World Book Night is happening today: more than 29,000 volunteers around the USA are passing out 600,000 books to light- or non-readers in front of libraries, schools, bus stations, nursing homes, grocery stores, hospitals and more. I gave away my 20 copies of Peter Geye’s THE LIGHTHOUSE ROAD to travelers at the Greyhound bus station in Houston–in less than 15 minutes. I was hoping it would last longer, but there was such enthusiasm among those who were ticketed and waiting for their own journeys to read about Odd’s and Thea’s.
What I love so much about World Book Night is that it not only spreads the love of books and reading, but it catalyzes connections that might never otherwise take place. These people I met today were standing mostly apart from one another, dwelling in their own thoughts, but with the introduction of a free book and the simple question, “Do you like to read?” there was suddenly camaraderie and community. When I left, several people were standing closer together in groups, reading the back cover or flipping through the pages, and talking. One woman, after learning what the book was about, said to another, “We can talk about this on the ride.”
Here are some photos from today that capture the exciting, inciting incidents that will–hopefully–steer these WBN2014 recipients toward a lifelong love of reading.