World Book Night is a celebration of books and sharing the passion of reading with others in your community. I am a keen reader and mainly access books through the RNIB’s talking book service. Prior to my sight loss I enjoyed reading printed books, but when I could no longer see print I did not want to read for pleasure using alternative formats. Sounds totally stupid now, but I had never enjoyed listening to books and I couldn’t see why I would now, because I had to. Luckily, a rehab worker from the RNIB persuaded me to try the talking book service and I found myself loving reading again! The books are really well read and the service is great. Ten years on, and I enjoy reading as much as ever so I put myself forward to be a volunteer giver to share my passion with others.
World Book Night is about giving books away and encouraging reading to those who may not read much. The RNIB’s involvement adds another objective, which is to promote the importance of accessible reading for people with sight loss and the work of the RNIB.
As part of World Book Night I committed to giving away fifteen copies of, Little Face by Sophie Hannah. At first I wasn’t too sure who I was going to give them to. I could easily give them to friends and family, some of whom are not readers, but I thought that was a bit too easy. Instead, I arranged to go out for a pizza and distribute them as I saw fit along the way.
My first give-away was to our waiter. I left the CD with the tip and left it to set off on its journey. I then walked the two miles home with my friend with the intention of arriving home empty handed. I gave the audio book to bar staff, theatre goers, strangers in a bus stop, a doorman, a parking attendant, drinkers having a smoke outside pubs and a random person walking down the street!
My friend commented that it could be a psychology project for someone as the reactions were really interesting. Some people were keen and happy to take one while others were very sceptical. I think the fact that the book was on a CD threw people, which is good as it raises awareness of alternative ways of reading. Some of the people who weren’t initially interested because they don’t read became interested when they learned it was on a CD. Some of these people took a copy and felt much better about reading if they could listen to the book. The idea of
I hadn’t read the book I gave away so I kept a copy and will listen to it then pass it on to a ‘reluctant reader’ I have in mind. I wasn’t too confident at first approaching people to give the book away but very quickly I was happy to go up to people and tell them about World Book Night and the RNIB’s involvement. I like to think the CDs will be listened to and passed on and will take on their own journeys – reaching more than the fifteen people I handed the book to.