For those of you who don't know, World Book Night is a very unique literacy initiative. From their site:
What is World Book Night?
World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. To be held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland on April 23, 2012. It will see tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving out free World Book Night paperbacks.
World Book Night, through social media and traditional publicity, will also promote the value of reading, of printed books, and of bookstores and libraries to everyone year-round.
Additionally, April 23 is UNESCO’s World Book Day, chosen due to the anniversary of Cervantes’ death, as well as Shakespeare’s birth and death.The selection process was fairly simple. We filled out applications with our top three books we could share passionately with non-readers. We had to explain how we would share the book and where we would go to do so. We were encouraged to find a non-traditional venue and folks who wouldn't normally read.
I initially coordinated the giveaway at a friend's ice cream store, mostly because the pace is slow and relaxed and people are already doing something they enjoy (eating ice cream). But just as I was setting up, I received a phone call about a meeting I needed to attend and had completely forgotten about in my excitement for World Book Night. So I took my books and went to the meeting, where I graciously explained why I was late and then shared some of the books with the folks at the meeting. By the time the meeting was finished, the ice cream store was very quiet. I looked around the corner and saw a bustling laundromat, which was filled with a captive audience of folks waiting for their clothes to dry.
I walked in there and started talking to folks sitting at tables and chairs about the book I was giving away and why they would enjoy Stephen King's The Stand. While it is a daunting looking book (over 1400 pages!), the story is so compelling and the characters well developed that it's a perfect book to have as an ongoing read. I re-read it just last month in preparation for World Book Night and still found myself riveted. It's a timeless story of good vs. evil in an apocalyptic world.
The Stand wasn't the only book to choose from. Thirty books were available, including a selection by Maya Angelou, The (very very popular) Hunger Games, A Prayer for Owen Meany (which a fellow book lover friend of mine was chosen to give away), Lovely Bones, My Sister's Keeper, Friday Night Lights. Many of the books were also made into movies. There is something magical about sharing the "real" story with someone who has only seen a movie. For example, some of the television adaptation of The Stand was incredibly well done, but other parts, not so much. A book is like having a treasure map to all the hidden secrets of a tale.
The other books I had applied to giveaway were The Glass Castle, a memoir of a young woman who will astound you with her resiliency or The Lovely Bones, which I found to be an amazing story of healing in the face of something completely unforgivable.
I've also shared a photo of one of my happy recipients. I would love to hear how well she liked the book!