It was the instruction: ‘bring a wheeled suitcase, a trolley or a strong friend’ that worried me.
Here I was, chosen as a ‘giver’ for the inaugural World Book Night on Saturday, and illegally parked on a yellow line outside The Book Shop, Bridport, with my boot open for any old car jacker to jump into.
I rushed in.
‘OK, I’m here, let’s go,’ I said, sounding like Bodie (or was it Doyle?) from The Professionals.
As if by magic, the owlish bookshop proprietor, looking like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn but without the fez, peered over his spectacles and said: ‘Oh, it’s you.’
‘There you are. Half of a Yellow Sun wasn't it?’
‘Mmmm, yes,’ I said, not sure whether I should be basking in the glory of what seemed an intellectually challenging book choice or admitting I was on the reserve list and was happy to have anything.
Twenty thousand passionate book lovers are giving away a million books this weekend. I had been hoping for a thin tome, maybe Alan Bennett’s autobiography or the children’s book Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman.
Despite having no illustrations, they’d be relatively simple to digest, and I could perhaps persuade some of my intended ‘reluctant reader’ recipients in my village to grab hold of a copy with open arms.
Because brevity and alacrity are my middle names. And theirs too.
But I was on the reserve list.
So I picked up my 48 copies of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book, which is set in 1960s civil war-torn Nigeria, and prepared to do battle.
In true Commando style, I am now lobbing them through letterboxes around the village, with an accompanying note. I’m handing them out to family and friends and anyone I think will read it.
Mr Grigg grunts: ‘What have you signed up for now? Can’t we sell them?’
‘Um, I think that’s against the whole spirit of World Book Night,’ I say. ‘Besides, if I choose the right people to give to, it will increase my popularity.’
Because there is no way I can fob off Half of a Yellow Sun to the drinkers in the part of the pub we call Compost Corner. I’d probably be barred for life.
But it might increase my standing in the book club.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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