Last year, I handed out copies of Blood Work by one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly, around my office building to those people who claimed to be light or non-readers. While some people looked at me like I was crazy when I approached them (strange woman wielding books and hollering? What’s to be afraid of?), most were receptive and appreciated receiving a book for free (I mean, who could complain about that?) Later, I received some great feedback from many who really enjoyed the book and planned to read more books by the author.
This year I am pleased to be giving away 20 copies of one of my favorite books, Bossypants by consummate funny lady, Tina Fey. For those of you who have not read this wonderful book, please do! Ms. Fey shares many insights on working in a predominantly male field, being a working mother, and a woman in general.
If on April 23, you see someone holding a stack of paperbacks and trying to give them away, please stop and say “hi,” and maybe pick up a free book. And if you are in the Detroit metro area, are a light reader, and would like a copy of Ms. Fey’s book, let me know. I’ll let you know where I’ll be handing my books out. Maybe it will be just what you need to rekindle your love of reading!
Want to join World Book Night?
If you’re interested in giving away books as part of World Book Night, sign up here. But don’t wait too long—applications close at the end of January.