April 23, 2012

a prayer for world book night

Me picking up my copies of John Irving's
A Prayer for Owen Meany, last Monday
from a local bookstore. I will share these with
20 lucky Lincolnites, today.
I love books and reading. Obviously. It's more than a hobby. It's my passion.

I am honored and excited to be a book giver for World Book Night 2012. Established in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2011, WBN aims to spread a love of reading and books. WBN does it through social media and passionate readers -- like me -- going into their communities to distribute books to light or non-readers. This year the U.S. joins the festivities, and I hope to see more countries involved next year.

(Read more about World Book Night here.)

After reading dozens of articles about bookstores closing and an increasing number of adults giving up reading, spreading literacy is critical. When I heard about WBN in January, I knew I had to get involved. I went through the application process, put down a request for my top three books and patiently (and sometimes impatiently) waited to find out if I was selected.

I confess, I shrieked when I received my acceptance letter from the WBN team. I love books, and thanks to WBN, I had a new avenue for sharing that love with my community. How awesome is that?

In my excitement, I showed up at my local bookstore during lunch the first day my books were available. I couldn't wait to get my hands on them and visualize my strategy. As an added perk, I spent an enjoyable 10 minutes chatting up a few women while I waited. Each had a copy of E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey and one had Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay for her daughter. I told them my thoughts about each book, and we swapped recommendations. It took the edge off a difficult Monday, and I was in a much better mood the rest of the day. This is why I love books. They always make me feel better.

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face, not typical for a Monday. I am excited to get out there and talk to people. Through the conversations I have with acquaintances and strangers, I hope to learn more about why people don't take time to read. I don't plan to become preachy or condescending. I want to know, because as a writer, reader and book lover, I  want to find different approaches to reach people.

Today, I will share copies of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany with 20 lucky Lincolnites.

About the book: In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary and terrifying. 

This book was my No. 1 pick for a few reasons. First, I have read a few of John Irving's books, and he's a great author with a unique perspective. Second, I like this book. Third, both of my parents love this book. My mom considers it one of her all-time favorites, and I grew up watching her read and re-read it. Mom lent me her well-loved copy more than a year ago, and she has been nice enough to not ask for it back, yet.

I am fortunate for my upbringing. I grew up with parents who read to me and read to themselves. They took me to the library regularly. They let pick out books from the school book fairs and book orders. When I was in trouble for fighting with my sisters or not cleaning my room, they never took away my reading privileges. They gave me a reading lamp for my bunk bed so I could read before bed. They were even cool enough not to chastise me for frequently staying up past my bedtime when I was too caught up in a story to sleep.

When I thought about the book I most wanted to share with others, I picked one that my parents -- who gave me and supported my passion for reading -- would give. As I talk to people, today, I am not only sharing my love. I'm sharing my parents' love, too.

Check back tomorrow to hear about my WBN adventure. I will also post live updates on Twitter throughout the day.

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  1. Can't wait to read how it went.

  2. Hey, another WBN giver here. I found your blog via the retweets on Twitter. Thanks for sharing about how your parents encouraged your reading! My mom was like that too -- always taking me to the library. I'm forever grateful :)

    1. Thank you! I'm glad to hear about your mom, too. Parents are so important in promoting good reading habits. Hope your WBN experience was awesome, too.