It’s World Book Night! I’ve been looking forward to this day for ages. World Book Night is a joyful celebration of books and reading and Book Givers will be handing out free copies of one of 25 books within their communities. In addition to this, copies will be handed out in places where accessing books is difficult such as care homes, prisons, homeless shelters and hospitals.
Why is reading important? A recent report Literacy: State of the Nation found that one in six people in the UK struggle with literacy; a quarter of young people do not recognise a link between reading and success in later life; and men and women with poor literacy skills are least likely to be in full-time employment at the age of thirty. I cannot imagine not being able to read or not being confident in my reading abilities. No matter what real life throws at me, a great novel always provides a means of escape and of transportation to other places, worlds and times. Not to mention how useful these skills are at work and in real life, when dealing with grown up things like banking or politics, or even when doing fun things like using the internet for research.
I’ve been chosen as a Book Giver this year, which means I have 24 copies of my favourite novel, ‘I Capture The Castle’ to give away. Because of the statistics above, I decided to give my books out at the local primary school. I handed out most of them this morning. I think that one of the most important gifts you can give a child is the love of reading. I wanted to give books to parents who perhaps don’t read very much or don’t have time to read like they used to. Just reading in front of their kids will make an impression on them and hopefully help to create a culture of reading in the family. I got a really good reception and it was so great to share my love of this particular book with new people. I hope that some of them love it as much as I do.
So, I’ve given out most of my books ( and I’m going to leave one on the bus on the way into town for serendipity to take) and tonight I’m heading out to two events. The first is a quiz hosted by For Books’ Sake at Cafe 164 in Leeds. Based in Munro House, Cafe 164 is a lovely, relaxed and informal cafe with great coffee and cakes and is rapidly becoming a particular favourite meeting place. I’m taking a couple of copies of my book here to swap and also some of my own books to give away.
Later, I’m going to the Leeds Brewery-run White Swan pub for ‘Books, Buns and Booze’, which is being hosted by Leeds Book Club. I’m especially looking forward to more cake eating! It’s going to be a lovely, book-swapping event and there will be lots of folk there that I’ve only met on Twitter, so it will be a good chance to meet some more people in real life. I’m genuinely excited by today, both as a bibliophile and cake lover! I just need to remind myself that I am giving books this year. I need to make sure I don’t come home with an equally large stack of reading material to add to the piles of books already filling my house.
If you get the chance to get involved in World Book Night today, then I really recommend it – and if not, there’s always next year!