Whilst cramming in several other huge tasks into my overfull life, I decided to become a giver for the inaugural World Book Night. This event has had it’s critics, both very negative and critical yet supportive and I agree with many of the points, especially that this could be a lot of terribly nice bookish people giving a book to their terribly nice bookish friends. This was my initial concern and is why I’m holding my event in the local chip shop in the middle of a council estate. The owners have been incredibly supportive although did warn me that some of their customers probably cannot read very well and may be hostile to the idea that someone is trying to give them something for nothing.
Well this is precisely the audience I’m after, my success rate may be poor but I feel that it’ll be worth more than an event held in a library. If only one of my books reaches someone who wouldn’t otherwise have read it then I’ll be pleased. I got very worried when I started re-reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry: it’s huge, uses an unfamiliar vocabulary and is frankly quite depressing. But it was the book on the list I most loved so I’m thinking that’s the most important thing.
Maybe if I could’ve chosen any book, I would’ve gone for something more “accessible” but I don’t want to be patronising. That said, I do think there’s too much emphasis on only reading books when surely reading pretty much anything is better than not reading at all. Especially while the internet is so heavily text-based I’m happy to promote most material as good reading practice, football magazines, newspapers or Tolstoy.