This morning I stopped by my favorite local book store, Loganberry Books, and picked up my special box of books to give away today! There was some minor confusion about buttons or something being in the box for me as a sort of “thanks for being a giver”. There was no button, but you know what? I don’t really care. I certainly am not participating in this to get a button.
The book I’ve been given was my first choice from the selection list: Ender’s Game. I’m sure you’ve noticed this book in my currently reading list, which means that I had not read my first choice. The truth is that aside from some of the older selections, like I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I had not read many of the books on the select list and I hadn’t read any of the books I put in my picks list. I didn’t see this as being a problem, I’d heard of most of the books and knew which ones would be right for the demographic I’d chosen: young readers.
And having read Ender’s Game now, thanks to my local public library, I am pretty happy with my choice. A friend of mine has described it as ‘the best science fiction book ever‘. I’m not really sure I feel the same way, it might be due in part to my non-understanding of why the enemy is almost always insectoid in scifi space war books. Do we fear insects that much? Is it just that insects are as far removed from humanoid as we can imagine? My favorite SciFi book remains Battlefield Earth, but this book is certainly very good and I think it has much more appeal to a new or non-regular reader than BE might have, due to length and language.
Another friend recently said she thought it must have inspired The Hunger Games. I’m not sure I feel the same way about that either, although I have not read the entire HG series (I started to read book 2 and put it aside to go through my library book stack first, which is why the two books over to the right). Comparing the first book to Ender’s Game I didn’t get any feel of sameness aside, perhaps from selected kids being put in a battle situation. But one is a random selection and to the death against one another, and the other is more like genetic drafting, is somewhat voluntary and the kids are being trained to be soldiers in a space war. To tell the truth, I have had stronger feelings about The Hunger Games being inspired by The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, which no one outside of my high school seems to have read these days. Maybe that colors my opinion, I dunno.
Obviously I am not the person these books are supposed to go to, I read too much. But I was once a non-regular reader too. I didn’t get really into reading until I was about 11 or so. My aunt had purchased a book at a yard sale and gave it to me. I’m not sure if she purchased it with me in mind or for herself and passed it on. I’ll have to ask her, if she remembers. But I still have the book, that’s how strongly I was impacted by it. It was the fantasy novel The Lark and the Wren in the Bardic Voices series by Mercedes Lackey. I was pulled so strongly into that book that it ignited my imagination and sent me hunting for more books in the series, other books by this author and similar authors – which is why my Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey paperback collection is so extensive. I also rolled into Wheel of Time, various Forgotten Realms books and ran quickly through my mother’s romance novels all before I turned 12 . I was a hooked reader and that one book was the catalyst.
That’s why I chose to participate in this event. That’s why I chose the books I did. I hope to light that fire in someone else, and I feel like this storyline is one that could very well do that.
I’m heading out shortly to hopefully catch the kids after school at one of the local library branches in the city. I chose the branch because I know that a lot of kids hang out there after school, because it’s a safe space. I would not be exaggerating to say that hearing gun fire while visiting the branch is not uncommon. In fact during the time my husband worked there a few of the kids were victims of shootings, and he was even asked to attend a funeral once. It’s not an area where the kids get a whole lot of freebies, but there are certainly good kids there and they try their hardest to break out of the mould society has put them in. I’m hoping that bringing World Book Night there will be a great thing for many reasons.
Wish me luck! I’m a little nervous.