Thursday, April 26, 2012

World Book Night, Shakespeare and Birthdays!

It was a glorious day on my birthday this year. Do not think I ever told you, but I share the famous bard's birthday: April 23rd!!! It is definitely a plus when talking about birthdays and don't want to talk about age......why do that when we can discuss Richard III or Romeo and Juliet or Midsummer's Night's Dream...right? It has served me well and I have bragged about this for years.

This year, there was another reason to brag....and I will brag about this for years as well. On Monday April 23rd, 2012  we celebrated WORLD BOOK NIGHT US. What is that some of you will ask? well, the States, the UK, Ireland and Germany were involved in a most wonderful event. Thousands upon thousands of volunteers (called givers) went out into their communities and gave away free books! Yes, books! In this age of smartphones, tablets, texting and twitter, people received actual, printed, hold them in your hands books.

It worked this way. Stated last year in the UK and Ireland, publishers and writers decided to go out into their communities and promote the art of reading by giving away free books. In this way, illiteracy was also targeted and many people just felt great about the exercise. It was such a success, that this year it was expanded to include the US and Germany, and some day, it will be worldwide!! Not bad.....

Through a friend that lives in the Netherlands, I heard about the event taking place in the States and that it would be on Shakespeare's...(and my)....birthday. Had to was a must! So I went online, researched and applied and was chosen!!! A list of books was sent to me and I chose The Kite Runner. With the war in Afghanistan raging, people should know more about the country.....

The week before the event I picked up my books at The Bookstore in the Grove. This is an independently owned bookstore that absolutely correspond to the idea of this event: the neighborhood working together to promote reading, a place for people to meet. I got to explain to a group of neighborhood writers what was the event about and why was it important. What an experience! 

On our birthday...Shakespeare will forgive me if I include him in this.....I went into my neighborhood: Brickell Key (Miami, FL). This small man-made island is located at the mouth of the Miami River and has residents from all over the world. It was a perfect place. Met parents out on a stroll with their children, young adults with their smartphones, older couples, a couple of non-English speakers, people coming in and out of the grocery store, the dry cleaning, the juice bar. Loved it!!

It absolutely makes my head spin to think that there were 25,000 of us, in 6,000 cities and towns across the country giving away half a million books! Next year, I will do it again...maybe expand my range. Would love to see if this can be organized in Curaçao or Panama. All possibilities. This will keep me busy for months!

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