About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

World Book Night 2014

Bulletin board in children's area, Reed City Public Library
After the winter we endured in Michigan this year, 50 degrees felt positively balmy. Not so warm as last year, but then again not so wet either. Looking out the window from indoors, the sunny blue skies this 23rd of April suggested that spring might actually have arrived in Michigan. It was a perfect day to give away books.

My World Book Night adventure this year took me to the small, rural Michigan town of Reed City. Why Reed City you might ask? Well, this charming town just happens to be the site of Chris's Country Dollar, a variety store owned by my brother Dave who agreed to let me use his establishment as a base of operations for my book giving. My brother is a gregarious sort with a sympathetic ear and the uncanny ability to carry on a conversation on almost any topic, so it is not unusual for patrons to stop and chew the fat as well as shop. What better place to seek out light and reluctant readers on which to bestow free reading material.

Reed City Public Library Assistant Director, Jen Thorson, hard at work
Before stopping at Dave's store, I first paid a visit to the Reed City Public Library just a few blocks away where Library Director, Heather Symon, had graciously agreed to help me advertise World Book Night. Assistant Director, Jen Thorson, and her staff had created a nice display featuring WBN flyers and some of the titles featured in this year's nationwide giveaway. I very much appreciated the cooperation put forth by these helpful and busy ladies. Reed City may be a small town, but its library is not at all small in its efforts to serve the community. In addition to the usual tasks of running the library, Heather and Jen along with clerks, Julie Grove and Amy Shank, provide a busy schedule of activities for the folks in the area including a book club, a Scrabble hour, a family movie matinee, a teen movie night, and a summer reading program. Had I arrived on the scene half an hour sooner, I would have witnessed one of the bi-weekly story hours held for young kids. The library is currently a little cramped, but they have plans to move into a new space on the other side of town. Fundraising for this effort is underway. Nevertheless, I was impressed by the bright and cozy children's area these ladies have managed to carve out of the current space.

My brother Dave, owner of Chris's Country Dollar in Reed City
After my brief stop at the library, I headed to Dave's place where I enjoyed meeting a variety of customers--kids, teens, adults--readers and nonreaders. Some were immediately enthusiastic about receiving a free copy of Code Name Verity, my WBN title. Others required a little more coaxing. One young man proved to be a particularly hard sell. Russell Houder was determined not to take a book, but when I learned after some discussion that his post-high school plans involve a career with the army, I gained his interest by describing the WWII setting for the book and the female pilot and female spy that are its main characters. That apparently sounded more appropriate to his life interests. He relented and agreed to give the book a try.

WBN recipient, Russell Houder, with his copy of Code Name Verity
Within a couple of hours, I had successfully found homes for most of my books. In the meantime I had met several interesting and delightful people. Plus I got to catch up with my brother, which is always a pleasure. As I headed to my car for the two-hour ride home, I was able to give away a couple more books to locals that I met out on Reed City's main street.

What a joy this World Book Night was. Many thanks to my brother Dave for all his help, and thanks as well to the wonderful ladies at the Reed City Public Library for their contribution in making this World Book Night celebration of Shakespeare's birthday a success.

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