About a dozen Franklin County literature lovers have been charged with a task Monday night – share a book with 20 “reluctant readers.”
World Book Night – which started in Europe last year – is hitting U.S. streets for the first time Monday, and national organizers have a goal to hand out half a million books to unseasoned readers of any age, says Stacy St. John of Paul Sawyier Public Library.
Lizz Taylor, owner of Poor Richard’s Books, says each book “giver” will have 20 specially printed paperback books to hand out to an office, a group of strangers or – like retired English teacher Kay Scott – at event to encourage the community to read more.
“The whole goal is for people who like reading to share a book with someone and say ‘this is a fabulous book, and I think you’ll like it,” Scott said.
“It’s about sharing a love for reading.”
Scott is hosting a New Orleans-themed event at The Kings Center – where she is a board member – to hand out 20 copies of the book “Zeitoun.”
The nonfiction work by Dave Eggers depicts the injustice of survivors during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans – specifically Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American and father of four.
“I just read it few a months ago, and it made me so passionately angry about racial profiling and other kinds of profiling, and I thought maybe it would entice some people from the South Frankfort community,” Scott said.
Keeping with the true spirit of the Gulf city, she plans to make jambalaya and sweet tea and is showing a Spike Lee film titled “When the Levies Broke” to help people understand the book’s background.
It’s a great thing to talk about what occurred during the storm while sharing a great book, Scott said.
Each volunteer selected one book to distribute out of 30 choices. The options were chosen by a group of authors and publishers and were then turned into simple paperbacks to give away.
Scott says her background in English education has contributed to her love of reading, but she understands not everyone is lucky enough to have a career that caters to literature.
One volunteer plans to hand out books at the Franklin County Women’s Shelter, and will follow up with the group to have a book discussion, St. John said.
“It’s not that they wouldn’t like to read; they don’t read because they don’t have time,” Scott said.
Taylor says the trick to getting “reluctant readers” interested is finding books they can relate to their lives.
“I tried to match books with places where people would dwell,” Taylor said about her plans.
“Givers” – with books in hand – will visit the Women’s Shelter, Wilkinson Street School, a hair salon, The Y, Kentucky State University and some local baseball fields after a game.
Though Scott is hosting her event at The Kings Center, she wants the community to know that the book is not for children.
“The primary purpose for the event is the book, but the secondary purpose is to start The Kings Center moving in a more community-orientated direction – for all ages,” Scott said.
The New Orleans event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, and others will begin handing out their free books Monday afternoon and throughout Tuesday.
“I’m proud of Frankfort being represented and happy to see people step beyond and try to share what they love,” Scott said.
“It’s in its baby stages, and hopefully it will encourage people to turn off the TV and start reading.”