After experiencing WBN last year only via Twitter I decided, that day, that I would sign up. As soon as registration opened I did so. My criteria for handing out books, and choosing the book that I did revolved around parents. I wanted a book that would engage others the way it had me and I wanted it to be appealing to parents in the playground without being chick lit – I want fathers reading too. My reasoning is that if you want a child to read you need to make sure he sees his parents reading. Books are less likely to appeal if those you love, the ones that inspire you aren’t bothered by them. So, I chose The Book Thief. I loved reading this book, it excited me, engaged me and it made me want to read it again. I rarely read books twice, my memory is too good, but this one I was happy to read again. Sadly I got an email telling me I was unsuccessful, my book choice was too popular and I felt that my reason wasn’t good enough. Needless to say I was disappointed. I wondered whether maybe someone had thought my choice was wrong for my intended audience, were there too many givers already in Haywards Heath. I didn’t know but I did feel sad. Being an avid reader I hoped no giver in HH would pick me as a non-reader and so knew I wouldn’t get the chance to participate.
Imagine my delight then to receive an email in March to tell me that I had been chosen as a reserve giver. Not the book I had originally chosen but one that I have on my shelf, that as it is non-fiction I’ve read more than twice… one that I found myself embarrassed reading in public because, no matter how many times I reread it, I guffaw, I snort, I chuckle. Dammit, why did I not think to choose this in the first place, why did it not occur to me that this would be a most excellent book to share? Maybe some wouldn’t want it so much (it’s not fiction (much)) but I’m sure anyone who does agree to receive it will be similarly embarrassed in public. What am I giving? Notes From a Small Island, by the rather ridiculously funny Bill Bryson. Someone lent me this book in 2003, that same person also set me up on a blind date with my (now) husband. This guy is not a ‘reader’, I have no idea why he had this book (he’s also no Cilla Black), but I do know that that first Bill Bryson led me on to all the other Bill Brysons and many many embarrassing train journeys and park visits. For both the book and the husband I guess I should say a very hearty “thank you Mat”.
My only problem now is giving the books out. My plan had been to visit the local playgrounds (with my children I should add) and lovingly give out these books. Anyone see a problem with that? Anyone living in East/West Sussex not see a problem with that? I think if I trawl parks today, trailing my children I’ll be in danger of several things 1. Getting soaked to the skin, 2. Getting reported for child cruelty (you WILL play in this park in the pouring rain) 3. getting locked up on mental health grounds, 4. Ending up with a large (24) pile of very wet books. Time for a rethink and I think I’ve rethunk. Playgroup. I’ll start there. Then, our local not for profit cafe at lunchtime. Then I’ll regroup and rethink again depending on where I stand in terms of copies left. I know playgroup isn’t ideal as I know these parents, but I also know that some never find the time to read anymore. Ok, they might once have been readers but right now, when it matters most to their children to see them enjoying (and how could you not with this choice!) a good book, they are not. Maybe after today they will be. If they are I will have done a good thing, if not at least I tried.
Are you taking part as a giver? Or are you a lucky receiver? Either way, I hope your book journey continues with plenty of laughter.
Consider signing up for WBN2013
An update: 20 books gifted to 20 grateful parents, sadly due to a puncture discovered outside playgroup I missed lunch hour at the local not for profit cafe and so only gave one of my four remaining books. There’s still time though as it ain’t over yet.