Give out awesome books! #WBN13
World Book Night is one of those projects/events that I absolutely adore (if you are already familiar with it and me, this should not come as a surprise).
There are several ideas behind World Book Night, the most basic to me is sharing the love of reading, the ability to share the love of a favorite book by gifting to those around you. This is great for a few reasons, because while I do lend out books I adore, I'm kind of obsessive over keeping my books in good shape and while they're lent I can't read them. I once (knowingly) lent out a copy of American Gods that had to be shipped back to me from across the country. A good book is worth sharing, even if it means borrowing a library copy while yours is out traveling the states.
But there is more to World Book Night than gratuitious book love.
The heart is not simply sharing the love of reading, but rather raising literacy by making fantastic and interesting books accessible and engaging. The chosen titles each year serve to wet a whole range of tastes; titles can be fiction, non-fiction, classics, best sellers, adult, young adult, or other. This is the second year that World Book Night has happened in the US, (though it has had success for several years in Europe), and both of the years I have been blown away by the book selections, including the presence of some of my own favorite titles.
Being someone who reads voraciously for pleasure and has mostly had easy access to books I enjoy reading (there's an interesting story about me involving Sunday School and being tested for a learning disability in relation to why that statement deserves a "mostly"), I admittedly have trouble with the concept of not enjoying reading. Enjoyment of reading I believe definitely helped the development of my literacy levels as I grew up (and in turn my high reading level meant that even when I didn't particularly enjoy school assigned books I could at least read the assignments quickly and move on to a book I did want to read). My mom is likely largely responsible for indoctrinating me into the world of bibliovores, she always had a book on her, had a fantastic collection of books, and never told me I couldn't read a book because of whatever reason. So I had an advantage.
Literacy is not just about enjoyment of reading, but about access. I was able to enjoy reading because I had fantastic access to explore and discover not only that I liked reading, but to discover drastically different worlds of literature. When it comes down to it, that is a big part of what World Book Night is trying to address. The intent is for givers to share books with light and non-readers, and each year the response by receivers of books has been overwhelming.
The cut off date to apply to be a Giver is January 25th. Go, check out the list of books, and sign up to give books whether it is to co-workers, patients in a waiting room, prison inmates, strangers on the street, or whomever you wish to reach out to.
For those wanting to participate or are just curious, World Book Night can be found on Twitter: