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Don’t Forget To Sign-Up For World Book Night!!! (A Public Service Announcement)

Kit Steinkellner

Staff Writer

Kit Steinkellner is a playwright, screenwriter, and creative writing teacher. She also writes about books and reading  at Books Are My Boyfriends. Follow her onTwitter: @BooksAreMyBFs

If you already signed up for World Book Night (collective sighs of relief heard ’round the reading world), go read something else on Book Riot. You are fine, my friend.

If you haven’t signed up for World Book Night  and you live in a country that’s eligible (I know UK, USA, and Germany are all for sure)… we must talk.

If you didn’t sign up for World Book Night because you have no idea what it is, let’s do a quick rundown. World Book Night is an event that started in Britain in 2010 when some literary-minded folks got together to give away millions of books to the public to encourage reading as, like, a thing you should do. 2012 was The United States’ first World Book Night. Here’s how it works in the US: You apply to be a book giver, it takes all of the five minutes you were going to be wasting on Facebook anyway, you get to rank your choices of books you would like to give away (titles are diverse, choices include Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day,  Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist and Sandra Cisneros’ The House On Mango Street in English AND Spanish, aw snap!). If you’re one of the 25,000 volunteers selected in the US (those odds are pretty good, guys), you’ll get one of your choices, pick it up at a bookstore or library near you (lots throw parties for pick-up day, it’s the sweetest thing), and give the 20 copies you receive (for free, it’s all free!) away on April 23rd, World Book Night.

It’s such a beautiful and memorable night, it’s like Christmas met a public library, that’s the best “A meets B” combo I can think of, except maybe ice cream meets s’mores.

“But I don’t want to go out at night by myself!” you complain.

“Get some friends to sign up with you and make it a party!” I reply. I’m making it a super party by wearing my book fairy Halloween costume. You are welcome to be a book fairy too on World Book Night if you are a fun-loving girl or very fanciful man.

“But people are going to think I’m weird if I just approach them on the street, they’re going to think I’m trying to give them a bible or get them to join a cult!” you protest.

“You are trying to get them to join a cult,” I tell you.” The cult of READING ALL THE TIME. Just find a concise way to tell them what World Book Night is in a sentence or two and they’ll stop looking at you like you’re a crazy. Also, stop caring so much about what random strangers think about you. You have to be 16 years old or older to participate in World Book Night, that’s way too old to be acting like you’re still in junior high.”

“But I’m BUSY that night,” you whine.

“No you’re not, World Book Night is April 23rd. No one has their schedule planned out that far in advance unless you are the president of a country. And if you work that night and can’t get out of your shift, give out your books during the day! It’s always night somewhere in the world. Just make it WORK.”

“I’m out of excuses,” you admit.

“YEAH YOU ARE,” I scream, running around in circles pumping my fists while Eye of the Tiger plays inside my brain.

The deadline is coming up FAST, pals and pallerinas. January 25th! That’s Friday! Apply! Apply! Apply!