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Arts & Culture

World Book Night Hosts Giveaway

Judy Reeves at Veteran's Village
Judy Reeves at Veteran's Village

Local author Judy Reeves gave away 20 copies of Tim O’Brien’s book, “The Things They Carried,” today to people at Veteran’s Village in order to carry out the mission of World Book Night. The goal is to give away a million books.

Judy is just one of tens of thousands of volunteers who are participating in this international event. It started in the U.K. last year to promote the joy of reading the printed word. This year, the U.S. joins England and Ireland in the great giveaway.

Julie Slavinsky at Warwick’s , a bookstore in La Jolla, described the process. She said participants write an essay stating why they want to be givers. When they are chosen, they receive 20 copies of a popular book, such as “The Kite Runner,” “The Hunger Games,” or “Bel Canto.” All of the fees associated with marketing the books, from publishing to shipping, are donated.

These special edition paperbacks are distributed to the essay winners, or givers, at receptions hosted by local bookstores. The givers then hand out the books to recipients of their choosing.

“It’s become a huge success,” Slavinsky said.

Mary Lyons of Bluestocking Books in Hillcrest said she’s excited to be part of this national phenomenon.

“It’s a celebration of the printed word when you share what you love by handing somebody a book,” she said. “It’s a lot harder to do that with a digital file.”

Reeves said she had to select three books from a list of 30 when she sent in her essay. When she received “The Things They Carried,” a book about a platoon of soldiers in the Vietnam War, she knew who her audience would be. She gave the book to several Vietnam veterans at Veteran’s Village.

“People don’t necessarily tell their story because not many would understand it. When you find someone else telling your story, it opens you and makes you feel like a bigger part of the world,” Reeves said. "The experience was wonderful. I just felt so great doing it.”