World Book Night… was awesome.
Y’all. If you ever decide to haul 20 copies of a 600 page book around for a few hours, may you be lucky enough to have a stroller at your disposal.
And an adorable baby helps too.
The first ever American run of World Book Night was, by what I can tell from the twitterverse, a smash success. My husband and I were both happily selected to be book givers, and had a marvelous time wandering the neighborhoods of Chicago surprising random people with copies of our selected book – John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”
People’s responses ranged from skepticism – which I totally understand, because that is exactly how I’d react if a stranger tried to give me a book – to joy and happiness. There were a few people who were really blatant in their refusal, too. My husband, as cheery a dude as there ever was, would ask “Hi! Do you like books?” and a couple people actually said flat-out, “No.” (Also, a few people refused, citing their having a Kindle as a reason not to take a book. This makes no sense to me, as I have a Kindle and still love actual books, but whatever.)
Some highlights of our adventure:
- Giving a copy to the lovely Romanian woman who cleans our apartment building. (She’s the nicest woman on earth, by the way.)
- Surprising the folks in an ice cream shoppe with books. One employee and two customers were over the moon delighted by the books, and the male employee was very open about how he’s not a reader, so he declined. However, we got ice cream, and he gave us extra punches on our store punch card.
- My husband wound up giving away copies to most of the people on his bus on the way home from work. If there was ever a time to need a book, the bus is it.
- There’s a really nice man who asks for change on my street. Whenever I actually have change, I usually give him some. He always waves at my son and calls him “Shorty.” I didn’t have any change, but I gave him a book, and he really liked the idea.
- The woman with the puppy. We asked her “Hey, do you like books?” She replied,” I LOVE Books!”
- Taking a copy into this little craft boutique on Broadway and giving it to the girl behind the counter. She got excited when she saw it was John Irving.
- The girl who exclaimed “I LOVE this book!”
It was a lovely way to spend a day, handing out literature to strangers in the city. We’ll definitely apply to be givers again next year. I’m in love with the idea that there are maybe people reading in Chicago tonight because we handed them a book.
Well done, Book Givers around the world.
Read on, kids.