Itching to Read, OR, How World Book Night was Almost Ruined

The idea of giving dystopian feminist novels out on a street corner like a complete nutter appeals to me on so many levels. I eagerly anticipated World Book Night 2013 so I could giveaway my 20 copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at a local coffee shop. 

To sweeten the deal my good friend Catherine was coming over for a visit. We had plans to cuddle baby Persy, give out books, and indulge in some treats (Catherine brought cheese, Earl Grey, and homemade whole wheat quinoa bread). Sounds like the perfect day, right?  Catherine comes over. We gush over the baby. We gush over getting people to read. She brews a pot of coffee and we prepare to enjoy our day when…  … the daycare calls…

 … Atticus has a rash.

 I pick him up and take him to the doctor thinking that it is just his eczema flaring. We’ll get him checked out, slap on a cream and take him back to daycare so he can enjoy a day outdoors with his friends. Of course, nothing is this simple. The doctor declares its SCABIES. UGH. I leave the doctor, call Sam, line up prescriptions and prepare for a day alone with an itchy tot, a baby, the washing machine, and a vacuuming session.

OMG, what about World Book Night?! I cannot take a napless, parasite infested tot to hand out books. I want people to itch for reading, not just to … itch. So I did what any dedicated book nerd would do- I charged my fellow comrade in literature — Catherine – to hand out books for me. I dropped her off at the library — a quick walk to the coffee shop — and went home. But never fear, super husband appeared. Sam came home from work and stayed with the toddler and the baby. I joined Catherine on the sunny sidewalk outside the coffee shop. We ate bread and cheese and drank large cups of Earl Grey. And, of course, we gave away all the copies of The Handmaids Tale. We had the stack of books on the table and only gave away the books in fits and starts. I solemnly looked at Catherine and told her I thought I would know when someone needed this book. My days of handing out Bible tracks in middle school was going to pay off. We gave books to younger women, older women, younger men, older men and people seemed thrilled. Thrilled the books were free and thrilled it wasn’t a religious treatise.

I cannot wait for next year. Several of my friends are talking about doing a big event where we all give out different books in the same location. World Book Night is certainly a book event not to be missed.

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