Yesterday I received the official notice that I have been chosen to be a World Book Night Giver. With hundreds of thousands of other people, I will be part of an effort to give away a million books to light or non-readers. Once again I will work with my wonderful friends and I have been so heartened to hear from other readers on Goodreads that they too have signed on to be part of the fun this year.
I went in search of what I wrote about last year’s event as I look forward to making this year even better (perhaps without my youngest son in tow this time.)
Are any of you givers this year?
Originally published April 24, 2012
So I participated in the first-time-in-America World Book Night last night. As with many things in my life, it didn’t go according to plan.
Way back when (6 months ago), I stumbled across a Facebook post about World Book Night in the UK. When I followed the link, I saw it was coming to the US in 2012. I love books. I love promoting books. I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I signed up for the newsletter.
When it came time to actually register and request books, I faltered. Once again, the idea of this was more appealing than actually committing to the follow-through.
Choosing titles to give away was no problem, but writing about a place I’d go and why I wanted to do this was a little harder. I’m a curl up on the couch and share my book love with like-minded people kind of girl. The thought of seeking out a place where I could find light or reluctant readers scared me. But I did it.
Then I was chosen and I had to move beyond my comfort zone. I had a plan. I would go to the train station and just smile and offer my book, The Kite Runner, to strangers. Gulp.
As the date approached, I turned again and again to the virtual world for courage. I followed @wbnamerica on Twitter and “met” thousands of other people giving away books. I promoted World Book Night on Facebook and received loads of encouragement from friends and family. Ultimately, I connected with real-life friends and revised my work-alone plan.
Feeling better about a group of us working together with several titles, I wore my button, passed out stickers and packed my box. Then real life interfered with my best-laid plans. My husband could not get home in time for me to meet up with my friends. Sigh.
I could have used this as a reason to not interact with strangers, but I surprised myself by adapting quickly. I brought my youngest son along for the “fun.” He was none to pleased about being taken away from his backyard soccer game to “sell” books, but he had no choice. I explained how much this worldwide event meant to me and he agreed to help.
In the end, we had a blast walking up to strangers, talking up our titles and seeing people walk away with a new book. After a slow start, and quite a few skeptical looks, one train’s worth of commuters cleared out most of our books. My son was cute and charming and more than willing to run back to the box to refresh our armloads of books. I felt like part of a much broader community as I followed the experiences of givers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Now that it is over, I can forever claim being one of the first in America. And, so can my youngest son. I like that.
Some of my favorite #wbnamerica tweets:
“Sometimes we need books. And sometimes books need us.” Perhaps half a million free books started a new conversation last night @wbnamerica
Gave Bel Canto to a bartender, barista, counter girl, pizza guy, new moms, dog walkers and a butcher. Great night! #wbnamerica
The Book Shepherd @mybookshepherd
Yesterday was World Book Night-continue it and donate books to those who will open them and fall lin for the love of the word.#wbnamerica
Gabe Eggerling @saysgabe: I have always been told it’s a Gift to receive a book, but thanks to @wbnamerica I can say it’s also a Gift to give a book!!
- World Book Night is here! (walkietalkiebookclub.wordpress.com)
- Happy World Book Night (lucybirdbooks.wordpress.com)
- World Book Night (karenb1963.wordpress.com)
- World Book Night 2012 Part 2 (sallyjenkins.wordpress.com)
- World Book Night Event- Encourage reading! (suzettemariel.wordpress.com)
11 thoughts on “Thursday Flashback — World Book Night”
Great initiative! Wish I could do it here in France. It would be difficult to hand out books for English speakers unless I was in Paris. Oh well have a nice day! 🙂
Didi, I know this started in the UK, but, yes, I guess the language barrier would be a problem in France. You can still celebrate with us in spirit on April 23rd.
Will try to do an interesting post that day. 🙂
I’m a giver this year too!
Jessica! That is so awesome, and it’s so good to hear from you. Way to go girl!
I was just wondering yesterday if you were going to be a giver this year (I’ve been seeing an uptick in World Book Night posts). So great that you’re doing it again this year — here’s hoping for excellent weather!
Thanks Joan. Yes there’s been some WBN mania the past couple days. I love it.
Congrats on being selected again! Do you know yet which book you’ll be giving away? I didn’t sign up because I have no idea what my living situation will be come April (college grad living at home, looking for a job in another city; I don’t know where I’ll be living or what my work life will be like by then), but I hope to participate next year. It really seems like a slightly scary but incredible experience!
That’s great news Alena, I am so pleased for you and like Deidre, I will watching from the virtual sidelines, it’s such a great initiative. Look forward to hearing which book you will be giving away and seeing the list!
I had to choose my top three but it was so long ago that I don’t know what I chose other than Language of Flowers.
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