Yesterday was World Book Night, in which 1 million books were released to the UK public via thousands of book givers, all in the name of spreading the love of reading. I signed up to become a giver back in January, and thought I’d share my experience!
Although I wasn’t chosen during the first selection, the lovely folk at World Book Night kept my details on file and contacted me last month inviting me to join the reserve givers. Incidentally, the book that was delivered for me was Alan Bennett’s A Life Like Other People’s – my initial first choice. After setting some aside for my Mum’s book group, assorted friends, and a Quotables giveaway, I met up with my friend Holly, who was giving away Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters, and we hit the streets of Glasgow to distribute our freebie goods to potential readers.
Readers are more difficult to spot on a Saturday afternoon than at any other time. Though I’m a fan of surreptitious peeks at fellow readers’ paperbacks on my daily commute, there are many, many fewer readers chilling in coffee shops – our first line of attack – at prime hours. However, our first stop was Costa at Buchanan Galleries, which was heaving but provided us with some receptive first book recipients. We quickly found our best customers were people between our age and mid-40s, along with a few blokes at the GFT already disguising their noses in a literary face sandwich. The GFT was probably our best crowd, with a few muscling in from nearby tables and requesting additional copies. “Gladly!” said we.
Although I’m not even quite done giving mine away, I handed out most of my 48 to some very pleased people, and as an avid reader it’s lovely to share a love of literature with strangers, even for the briefest of moments.
I hope you all had a lovely World Book Night, and if you were approached by any givers yourself I’d love to hear about it! If you’re in the UK and would like a copy of Allan Bennett’s book, leave me a comment!