Print Friendly and PDF With Strings Attached: World Book Night

Saturday, April 26, 2014

World Book Night

Sarah and I were ZBPL's WBN Givers this year.
World Book Night was Wednesday, April 23.  This is my column published in the Zion-Benton News on April 24.  I wrote it before I actually gave the books away. My update: people at the train station were pleasantly surprised and receptive. I had a great chat with a man who said, "I read more than a hundred books a year! The library has a great book sale."  I asked him what he's reading now: Charlatan . I've read it, too -- it's good.
I gave away 18 of the 24 copies of The Botany of Desire, and gave the remaining copies away at Rotary on Thursday morning.

Sarah's selection is the first graphic novel in the WBN lineup. She went to Frank's Diner in Kenosha for her giveaway.

A Book in the Hand is Worth Two on the Shelf 

Who was that woman handing out books at the Metra station yesterday? Why, thank you for noticing.  That was me!    

I was one of the 25,000 book lovers across the U.S. who was a “giver” for the 2014 World Book Night.   This was the third year that I’ve participated.  I became a librarian because I wanted to connect books and people.  WBN is an opportunity to do just that.

This year I gave away copies of Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire to Zion Metra commuters.  It’s one of my favorite books.  I was so pleased that it was on the 2014 WBN list. It’s about human interaction with four plants – apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes.  How have we affected them? How have they affected us?  Pollan provides thought-provoking conclusions.

(If you weren’t at the Metra station, to get a copy, don’t despair.  You can check the book out from ZBPL – as a hardcover or a downloadable audiobook.)

As explains, “WBN is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  On April 23, thousands of people go out into their communities and give away half a million free World Book Night paperbacks .  The idea is to put good books into the hands of people who don’t read very much.  It’s also about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives.”  

April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday (1564) and his death (1616). It’s also the day that Miguel de Cervantes died (1616).   World Book Night began in London at a publishers’ conference in 2010 in response to the question, “How can we encourage more adults to read for pleasure?”  They decided that passionate readers are the best promoters for good books! The first WBN giveaway was in the U.K. in 2011. In 2012 the U.S. celebration began. 

WBN books are special editions of recent adult-interest fiction and nonfiction.  An independent panel of booksellers and librarians chooses each year’s selections from among bookseller and library recommendations. WBN givers also provide suggestions.    

ZBPL also has the books I gave away in 2013 and 2012.  Last year’s book was Michael Perry’s memoir, Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time.  Perry is a paramedic, a musician, and a raconteur in New Auburn, Wisconsin. If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you’ll identify with Perry’s stories. In 2012 I gave away Jeannette Walls’ spellbinding memoir The Glass Castle.   Her childhood was like a fairy tale, too bad to be true. But it was true indeed. She thrived in spite of, or because of, her feckless family.  

Of course, you don’t have to wait until the 2015 World Book Night to discover great reading.   Check out all your library has to offer all year long!

1 comment:

  1. How have I missed this night for the years it has been in existence? Thanks for letting me know. (well, and others too!)


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