World Book Night was a jolly lark.
On Monday, a half-million books were handed out at random across the country. I was one of the twenty-five thousand volunteers who gave away 20 books ~ in taxis and trains, parks and parking lots, coffee shops and shelters, at beaches and bars ~ all to spread the joy of reading.
I applied to be part of WBN online through a five-step process that included writing a short essay about why I wanted to participate and where I might distribute my books.
World Book Night is a nonprofit event and almost entirely dependent on volunteers and good will. All the authors have waived royalties and the cost of printing the special soft-cover editions is underwritten by publishers, printers and paper companies.
I gave away 20 copies of The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer. The Tender Bar is a raucous and poignant memoir about a boy striving to become a man, and his romance with a bar. It was named one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2005 by the New York Times. It’s funny. It’s touching. And, yes, it’s tender.
I didn’t spend every waking minute in the bar. I went into the world, worked and failed, fell in love, played the fool, had my heart broken and my threshold challenged says the PulitzerPrize-winning newspaper feature writer who struggled for years to write his story.
On World Book Night I got to hear some first-rate storytelling ~ giving out books in bars.
This absurdly great pair kick-started the party. Their skills and smiles are beyond mammoth.
Team Terrific served up an endorphin blizzard. Their enthusiasm was over-the-moon elating, their bar just sparkled.
What a personable pair, they really made my day. They’re now in a book group of two.
This raveworthy bartender read The Tender Bar when it came out but took a copy to share with a friend. And he took the time to point me in the direction of another profusely cool bar.
A triple threat, this multi-talented group is super-sweet and ready to read.
Happy hour is alive and well when they’re behind the bar.
Slathered in fabulous smiles and oozing effortless charm, here is one berserkly great group. Smile. Serve. Read.
I’m blind drunk with love for everyone who joined in the fun. I hoist my glass to them all.
World Book Night 2013 may be over but the tweets, messages and emails keep coming from givers and readers alike. And a half million more people own a book today than yesterday. No-strings-attached perfection, I’d say.
So ~ What about you? Were you a giver? A reader? Share your experience here. Or maybe you just love to pass books along. Tell us about the ones that find a place in the hearts of your friends and family.
You can read about the event on https://www.facebook.com/worldbooknightusa.
To find out how you can participate in next year’s World Book Night, go to www.us.worldbooknight.org.
Even if you are too shy to share your love of reading books with a stranger, think of this wonderful list as MUST-READ recommendations from thousands of readers just like you.
2013 Book List
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros -translated by Elena Poniatowska
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
El Alquimista by Paulo Coelho
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
Population 485 by Michael Perry
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Favorite American Poems in Large Print edited by Paul Negri