Help! It’s nearly World Book Night.

A few weeks ago I told you about World Book Night and how this year Sarah had been picked as one of the 20,000 people who would be giving books away on 23rd April to people who ‘don’t regularly read.’World Book Night

I also told you we hadn’t yet come up with an idea about how the books might be given away:

“Where will this happen? Well, we don’t know yet. We might join in with an event in Liverpool that others are organising. Or we might organise one of our own. We’d be happy to share ideas with you if you’re involved in World Book Night too.”

But I reassured you that we’d be ‘finding creative ways to get the books to people who might not otherwise go looking for them.’

Well we haven’t. And here are our excuses:

  • We work for our living and the last few weeks we’ve been particularly busy;
  • We did talk about putting on an event, and we did talk about possible venues;
  • But we kept getting stuck on how we could get people who wouldn’t normally read to an event about reading. It’s not something we know much about;
  • In fact this turned out to be a serious sticking point with us. Feeling instinctively like we couldn’t think our way around it because it was all feeling a bit patronising.
  • Then time passed and suddenly it was now.

A sorry tale but there it is and I thought it was best if we just came clean with our quandary. Sarah is about to pick up twenty copies of her chosen book from ‘News From Nowhere’ and currently they have nowhere to go. So can you help us to find welcoming homes for them?

whybehappywhenyoucouldbenormalThe chosen book is one of our favourites from the last couple of years, Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?’ Her memoir of growing up as an adopted child in Accrington, becoming an avid reader then a writer, and her search for her birth mother. Like most well-written memoirs we’ve found this one has resonated with most people we know who’ve read it. Not because they’ve shared all or any of the writer’s experiences, but because they recognise and empathise with the emotions of a real life fully lived and well written about. Try these extracts for size:

“But as I try and understand how life works – and why some people cope better than others with adversity – I come back to something to do with saying yes to life, which is love of life, however inadequate, and love for the self, however found. Not in the me-first way that is the opposite of life and love, but with a salmon-like determination to swim upstream, however choppy upstream is, because this is your stream…”

“There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realise that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else’s terms.”

“There is a lot that you can’t change when you are a kid. But you can pack for the journey…”

When the book ends it seems too soon and both of us went straight back and read it again.

The books are here now.

The books are here now.

So can you help us get this wonderful thing into the right hands?

The the aim of World Book Night, being to ‘to reach out to those who don’t regularly read.’

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: it’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways, through the sharing of stories. We aim:

  • To raise the profile of reading through a mass engagement project which works at a grass roots level to inspire those who don’t regularly read to do so
  • To place books into the hands of those who don’t regularly read
  • To raise the profile of reading for pleasure through a series of celebratory events
  • To improve literacy in the UK and Ireland
  • To bring communities together”

Well, as I say, we have come to realise we have difficulties with some of the slightly patronising aspects of this and have decided, on much advice directly and on Twitter and Facebook that the rules are ‘nothing to get hung about.’ So, how shall I put it?

‘Magnificent books seeks good home, please apply within.’

If you think you can help then comment directly on here, DM me on Twitter @asenseofplace1, or via other contact details here.


WBNThank you for the suggestions here and on Twitter and Facebook. In the end we did indeed decide that it was all ‘nothing to get hung about’ and, wanting the books to go out on the day of world Book Night itself, I took the books down to the middle of town, where The Reader Organisation were jointly running a stall to acknowledge the day and gently get more people reading. Passers-by seemed curious about the story and about World Book Night and the books soon got moving into their new lives.

Bridget Waters from The Reader Organisation talks to an interested would-be reader.

Bridget Waters from The Reader Organisation talks to an interested would-be reader.

9 thoughts on “Help! It’s nearly World Book Night.

  1. clare o'meara

    Why don’t you hold on to them and give them away at the next four streets market, 4th May. There’s no better community gathering that meets those criteria!

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Clare, lovely to see you giving your own WBN books away at Granby 4 Streets market today! As you can see our’s have all gone to new homes too.


        I have given books in four different places, one was a gong bath, really enjoyed it. Hope you have fun reading the eyre affair x


        It was a fundraising event for greenbank academy, you take a duvet and pillow and curl up on a mat while a variety of gongs are played and you are ‘bathed’ in sound. I was very relaxed indeed!

  2. jbaird

    I agree with Clare. And do remember, it’s “nothing to get hung about.” You’ll figure it out and whatever your solution, it will benefit many, I’m sure. Carry on.

  3. cheethamlibMandy

    I think events like this need to be spontaneous. Having the stall in main thoroughfare gets people to look and think and then other ideas follow on. One would have to be careful not to appear to be patronising .

  4. Ronnie Hughes Post author

    Yes, in the end I was happier with standing in the street talking to people at random, and definitely NOT saying ‘You don’t look like a habitual reader to me’!


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