“Spreading the love of reading person to person.” -World Book Night.org
I believe many things about books — they are magic, can transport us to other places and times and worlds, open our minds and hearts to understand other people and cultures — but most of all, I believe great books help change the world for the better. One of the most important freedoms we have is the ability to read and think for ourselves.
5 Favorite Quotes on Reading
A house without books is like a room without windows. —Heinrich Mann
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. —Mark Twain
Let us read and let us dance—two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. —Voltaire
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. —Frederick Douglass
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture, you just have to get people to stop reading them. – Ray Bradbury
For all of these reasons above, because I simply love to read (always have) and share great books with others, I applied to be part of World Book Night 2014.
World Book Night
World Book Night is an organization only a few years old which has as its primary goal to get books into the hands of non- or light readers. I first heard of it in 2013 when one of my favorite books was one of the WBN hand-out books, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and several other favorite books were on the hand-out list as well.
The premise is that book-lovers apply to be Givers in July and, if accepted, pick up a box of twelve copies of an assigned book in April to hand out in a specific community location. The goal is to get great books into non-readers’ hands so that they might fall in love with books, reading, and the magic of words.
This year, I loved being a WBN giver. As I proposed in my WBN application, I handed out books in my local community center. It turned out to be the perfect location. Almost every person who received a book hadn’t read a book in years.
My assigned book was Eleanor Brown’s bestselling novel, The Weird Sisters. The eccentric title helped: every woman laughed and said it was perfect for her because, as one said, “I have 5 weird sisters!” After fifteen minutes of passing out books, I left with an empty box and a full heart, feeling like I had won the lottery.
Books are gifts that keep on giving, but helping to spread the love of reading is the greatest privilege of all.
If you’re looking for book recommendations, check out the World Book Night reading lists, Goodreads.com, or GreatNewBooks.org (my personal favorite). The most important thing you can do is read and to help cultivate a love of books in your children and others. Great books do help change the world for the better.
And, a final note as a follow-up to last week’s post …
Muse and the Marketplace Writers Conference 2014, Boston
It was a great conference and time in Boston, and everything I’d dared to hope would happen at Muse happened and even exceeded my hopes. I am deeply grateful.
I loved the classes at Muse — Ann Hood’s on essays, Lynne Barrett’s on short stories, Celeste Ng’s on omniscient point of view, Dawn Tripp’s on novel building blocks, Jenna Blum’s on outlines, and the Modern Love column class for the NYTimes. All of the classes were stellar.
I met oodles of writers, authors, agents, and editors. Jane Friedman’s talk was excellent, on how much the industry is changing and on the importance of becoming digital and using the web to talk books with readers and help connect on the digital platform.
I can see why everyone recommends Muse. It is excellent. I feel like just with the writing classes alone, I’ve bumped up my skill set for writing essays, novels, etc. I’m very excited and inspired. Thank you for all of your support!