Monday, May 5, 2014

World Book Night 2014 - By Michelle Libby

I’m a writer…I’ve made that perfectly clear, but first, I am a reader. I love to read. Romance is my favorite genre, but a close second is travel non-fiction. I read a story called Annapurna- A woman’s place is on top, which is about the first all-women’s expedition team up the second highest peak in the world back in high school, which sparked my interested in this genre. 

Recently I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself in a fun, exciting, humorous look at hiking. I enjoyed the book immensely. 

Two years ago, Laurel Parker, the children’s librarian at Windham Public Library, told me about World Book Night. You go online and apply to be a book giver. If you’re a reader, this is the way to go. If you’re a non-reader, wait. That first year I missed the cutoff date for applying. 

This year I did not miss it, and I was accepted as a book giver. As a giver I was asked to choose from a list of books the book I would like to receive 20 copies of to give out to reluctant readers. 

I chose Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

Last Wednesday, I was super excited to hand out books. I had scripts ready in my head if I came across a reader on how to offer them the opportunity to be a book giver next year. If I came across a reluctant reader, I gave them Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I got a few funny looks or people shaking their heads at me. “Just read it,” I told them. One man sat down in the office and started reading while he waited for his order. I gave books out a two different pizza places in town, to people in the office and at an American Legion Auxiliary training. 

And, still I had more books to give. 

I gave books out everywhere I went and I planned to give them to my Scout parents who didn’t read much. What Scout parent wouldn’t love a book about hiking?

Then I realized the sad part about being a book giver they don’t tell you about. There is little to no feedback on what the people thought of the book. Until Friday night.

I went to dinner with someone from work. I had given her son a copy of the book. He’s 13, and the very definition of a reluctant reader. I’ve seen him struggle with reading for school, staying focused and having no interest in the books assigned. 

At dinner, his mother told me that he was devouring the book I gave him. Said he loved it and didn’t want to put it down. 

That’s what a book giver wants to hear. That made all of the strange looks worth it. I found one book that spoke to one reader and as a writer or a reader, that’s all I can ask for. Would I do this again…definitely. For more information, visit

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