There has been a frenzy of paperbacks as World Book Night got under way yesterday. My box of books (Beloved by Toni Morrison) arrived last week but I waited until yesterday to hand them out. I still have some for people that I am running into this week, but they have all been accounted for.
Originally I hoped to get a womens centre in Liverpool to get involved, but after 4 attempts at contact with no response, I gave them out to family, friends and work colleagues. This was done directly, giving them to those who had shown an interest, but also by leaving some anonymously in our staff room with a note saying 'Take a book'. Both ways were fun, with some interesting conversations about the book itself, as well as the event. I sat in the staff room at lunch time, quietly watching peoples reactions, and some had already been taken, but one man, who does not really know me, so was unaware of my involvement, was really made up, showing his friends and saying he had not read that one but had heard it was good. It was nice to see him go away smiling and saying what a great idea it was. I also saw someone else walk by with a newspaper and a book under his arm. Another copy finds a home.
I have heard a lot talk on the net, positive and negative, about this event, and there have been some good alternative events supporting independent bookshops. There have also been some teething problems with the website, but all in all I think it went well.
I think anything that promotes reading is a good thing and this event has got people talking about books, watching the programs about peoples favourites and I have enjoyed all of it. Plus I got a book from another giver...Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.
It will be interesting to see if there is a lasting impact from the event. The WBN people are planning another for next year so hopefully books will get some similar national attention then. It has been fun celebrating the importance of books with others, and getting to share one of my favourites with so many. I hope, if you were involved, that you got to enjoy it too, either by giving or receiving a book, and sharing your thoughts about books in general.