World Book Night America – It’s Time!

23rd April 2012

Yea! It’s here! World Book Night America is the product of a lot of different people’s and organizations’ hard work. As the website says, World Book Night is “a celebration of reading and books” – and I am honored to be a part of that. It is incredibly powerful to know that the US, UK, and Ireland will all be giving out books the same night.

When I applied to be a giver, I mentioned in my application that one of the locations I wanted to include is the downtown branch of my library. I’ve mentioned in the past that it is a gathering place for a lot of low-income or homeless people. Here’s the thing, guys: everyone always has a book in his or her hands. It’s fantastic. So for me to be able to give a book – one that these people could own – is really important to me. And as my mom mentioned, it kind of sucks to give homeless people books and not food…so she’s making sandwiches. Thanks, Mom – for making sandwiches and for thinking about it when my head is in the clouds. My mom and sis are both joining me, and after the library, we’ll either head to the park or to a local hospice center, depending on how many books we have left.

My birthday is Thursday, and honestly, I have to say this is the best present. WBN sent me a box of 20 books, and I get to give them to others!! Sorry, I just can’t quite get over it. Which book? Well, you guys know I rave about The Book Thief. It was my first choice from the list of 30 books to give out, and I got it! It’s ironic because when I first read this book, I went and bought two extra copies so that I could pass them on to other people (my mom and bff) to read and discuss.

I went to Barnes & Noble last Tuesday and picked up my box. They said there were actually 6 or so other boxes there, and I was so curious. How did other people in my area hear about it? If I weren’t a blogger, I don’t know that I would have known about World Book Night. Some bookstores and libraries are having events so the givers can meet, but unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case in my area. Ah well.

I promise to take photos and record my experience for you guys. I’m a little nervous. Giving away books sounds like a piece of cake, right? But what if they think I’m handing out religious tracks or pushing a political agenda? I would certainly be a bit wary of anyone approaching me with a “free” book. Yeah, right. Nothing in life is free. I can hear it now.

How will I combat this? I’m going to be a book pusher. I’ll be giving away The Book Thief, but the only thing I’ll be taking is, hopefully, a contentedness for having participated. I’ll try to use a bit of humor, disarm possible recipients with my charm (*snort*), and get those books out.

If you’re participating or have participated in the past, I’d love to hear your advice or your own anxieties. Where will you be giving away books and which book is it? No matter what, have fun tonight! And if you’re not a giver, keep an eye out for those who are. It should be a really neat experience.

  • I love that you chose The Book Thief–it’s such a wonderful book. It’s also wonderful that your mom is making sandwiches. Have fun tonight!

    • Such a fantastic book. I’m making something special to go along with the books…straight from The Book Thief. I’ll share tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Abookishaffair

    Ooo, that’s so awesome that you picked the Book Thief. I loved that book so much! I think a lot of people who haven’t read it will love it too!

    • I know! I’ve taught it in my freshman lit courses, and almost all the students really enjoy it.

  • Sara (wordyevidenceofthefact.b

    Yay, The Book Thief! Yay, Jenn! Yay, World Book Night. I am SOOOOO getting on board with this next year. Even if I have to sell my next-born child to do it.

    • I love all the cheering! Rah Rah! ๐Ÿ™‚ It really is so cool. I remember being jealous that the UK got to do it last year, so as soon as I heard it was in the US this year, I knew I wanted to participate.

  • CassandraNeace

    I’m starting in Hermann Park, and I have extras to give away. I’ll see where I go from there. The coolest thing is that, while Serg has to work, a couple of his friends (mine too, I guess) from work are going to try to help me out. I’m so excited!

    • That is SO cool that you got extras. Did someone call to say they wouldn’t be able to participate? Anyway, I think it will be fun to have people with us. Should be a fun, interesting night!

      • CassandraNeace

        The had extras so they could give them to people who didn’t know about it in time to apply to be a giver, but who came to their big launch party last week – and there were some left from that. There were more that I didn’t pick up, but I ended up with about 30 extra books.

        • That is so cool! Have fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Good luck, Jenn! I’m linking to you and will check in on you this evening… My venue changed, but I’ll make due.

    • Oh no! I hope your plans weren’t thrown off too much. I know a bunch of people have had to change their sites. Hoping all goes well tonight!

  • Ali Watts

    I’m giving away copies of Ender’s Game on the DC metro today. During my 20 minute commute this morning I found new homes for 8 copies and had some really fabulous conversations with folks about how much they’d always wanted to read the book but never had time/access to a copy. I’m loving the wide demographic here– some of my new book friends were middle school boys on their way to class, others were homeless women of my grandmother’s generation who wanted to take the book to their shelter for a read-aloud. Books are such a great ice-breaker and it’s wonderful to know that the free copies are going to people who will really treasure them! Hope you have a blast with your donations tonight– I’ll check back in to hear how it went!

    • I’m so glad you had such a great experience. This is the part I think is so cool. Making these brief connections is interesting, too. I love that Ender’s Game was such a great conversation starter. Heading out in about an hour!

  • YAY! So excited it’s tonight! Love your enthusiasm and the fact your mom made sandwiches. How can someone not appreciate receiving a free book AND sandwich from a stranger? If that ever happens to me, I’d call it a great day.

    If you fear people being wary of you, though (I’ve experienced that in my past attempts to give books to strangers), how about wearing the WBN in a lanyard with a note that says something like, “I’m a WBN rep” to make you look more “official”?

    • Oops, I meant wearing the WBN *logo* in a lanyard.

    • Haha! You’re right. Sandwich and book = perfect combination.

      I am really nervous about that part. B&N didn’t give me a pin, but I’m going to rig something. Glad I’m bringing support. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Andi

    I actually did not jump in on World Book Night (sadly) because I knew it would take an act of Congress (in my area) for people to actually take the books. I hope you have better luck! Looking forward to reading about your experience.

    • Andi – it was great. Not many people were reluctant once they realized we weren’t selling them books. All in all, I’m really happy with how it all happened.

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  • Ti

    First off…yay for you! I didn’t do it. I chickened out! I was worried about people thinking I was a pushy woman or something. Also, I think it’s so sweet that your mom offered to make sandwiches.

    • She is a pretty darn sweet lady. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yeah – I was worried, but I really needn’t have been.