When was the last time you read a good book?  Not for an assignment, not for work, but read just for the sheer enjoyment of reading?

If you’re scratching your head, trying to think of the date, then World Book Night is about YOU!

On Monday, April 23rd, all around the world, World Book Night givers will hand out copies of FREE books on the bestseller lists in an effort to share the gift of reading.  That’s right, FREE.

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All you need to do is show up to take your free copy of the book and bring it home, get comfortable, and start reading.  Then, when you rediscover your love for reading, head to your nearest library and browse for more great books.  For free.  Then pass along your World Book Night gift to someone else who could use a gentle reminder that reading is a gift.

I have been chosen to be a World Book Night giver for our area.  On Monday, April 23 at 5:00pm, I will begin giving out FREE copies of Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” to new or light readers.  I have 20 copies to give out, so first come, first served.  Come out to the Dunkin Donuts and Old Glory Restaurant in New Providence to celebrate literacy and the joy of reading as part of this world-wide event!

Why read?  Reading offers many benefits to people of all ages.

  1. Parents who read encourage children to read.  Are you a parent?  When is the last time your children saw you reading for enjoyment?  We all want our kids to be strong readers. Did you know that you can help teach your children great reading habits just from them seeing you read?  Social Learning Theory describes how modeled behaviors like reading for enjoyment, will encourage children to adopt those same behaviors in which they observe their parents’ participation.  Basically, if they see YOU reading, THEY will read more, too.
  2. Reading reduces stress.  Reading for enjoyment, especially reading Fiction, helps toreduce stress and enhances tranquility.  When reading a great story, your mind lets go of its worries.  Reading causes the mind to shift gears and the body to be still.  De-stress your life while engaging your mind.
  3. Strengthen your brain through reading.  Studies have proven that reading stimulates your brain in different ways that other forms of entertainment cannot.  Reading sharpens memory, increases learning capacity, and makes your mind stronger.  You don’t have to be reading dry, boring texts to get smarter.  It’s the act of reading that strengthens your brain.
  4. Reading’s sexy, and you know it.  Okay, so maybe this claim hasn’t been scientifically proven (yet), but there’s an entire Tumblr site dedicated to “Hot Guys Reading Books,” so there must be something to it, right?  Seeing someone reading lets you get a sneak peek into their private time.  Choosing to read for yourself shows a desire to learn and experience new things.
  5. Win more Words With Friends and Scrabble games by reading.  Want to kick butt in online word games?  Reading increases vocabulary.  The more you read, the more words you are exposed to.  Word exposure is a big part of increased vocabulary.  You don’t need to look up definitions to learn word meanings.  Your brain will determine meaning through repetition and context.  Once the words are learned, they’re forever in your brain bank for high-scoring games.
  6. Reading enhances social skills.  Really!  Books offer great conversation starters and topics for discussion.  Simply asking, “Have you read any good books lately?” will usually spark a great flurry of chatter.  (Just make sure you have a pen handy to write down all the great titles you’ll get if you ask that one!)  There’s a reason talk shows feature new bestsellers.  Reading the same hot titles forges connections with people.  Avoid awkward silences by reading!

More info on World Book Night:

WHO: From Kodiak, Alaska, to Key West, Florida, in 6,000 towns and cities across America, 25,000 volunteers will give away half a million free books on one day: April 23, 2012.

WHAT: World Book Night U.S. is an ambitious campaign to personally give out thousands of free, specially printed books across America. Volunteer book lovers like myself will help promote reading by going into our communities and handing out free copies of a book we love to new or light readers, reaching them especially in underserved places – and even some fun spots. Volunteers will be picking up the books at a local bookstore or library in order to go out and share them in locations as diverse as VA hospitals, nursing homes, ballparks, mass transit, diners, and more.

WHERE & WHEN:  I will be giving out 20 free copies of “The Book Thief” outside Dunkin Donuts and Old Glory Restaurant in New Providence at 5:00pm, on Monday, April 23.

I am very proud to be a part of the first World Book Night in the U.S., following the impressive launch of this campaign in the UK and Ireland last year.

For more information about World Book Night, please go to www.worldbooknight.org