Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't mention the book?

In literature, as in love, we are astonished at the choice made by other people.
-Andre Maurois

If you're a Facebook junkie; like me, you may have seen the postings for National Book Week.  Here are the directions:

It's National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the book. Post these rules as part of your status.

Nuts, you can't mention the book??  What kind of Book Week is that?  How am I supposed to get an idea for what might be a good read?  How does it help me not to know the name of the book you're quoting?  How does it celebrate reading to not give the name of the book you've got closest to you?  Does the author get any credit for the line he/she wrote?  I object. 

No, this book week isn't in any way affiliated with the American Library Association.  It's a Facebook thing.  The ALA has Banned Books Week from September 24th-October 1st this year.  They have Teen Read Week from October 16th-22nd.  National Library Week is April 8th-14th, 2012.  Library Card Sign-Up month is September (next month!!).

I wonder where this Book Week came from.  I can't figure it out.  Who thought of it?  Why?  What was the intent?  Why page 56?  Why the 5th complete sentence?  Why not page 43, and the 8th complete sentence?  Why not just give the title of the book that's closest to you and answer whether you're reading it, or if it's just been hanging around.  How about, pick up the book closest to you and tell us what that book means to you.  (i.e. It's just some fluff to help me forget about life, I'm hoping to learn something from this book, I only have kid's books next to me--Sandra Boynton's board books aren't numbered.)

So, I typed "national book week" into the search area of Facebook.  It found a few different pages.  The only one that had any information beyond the directions pointed me to The Children's Book Council of Australia.  This year's Children's Book Week marks the 66th annual event.  And, it's this year: August 20th-August 26th.  Hmmmm.  The theme is One World, Many Stories.  That sounds a bit familiar.  So, I'm still not sure how Facebook got a National Book Week from Australia, a couple weeks early.  Ahhhh, but people are sheep. 

I guess I'm a bit of a rule breaker.  The last time this thing came around (and I questioned it this time mainly because it felt like it hadn't been that long since I had done it.) I just searched through my profile, and found that I did this on February 24th, 2011.  Then, the directions were:

Game rules: Grab the book closest to you right now. Open to page 56 and choose the 5th sentence. Publish it as your status and write the rules as a comment. Don't choose the book you like the most or think will make you look cool, just the ...closest.

Okay, so in February it was just a game.  Now it's an event.  Same page, same sentence.  I didn't pick the closest then, which was a 1929 copy of The Complete Home Landscape by Arthur Jennings but instead picked the book I was currently reading.  And of course, I let all my friends know the name of the book and the author.  (That wasn't verboten in February.) 

I want everyone to mention the book.  I also want them to mention the author.  I think the author should get some credit.  I think I should be able to read the book you're reading if page 56, sentence 5 appeals to me.  Pick whatever book you want.  Search through all of your close books to find the best fifth sentence on page 56.

Of all the books I have close to me, the best fifth sentence on page 56 comes from the book Cabins of Minnesota by Bill Holm with photographs by Doug Ohman. 

"The north wind howled in through the rattly windows, and honey from the bees trapped in the walls oozed out between loose cracks."

Now there's a sentence that makes you want to read the rest of the book.  Page 56, sentence 5 should make you want to read sentence 6, 7, 8, and beyond. So, go. Go beyond. Break the rules, mention the book.

"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.  ~François Mauriac

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