Posts tagged ‘World Book Night’

April 23, 2012

World Book Night

It’s World Book Night! I’ve been looking forward to this day for ages. World Book Night is a joyful celebration of books and reading and Book Givers will be handing out free copies of one of 25 books within their communities. In addition to this, copies will be handed out in places where accessing books is difficult such as care homes, prisons, homeless shelters and hospitals.

Why is reading important? A recent report  Literacy: State of the Nation found that one in six people in the UK struggle with literacy; a quarter of young people do not recognise a link between reading and success in later life; and men and women with poor literacy skills are least likely to be in full-time employment at the age of thirty. I cannot imagine not being able to read or not being confident in my reading abilities. No matter what real life throws at me, a great novel always provides a means of escape and of transportation to other places, worlds and times. Not to mention how useful these skills are at work and in real life, when dealing with grown up things like banking or politics, or even when doing fun things like using the internet for research.

I’ve been chosen as a Book Giver this year, which means I have 24 copies of my favourite novel, ‘I Capture The Castle’ to give away. Because of the statistics above, I decided to give my books out at the local primary school. I handed out most of them this morning. I think that one of the most important gifts you can give a child is the love of reading. I wanted to give books to parents who perhaps don’t read very much or don’t have time to read like they used to. Just reading in front of their kids will make an impression on them and hopefully help to create a culture of reading in the family. I got a really good reception and it was so great to share my love of this particular book with new people. I hope that some of them love it as much as I do.

So, I’ve given out most of my books ( and I’m going to leave one on the bus on the way into town for serendipity to take) and tonight I’m heading out to two events. The first is a quiz hosted by For Books’ Sake at  Cafe 164 in Leeds. Based in Munro House, Cafe 164 is a lovely, relaxed and informal cafe with great coffee and cakes and is rapidly becoming a particular favourite meeting place. I’m taking a couple of copies of my book here to swap and also some of my own books to give away.

Later, I’m going to the Leeds Brewery-run  White Swan pub for ‘Books, Buns and Booze’, which is being hosted by Leeds Book Club. I’m especially looking forward to more cake eating! It’s going to be a lovely, book-swapping event and there will be lots of folk there that I’ve only met on Twitter, so it will be a good chance to meet some more people in real life. I’m genuinely excited by today, both as a bibliophile and cake lover! I just need to remind myself that I am giving books this year. I need to make sure I don’t come home with an equally large stack of reading material to add to the piles of books already filling my house.

If you get the chance to get involved in World Book Night today, then I really recommend it – and if not, there’s always next year!

April 2, 2012

Book Shopping.

I seem to have accidentally boycotted Amazon. No great announcement has been made that I will never shop with them again. Far from it, I know that I will, and that I’ll be happy about it, but I’m still on my one-woman campaign to shop at real book shops instead of always buying them online and to be more mindful of my book buying.

This has happened for a number of reasons. I realised that if I stopped shopping in my local book shops, there might come a time when they could not survive. That’s not to say I spend a fortune on books, but I admit, in the past, I’ve looked at a book in the shop, decided that I want it and then gone to buy it cheaper from Amazon. I suspect I’m not the only one who has done that. If we all did the same, my city would be without a book shop at all, which is a prospect I even hate thinking about.

I have also reduced the number of books I buy. I used to buy cheap paperbacks from Amazon, or, back in the days when I shopped in large supermarkets, throw a couple in with the food shopping, barely giving them a second thought. Although most of those choices were the easy reading novels that I get through in a couple of days, I see now that they deserved a bit more consideration than I was giving to them. I’ve ended up with stacks of books littering the house, which I still have to get around to reading. Proof that I’ve bought more than I can cope with. I’m now on a self-imposed challenge to read through everything I’ve bought – and then pass on those that I won’t read again. Book swapping at World Book Night will come in handy!

So, those easy to read books now come from the library. My twice weekly library visits are a pleasure and I hope my patronage will help keep my small local library open. Lets ignore the truth that I could have bought some of the books with the amount I’ve spent in overdue fines. (As an aside, the staff in my library are wonderful, great with my kids and really friendly and helpful.)

This leaves the bigger purchases. Things like cookery books, travel guides, coffee table tomes, bigger and more important works of literary fiction, beautiful editions of classics and vintage books for my various collections. The kind of book that should be purchased, not in a supermarket dash, or with the half-focussed click of a button because it was cheap, but after a joyful time spent browsing, picking things up and making real, considered decisions. These things matter to me. A new book should be a thing of joy and beauty, preferably not just something that you buy when you get your bread and loo roll. I say this, having stopped my trips to the supermarket though. How easy I’d find it to give up if I still went in them remains unknown!

If I was going to buy more books online, then the place I’d like to spend my money is Hive – this is an online collective of independent bookstores, worth taking a look at. Books can be bought online or you can arrange to collect your purchases at your local independent book shop if you’re lucky enough to have one. The other place I look is AbeBooks  for vintage copies of old favourites, like my Ruby Ferguson ‘Jill‘collection.

For now though, I’ll continue to work my way through the backlog of books I still have at home, and make time to linger awhile in the real bookshops around me for new ones…

Where do you buy your books? Do you have a favourite local bookshop? I’d love to know…