Tonight is World Book Night U.S.A.
Originally born in the U.K. the event has spread to the States.
Giving books to either underserved segments of population, poorer public schools or just for the excitement to promote literacy, is really a cool idea.
Last year, I was part of World Book Night and gave twenty copies of The Namesake, one of my very favorite books, also from one of my very favorite authors, Jhumpa Lahiri, to a public high school.
Based on my experience I wanted to do something bolder and more meaningful for 2013. I was shooting for one of the many women shelters down in Fresno, the largest city between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Deeply affected by unemployment and its harsh consequences, it is a perfect place for World Book Night.
The list of books was as great this year as it was in 2012. Between Looking for Alaska by John Green and Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier– also among some of my favorite books – the choice was easy and the only thing I had to do was to sign up. But I was hesitant and ultimately I didn’t sign in, with the unpleasant feeling that I had made a mistake with no valid justification.
When I read a couple of days ago that the San Joaquin Valley was fourth on the list of top national donors, I knew I had made a mistake to say no to the opportunity.
Tonight, through the U.S., hundreds of people will give away books.
And I won’t, only because I wasn’t willing to put more effort into it.
Sometimes, we are afraid, discouraged, too busy, or plain lazy. In my case, I was a little bit of everything. No excuse, really.
And meanwhile: Happy World Book Night to you Givers!