World Book Night is On Its Way!

My husband alerted me to the opportunity to give free books away to people.  “You love books,” he said, stating the obvious. “You should do this.”  My first reaction was negative. I didn’t want to apply for something and then be soundly rejected – I hate being rejected.  But when I read through the website and looked at what World Book Night was all about, I had to agree.  I really should do this.  I am the person World Book Night seeks!  Me me me.

My kind of home decorating. credit: flickr by henry...

So, I took a look at the book choices, and a few sprang out at me right away.  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a favorite, and it had what I wanted: chapters that could be consumed as short stories.  But isn’t this book taught to exhaustion in most schools?  Then The Kite Runner appealed to me. I liked the idea of having a novel set in Afghanistan.  Americans are not the greatest world historians, you know.  And this novel gives a lot of background to the conflicts we jumped into all those years ago.  Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake is another favorite of mine, but it can be confusing for reluctant readers because it does a good bit of shifting in the narrative.  And since I wouldn’t be teaching the book, just handing it over in good faith, I wanted a book that had a fighting chance to be read through.

And then I saw it: The Things They Carried. Not only could the chapters be read as short stories, but it deals with another war with a longer history than our meddling (What do you mean the French influenced Vietnamese cuisine?). It also has some commonly avoided topics like suicide, depression, and soldiers returning home with unclassified trauma.  Also, I have taught the book a few times, and I figured I could write up a little “Here’s Why I Chose this Book” paragraph to include inside the cover.

My original plan was to arrange to give the books away to a group at the high school.  Maybe I’d do a mini-lesson with one of the chapters; maybe I’d just talk about what I love about the book.  Perhaps I’d even plan an introductory lesson to provide context for the book.  This grand scheme was not to be, but the daydream was quite pleasant.

So, now I’m recruiting people I think could benefit from the novel’s themes and style.  My teenaged next-door-neighbor and her friend are in.  And I have a few acquaintances and friends I think would benefit from reading the novel as well.  However, because I was counting on my daydream coming true, I didn’t plan well enough in advance and I don’t want to just throw books at people and shriek, “You look like you need a great soldier’s story in your life! Read it!”  And there is pressure, too! Apparently some people are super creative about finding readers.  Also, I want to find the target audience for World Book Night: Reluctant and/or Light readers.  I have a few ideas in the works, but I’d love your suggestions!

For more about World Book Night in our area, check out Baristanet and Watchung Booksellers. 


About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. Do The Most Good.
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9 Responses to World Book Night is On Its Way!

  1. May I suggest Little Bee by Chris Cleave

    • I loved that book, too! We made our requests months ago – so no going back now. I wanted something more male-oriented, since men tend to be slightly less into fiction. I almost chose Ender’s Game because I’m a big sci-fi lover!

  2. This is such a great cause. I wish we have something like this in Malaysia. Or maybe I can start one? *wink*

  3. What did you come up with? Where is it going to be? Do you just hand them out or do you and your participants gather? I’m cross referencing with the sites linked in your post, but I’m still somewhat confused. Maybe it’s the lack of my daily Monster energy drink. If they did this with digital books, and gathered a group via Skype or Google Hangouts, that would be great. Then, I totally would join you, being a light reader who is craving a good book (it’s been a while since I’ve read fiction and my brain hurts from non-fiction). Let us know how it goes!

    • I’ve made some connections with my local Food Pantry as well as the Salvation Army, and I think that will take care of the copies I have. Sorry about the confusion; I never really did explain the whole thing, did I? Basically, publishers print a special batch of books to donate – and “givers” sign-up to hand them out to reluctant, light, or even non-readers as a way of recruiting more followers in the Cult of Reading. Some are non-fiction, or at least memoir. I get the ease of the digital book idea, but a lot of the target audience may not own eReaders, or even have access to the internet. But I’ll bet that comes soon! Check it out and maybe you can be a giver next year! I would love that. 🙂

  4. Young men are a good target, where do they hang out, sports practice perhaps? A gym? A DVD rental place. Good luck, you’re onto something great, I’ve never heard of this book, I am intrigued. I know the French influenced the Vietnamese language, because they wrote it with the latin alphabet and they serve coffee and croissant in the cafes of Hanoi, I even saw an old Vietnamese man wearing a black beret, something we rarely see in France today.

  5. Pingback: Giving it Away for Free: Books | This Weblog is Unique. Just Like They All Are.

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