Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Book Night: The Enchanted Edition

I've spoken of my chapter mate Alethea Kontis before.  I loved her fairy tale mash-up Enchanted (and the sequel Hero) so was thrilled to hear it was one of the books being featured in World Book Night.  So, I volunteered too be a giver.  You have to make two choices, so I picked Code Name Verity or Enchanted figuring win win.  (Actually, that list had a lot of great choices.) 
Alethea kindly posted her words from one of the kickoff events here about the power of words. 
So, I headed off with my bag of books.  (They came in a box, but that was heavy.  I figured the DC library bag worked.)  I stuck to my general neighborhood and focused on people at or near bus stops.  My theory was that if you were almost (or not even close) home, you really didn't want people stopping you on the sidewalk to bug you about books.  Even I, avid reader, would be suspicious.  But people at bus stops, on benches, taking smoke breaks, hanging on a street corner - these people were planning to be stationary for at least the next minute or so.  I did not bug people on the phone.  I tried not to bug people who were conversing in a language that was not English, although I did realize belatedly that one person I asked was reading a "How to Learn English" pamphlet.  (Yes, I know many people are multilingual.  I just didn't want to make people tell me that they were not. Although my success in that was low.)
And the first batches of people I asked were...not interested.  They did not speak English, or read English, one guy had nothing to carry it in (you know..except his hands), and several people gave me that glassy eyed please-go-away look.  My successes seemed to happen in streaks.  Sometimes because once one person said yes, the other people nearby seemed more likely to do so.  (I remain convinced that one young woman really wanted it, but after her two friends said no, she wasn't ready to break the streak.)  Although one young man did say yes, even after his two friends said no, so who knows. 
Many people wanted to make sure it was free.  Asked if World book night was tonight.  (This amused me because the book was a special World Book Night edition that had World Book Night plus the day's date in the title.  Although, I hardly ever know what date it is.) One person asked if it was inspirational, I assumed she meant in the faith based way and said no, it's a fairy tale. 
And a number of people were ridiculously pleased.  Partly, I'm sure because random stranger approaching you on the street rarely results in such a happy result, but also just happy to have something to read. A friend who met me for dinner after said she spotted someone reading it at the bus stop, so hopefully those twenty people enjoy the story ahead.