Folks, April 23 is Monday. I’m really excited.
This is the first year that World Book Night will be celebrated in the United States. Up to now, it was a celebration in the United Kingdom. In my little small corner of the world, Murphy/Wylie, Texas, there are 20 book givers. The two biggest congregations of book givers in Texas are Houston and Austin.

If you recall from an earlier posting, I applied and was selected to be a book giver/volunteer for World Book Night. On April 23, each book giver in the U.S. and U.K. will give away, free, yes, no charge, no cost, did I say free?, to encourage people who either read very little or don’t like to read at all to try one more time. It could be that the person has just not had the right book to spur that interest in reading. ┬áNo obligation on the part of the recipient, other than to read the book.

A World Book Night giver and his book

Each selected book giver chose their book from among 30 books. You can see the complete list of the books at worldbooknight.org. There are some truly great books on the list, including The Hunger Games, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Kite Runner, The Lovely Bones, Friday Night Lights, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, among others.

During my application process, I was impressed. There was truly a selection process and there was a good chance I would not be chosen. Write an essay about why reading is important to me, explain how and where I would give my books away, and just why did I want to be part of this. I had to choose my book. I read synopses of all the books and chose to give away The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. When I read the synopsis, I was impressed. A story about a young girl in wartime Berlin who loves to read so much and so strongly that she steals books to read them. Sometime later, I discovered that The Book Thief is young adult fiction.

There was a lull of a few weeks after I submitted my application before I learned that I had been selected. Frankly, I was really happy to be chosen. Really happy!

Again, there was email communication periodically to keep us book givers up to date with the latest news about the upcoming event. This past Thursday, at my local library there was a reception for the local volunteer book givers. Quite a few came to the reception and we shared information about how we learned about World Book Night, what books we had chosen and why, and where we planned to give our books away.

I got my special printed copies of The Book Thief and on Monday, April 23rd I will be one of thousands of volunteer book givers handing out these books across the U.S. As you go about your business on Monday, don’t be surprised if you find someone wearing a World Book Night pin approaches you with an offer to give you a free book. If you are approached, take the book and read it. But don’t let it stop there. After you finish the book, pass it along to someone you know that you think will enjoy the book. If you do, the goal of this effort will be reached.

I know this has been said a million times, and is perhaps a cliche, but I believe it to be very, very true: No one finishes a book the same person as when he/she started, whether filled with a new understanding of life, or just happier for the hours lost in a good story.

I can’t wait till Monday and I hope you are blessed with a new, free book, too.