Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My World Book Night Experience

Look at all this lovely World Book Night news at WBN's Facebook page. Sites where books were passed out. People involved. Al Roker doing his WBN thing. Why, Gail, you're probably thinking, what about your World Book Night experience? How did that go for ya'.

I spent the evening of World Book Night huddled on my couch, wearing the same pajamas I'd been wearing for twenty-four hours, and hoping I'd keep down the broth I'd had for dinner. World Book Night was kind of a bust for me.

However, my event went on without me. One family member delivered the books to the skilled nursing facility where I was supposed to do the distributing, and another family member took over the job of actually handing them out. She was the one who had recommended The Language of Flowers as my WBN choice, anyway, and she's a book club member. She is definitely World Book Night material.

Now, choosing to distribute books in a skilled nursing facility that offers both long-term and rehabilitative care was risky. A percentage of the population in any of these places suffers from some degree of cognitive loss of one sort or another in addition to their physical issues. So we're not just talking about people who are light or nonreaders because they've never had the opportunity to be exposed to good books or own any. But it's also a population that could benefit from being encouraged to read.

The recreation director got behind WBN in a big way, planning a flower arranging activity for the evening rec event, flowers being a big part of our book. Recreation in these places is hugely important, in my humble opinion. It is a form of therapy that offers residents an opportunity to interact socially and mentally, often just to move around, all of which are factors in maintaining cognitive abilities. However, residents have the option to take part or not, and only 3 showed up for the flower-arranging event and at the book station set up there.

However, my family member who was running this for me, remained steadfast and on task. She went up and down every hallway with our books, handing them out to various residents we knew and hitting the rehab-wing where there were short-term patients whom we wouldn't know. I believe she said she gave out a half a dozen books to staff, one of whom she believes feared she was being handed a religious tract.

It was probably not the best World Book Night experience we're going to hear about this year. (Certainly not for me, though I did get a very good night's sleep afterwards and am much better now.) But I am a great believer in ripple effects. I think it's possible that I may go into this place tomorrow and hear something about this book from people who received it. Or maybe it will be next week or the week after.

And if I do, that is what World Book Night is about, not whether I had a good time that evening or whether it went the way I thought it was going to or whether I went to an after party (I did get an invitation!) or whether someone else had to run the whole thing for me. So how my World Book Night went still remains to be seen.

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