Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | April 23, 2012

World Book Night

Today, April 23rd, is World Book Night. I volunteered to be part of this effort which started in the UK and had its first time ever in the US today. All I had to do was sign up online, pick a book (actually pick three and they chose one of those), go pick up my box of 20 books from the library where they got sent and find a place to hand them out. The very hardest thing for me, who hates to talk to people I don’t know, was accosting people and offering them a book. But I mentally girded up my loins, brought girl child with me, screwed my courage to the sticking point and did it.(How many metaphors does it take to hand out books?)

Here I am outside the Flemington Mall holding two copies of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. The reception I got from the people I talked to was interesting. Many more women than men would actually meet my eyes and listen to what I was saying. Most of the men just walked right past, a few shaking their head, but most pointedly ignoring me. A few people asked me what the catch was and were surprised that there was none. Some were really excited to be getting a free book. “It’s really free? Really?” A few were kind of dubious but took it anyway. It was a cold and damp night so there weren’t a huge number of people walking past although it’s a well-traveled spot – next to the Burlington Coat Factory, in front of Panera and Coldstone Creamery and just down from a Kohl’s, and it took me about a half an hour to get rid of all the books. My favorite people that took the books were a pair of teenagers coming out of Coldstone, pierced and grungy-clothed, who got totally interested and stopped to talk for a while about the book. The other was two young women who started dancing at the idea of a free book. My kind of people! The girl child came with but wouldn’t stand out there with me so she went into Panera and sat at the window where she could see me and wave encouragement.

Once I recover from the excitement of doing it, I may have to consider doing it again next year.



  1. […] World Book Night ( […]

  2. Oh, I SO wanted to do that! I have to figure out how to volunteer next year. What a wonderful project. And good on you for doing it!

    • Just go to the link, it’s in the blog post, and it will tell you how to sign up for next year.

  3. Yay you!! My Sweet Babou has social anxiety and would rather staple his tounge to Rush Limbaugh than talk to strangers. So, seriously, yay you!

    • Thanks!! I have no trouble talking in front of groups – teacher, y’know! – but when it comes to walking up to perfect strangers and talking! Yikes!

  4. I’ve never heard of this, but I want to do it now!

    Great picture of you, by the by. 😉

  5. […] World Book Night ( […]

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