I was a giver for World Book Night this year. It was my first time so I was a bit nervous, but I was also excited and knew I’d have a good time. As someone who has been in love with books for as long as I can remember, I can’t think of anything more fun and rewarding than sharing my love of books and reading with others by being able to give them one of my favorite books.
This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
I had my box of books shipped to the bigger of my two local libraries (Altoona). When I went to pick them up I got the nicest surprise–along with my books, the library gave me a bunch of bookish things with their logo on it: a tote bag to carry my books in, a booklight, pens, and a baseball cap (that admittedly I won’t be wearing because the style is a bit…outdated…but it’s the thought that counts). I also received all of the standard giver stuff: bookmarks to hand out with the books, a book giver sticker to wear (which I forgot to wear so now I can stick it to something permanently, like my book journal), and a certificate thanking me for being a giver.
I was already having a hard time thinking of different places where I could give away the books. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the area, but I’m not as familiar with it as I could be. I planned on handing them out in downtown Hollidaysburg around lunchtime–that’s where the courthouse and other independent businesses are, and there are always people walking around at that time of day. I just figured I’d play it by ear and think of ways to give them out as I went along.
The weather had other plans for me.
It was cold, windy, and the sky kept spitting. No one was going to be outside that day unless they absolutely had to. It was time to come up with a Plan B.
The first thing I decided to do before I even left the house was to leave a book in the mailbox for our mailperson. There are two different people who deliver mail to our house–the usual guy and a woman who takes over when he’s on vacation–and they are both the nicest people. They are always delivering books to me, so what better way to thank them than to give one of them a book in return? I’m not sure if our usual mailperson is a big reader, but that’s the whole point of World Book Night, right? I’m happy to say that he did take the book, and I hope he either enjoys it himself, or passes it along to someone he knows will enjoy it (or both).
The next thing I did, knowing that the books could possibly end up sitting in icky weather, was to put together five of them like this so I could leave them in different places in our area for random people to find:
I only ended up leaving two of them for people to find, and ended up handing out the other three to people face-to-face.
World Book Night fell on a Wednesday this year which is the day Eric and I usually go on our breakfast dates. I took two books with me to the restaurant we always go to (Perkins) so I could give one to our favorite server (we always ask for her specifically), and the manager who is usually working when we’re there. Our server (Michele) was super excited and appreciative to get the book and told us that now she’d have something to read while she was waiting around during her kid’s soccer practice. Score! Unfortunately the manager who’s usually there wasn’t that day, so I gave the other book to the hostess who usually seats us. This ended up working out well because her response to whether or not she likes to read was, “Somewhat.” Perfect. Read this book. For me. Heh.
Then Eric and I had some errands to run (and our usual window shopping to do), so we brainstormed while we were driving around. Where else could I hand out books in such crappy weather? I decided we’d go home and I’d think of something before the day was out.
While I was folding laundry the proverbial lightbulb came on.
I would go to all the local businesses that we frequent as patrons and give the books to the employees as a thank you for all they do for us. What does laundry have to do with this idea? The first place we went was the laundromat/cleaners where Eric takes his dress clothes to get them washed and pressed. It’s owned by a woman named Rose, and she and the other women who work there are wonderful. They know us by name, they are always happy to see us and chat with us when we go in to drop off and pick up clothes (honestly, I think they’re a little sweet on Eric, but who wouldn’t be? hee!), and I was looking forward to giving them something in return.
They loved it.
Rose and one of the other women were both working, so I was able to give away two more of the books. I made sure to thank them for everything they do for us, and I even got a hug from Rose. I also ended up giving a book to a patron who was there using the laundromat, and leaving one of the bagged books there for another random patron to find. Good stuff.
Next we went to the animal hospital where we take our cats for their checkups and stuff. There happened to be three of the staff behind the counter when I got there and one of them recognized the title of the book right away because she’d seen the movie. She said, “I’ve seen this movie! It’s really good and the books are always better, so I’m excited to read it!” The other two women were also intrigued by and happy to receive the book, and I left a fourth book for one of the usual desk staff who they said loves to read. I left one of the bagged books in the waiting room for a random patron to find.
The last place I wanted to stop was our family dentist’s office. I have been having a lot of dental work done over the last six months or so (which is a long story for another day), but I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for the folks who work in that office. They are all so kind and understanding of my fears about needles, pain, and all things medical, and they have been nothing short of amazing to me. Unfortunately, I forgot that the office is closed on Wednesdays, but I saved five of the books I had left to take to them when they were open again on Friday. I am happy to report that they also loved receiving the books and it put big smiles on all of their faces.
That left me with three books to hand out.
Originally, I was planning on saving about half of them to give out when Ashley got home from school because she really wanted to participate. We were going to go back downtown after dinner and give out what I had held on to for that purpose. But because the weather didn’t cooperate, and I didn’t want her to be disappointed that she couldn’t tell anyone about World Book Night and hand a few books out on her own, I saved the last three for her to give to her three favorite teachers at school. I know we weren’t technically supposed to give them to people we were very familiar with, but I really wanted to make it up to her somehow. She was a tiny bit disappointed that we wouldn’t be going out to talk to random people, but she was happy that I saved some for her to give to her teachers. She said that all three of them were very interested in learning more about World Book Night and they were all very happy to get the books. So it all worked out.
I wish I had more photos to include in my post, but I was so nervous and excited about all of it that I just plain forgot to take any. Hahaha! I definitely want to be a giver again next year and I’ll be more relaxed now that I know what to expect, so I’ll remember to take photos.
The experience of being a World Book Night giver was so rewarding. Making so many people smile (especially people who take such good care of my family, fur-persons included) made me feel so good. I was on cloud nine all day. I can’t wait to do it again next year.