It’s “Media Monday”, when I do a short, sharp post on the latest news in writing, books or fiction…
23rd April 2012. Today is World Book Night, and to be honest, at first, I didn’t really know what it was about. Turns out it’s about a lot. Tonight 1 million books will be given away. 1 million. It’s a follow-up to its more famous brother you may have heard about, World Book Day, and its main drive? To get people who wouldn’t normally read to pick up a book and, well, read.
A lot of people may be cynical about this. How do the organisers know that the people who they are trying to target are going to actually get the books? How can they monitor whether they’re being read or not? Who will distribute them? Well, turns out the last part is the easy one. Some 20,000 people have volunteered to give away the free books, books that range from classics such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, to Andrea Levy’s A Small Island. Now, I’m actually not one of the distributors tonight, but I know, if these volunteers are anything like me, they’ll try to ensure the books get to the right people in the right way (apparently, their remit is to give books to 48 strangers). While for many of us, reading is as familiar as breathing, for others getting into books may not have come as naturally – and it can take a donation of a book from another to spark a literature love that can sometimes, quite literally, change lives. Take inmate Daniel Bramley, a father who read Martina Cole’s novel The Take in prison – and felt it changed his life for the better. The book, about a dad who comes put of prison to his wife and kids, made Daniel want to improve his life – and part of that was by ensuring other inmates got the chance to read.
And that’s it, really. It’s all about getting the chance to read. While yes, the organisers of WBN can never accurately know whether their books are read in the end or not, what they do know is that through distributing them via libraries, the London Marathon yesterday, celebrities givers, and so many more routes, they at least are creating that chance. And who knows where it could lead to? Reading creates writing, and writing can change the way we think, the way we live, the way we are. As the author Emily Barr said in her excellent blog post about a children’s writing club which she runs, encourage your children to write – they are amazing. Just think – if we all had that approach to reading, writing, no matter what out age, just think of all the things we could do, we could change. Now that’s a World Book Night I’d like to read about.
To find out more about World Book Night 2012 go to their website worldbooknight.org . It details all the books being given away and how and where to get your hands on one. Good luck!
**Look out for my next blog post, “Wednesday Wafflings”, all about my Diary as a Hopeful Author. It’s up on, well, Wednesday…**