This morning I had very sad and unfortunate news waiting for me in my inbox: World Book Night U.S. will be suspending their operations.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with World Book Night, it is a program in which people can apply to be "givers" and hand out 20 copies of a book (chosen from a list provided by publishers to World Book Night) to non-readers on a particular night in April. The point of this program is to be part of group that hands out millions of books, for free, all in one night. Did I mention this program is free to the giver? If a giver's application is accepted, all one has to do is show up at an appointed "drop-off" location (whether it is your friendly neighborhood Barnes and Noble or a local library) and pick up a box of twenty FREE books to hand out. Again, did I mention this was an opportunity to hand out FREE books for FREE at NO COST to the giver?
I suppose this is where programs like World Book Night U.S. go "wrong." Since the program has to depend on the kindness of publishers and donations from others, the costs got to be too much for this wonderful program and they had to say goodbye to the program.
Why this program? Why should World Book Night U.S., which gives back to so many people, suffer due to lack of funds? Is it a self-fulfilled prophecy that when the going gets tough, we have to cut all arts, music, and reading programs? All of these questions are rhetorical, for I never expect an answer in time like this. However, I do have a question that could be answered: Now what?
In honor of what this program did for us, in only three short years, I ask all of you, our furious readers, to continue what World Book Night U.S. started. I have something taking shape in the back of my mind for Read Furiously, but that will come later. One day, in April (maybe around the 21-24, which is the usual World Book Night festivities), take some time to give a book in this program's memory. In honor of the authors and their publishers who participated, the booksellers and librarians who helped organize the book drop-offs, the people at World Book Night and World Book Night U.S. (who, by the way, are working for FREE throughout the summer to complete the vision of this year's World Book Night) who worked hard to create this experience for all of us, and - naturally - to the readers who were passionate enough to send books and to the readers who benefited from this act of kindness. Give a book to someone and wish them a happy World Book Night. Give a book to someone and say, "I hope you enjoy this." Perhaps that someone will pass the book along to another person. Or perhaps this person will remember this kindness and pass along another book to someone else.
The key, furious readers, is to celebrate reading which is what World Book Night did. On behalf of furious readers everywhere, thank you World Book Night U.S. for your work, your passion, and your FREE books.
If you are interested in viewing the World Book Night mission, you can visit them here
In the meantime, happy summer reading season! As always, I am reading well, reading often, and reading furiously and wish you same.