Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Highs and Lows of World Book Night 2013

Pre-Set-Up Picture of Mall Common
This year, figuring there was no better place to find a bunch of reluctant readers, I carried my case of books to a local shopping mall where I set up shop.  Within a few minutes, I was ready to go and the first curious shoppers were trying to figure out what the catch was.  This reminder of the cynicism that is so much a part of today's world was the first indication that this was going to be a good bit tougher than last year when I brought my books to an assisted living facility where I was met by a small crowd of eager readers.

Michael Perry's "Population: 485"
Within 45 minutes, though, I had given away about half the books.  I was appalled, however, by the number of people who stopped by just long enough to rather proudly proclaim that they do not read books and have no interest in ever doing so, thank you very much.  When I had heard enough of that, I decided to pack up and go inside the mall.  And there I struck gold when I spotted all those bored husbands sitting on mall benches waiting for their wives to finally claim them so they could go home.  My people.

Bored men with nothing to read who dared not stray from where their wives sat them?  What more could I ask for?  Within an hour I had given away the last 11 books, talked books with some nice guys of all ages, and walked away convinced that each of them was sincerely grateful for the book I left behind.  (I was even referred to as a "lifesaver" by two of the guys.  Now that's appreciation.)

So the highs easily trumped the lows, and I can't wait to learn what World Book Night 2014 will bring.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, I was wondering how it went.

    I, too, am struck silent by the people who seem proud to tell me they "never read". What do you say to that??

  2. Sam, I also got quite a few never read people. They seem proud of it, like they are way toooo busy for that. I personally sacrifice tv time or internet time for my first love!!
    It snowed yesterday so we had fewer people than normal come in to the elevator/feed store where I work and gave out books. The ones that received seemed grateful, but some were regular readers.(had to be done!)
    Fun day though. Love to do it again next year!

  3. Not much can be said to that, Susan. I just acknowledged them and moved on to the next person. And that, as you well know, is not an easy thing to do for people like us.

  4. Kayo, congrats on getting the book giving job done under the weather limitations. I do aim for "nonreaders" but you can't force them to actually take a book, so I always end up giving a few to very grateful readers who love the idea of getting a new book for free...and I know those will actually be read, as opposed to those that are more reluctantly accepted.

  5. What a neat concept -- just giving away books like that. I've never heard of it before, I think it's real neat.
    On a completely unrelated topic, I just came back from a week of training in Atlanta -- and made new friendships with about 25 people from all over the U.S.
    My conclusion?
    And I mean that in a good way!
    What a great time I had with these guys from Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Wow! I could not keep up with them. Do Texans ever sleep?

  6. It's a great concept, Dave. If it's not done up in Canada yet, I don't know why...although this is only the second year it's done this side of the border. It started in the U.K. a number of years ago and is slowly spreading to the rest of the world, I think.

    Glad you had fun in Atlanta with a few of my kindred souls. Gotta admit that sleep is kind of rare for some of the folks down here.