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April 24, 2016 / ljbradburn-Smith

World Book Night 2016 – The Aftermath

WBN_header_with_logo_AS_v_3For the first time, since I heard about World Book Night, I got my act together and applied in time to be a volunteer. In my humble opinion, the idea of being able to give people free books, to encourage reading for pleasure, is a pretty awesome one. It helps as well that I am a sucker for happy endings, so I live in hope that by doing so I may have helped at least one person discover the joy of reading. If that person could be my never-read-a-book-in-her-life younger sister then I think I may have to buy myself one hundred books as a reward.

The book I received sixteen copies of is a YA fiction called Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo. I’ll admit now that when a box full of shiny new books arrived, addressed to me, I was very tempted to keep one for myself, but being fully commited to the spirit of World Book Night (not to mention being the guilt-ridden human that I am) I managed to resist.

When Saturday rolled around I was excited, but faced with the prospect of having to actually talk to several people I don’t know, about something so dear to me, I suddenly felt a bit nervous too. What if they threw the book in my face? What if absolutely no-one wanted one? And what if for some reason someone called me fat? Despite all these very real worries I forced myself out, bag of books in hand, ready to talk about how much I love reading (which I really really do).

I started off in Basingstoke, comforted by the thought that we were off out for a friend’s 30th that night and if all else failed my friends would take pity on me and take some books off my hands. Walking around with my husband I started looking for likely candidates, I asked if he had any advice on how I should go about “approaching my targets”, he said that the ony advice he had was for me to stop calling people targets as it sounded like something that could end up getting us kicked out of the shopping centre. After that I sent him away to look at sport-related things, knowing he would be happy for the rest of time if that’s how long it took me.

And then I approached my first targets lucky recipients. Having decided to go for people sitting down and therefore hopefully less likely to run away, I walked up to two teenage girls, on a bench. As soon as I started talking to them and explained that I didn’t want any money or signatures they visibly relaxed and seemed really interested in taking a couple of books off my hands, saying they would give them a go even though they didn’t currently read for pleasure. 1-0 to me! I found it a lot easier after that to approach people and get talking to them about books, and whether or not they read, and found on the whole people were really positive and willing to listen. A few refused on the grounds that they said they really wouldn’t read the book and felt it would be wasted on them but no-one verbally abused me or laughed in my face.

With only a few books left to rehome, after my trips around Basingstoke and Alton Sainsbury’s (people also don’t tend to run that fast pushing trolleys), I decided to take the straglers out with me to the pub. The four remaining books were distributed amongst my friends and the table next to where we were sitting. Unfortunately, there was one horrific book incident, I can barely bring myself to tell you about, involving three pages being ripped out and a book left (not I hasten to add by any of my friends). Worry not though, fellow book lovers, because the injured book was rescued by my dear friend Brad who promised to love it and take it on holiday to Indonesia to be read on a beach. His exact words were that he would love it like he would an injured cat and I believe him, even if he had been drinking since that morning.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking vodka and listening to some of my friends read out passages of the book. I think a few of them may even have discussed a career move in to the lucrative world of audiobooks, so watch this space.

World Book Night was even better than I expected. The warm glow of giving something for nothing and sharing a book with my friends was unbeatable. And as for the book destroyers, I feel sad for them that they are missing out on millions of fictional worlds. That’s punishment enough.

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One Comment

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  1. karleegould / Apr 29 2016 9:28 am

    Hahahaha! Was an awesome evening – Reminding B about his book daily babe 😉

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