So I went to a party last night and despite my best intentions, drank far too much pink fizz for my own good. (Yeah…like I was ever going to do anything else. I should stop fighting fate, really.) Nevertheless, I was up, dressed and at BBC Radio Berkshire studios by 8.45 this morning to talk about World Book Night and my giving away books at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Duchess of Kent House hospice.
On the way home, I stopped at one of Reading’s very few independent book shops, Word Play in Caversham. I’d decided I’d browse the shelves until I saw a book which made me think, “Mmmmmm, yeah, I loved that one.” It was a debate, because there were several books I’d read and loved and several million more I wanted to read, but in the end I bought a copy of A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving. I’ve read most of Irving’s books, but I’ve read OWEN MEANY three or four times and loved it every time, and I used to put it on a reading list for my students when I was an English teacher, and my teenage students loved it too. Also, it was one of the books that the Rock God and I talked about when we first met. We’re both Irving and Vonnegut fans…and obviously meant to be together.
I brought the book home, and I put a post-it note on it that said, FREE book! It’s World Book Night, so if you think you’d like this book, please take it. I put a leaflet for the book shop inside the book, and wrote a short note inside the book, as suggested by Nicola Morgan. Then the Fecklet and I took it into town, went to Picnic, our favourite cafe, ordered drinks and apple cake, and discreetly put the book somewhere where it would be seen by other customers.
The cafe owner spotted it first, and looked at the post-it, and left the book where it was. I’m guessing he preferred for one of his customers to pick it up. The next people to sit at that spot glanced at the book and then shoved it aside to leave room for their designer handbags. I was shaking my head—surreptitiously, of course. I’m all in favour of nice handbags, of course, but…!
We’d finished our drinks and it was time to go before anyone had picked up the book. It might even still be there now. I hope not.
I wonder what will happen to it.