Once again this year, I will be a giver for World Book Night on April 23 - "the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday. The day was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one." And just one more day in the year that I get to play "book temptress" as Richard calls me. Armed with 20 copies of one book, I get to venture out into the community and persuade the reluctant to read for the fun of it, to grow a bigger and better brain, to read to join a conversation. I'm near giddy with excitement.
Some months ago, I filled out a form and ranked a few titles that I would like to give away. I found out this morning that I will be distributing my first choice - The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. Pollan identifies "four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato." It is a fascinating exploration of the points where man and nature intersect, and a reminder that the balance of power between the two is not always what we take it to be.
Are you a giver this year? What will you be giving away? Tell me. Or tell me that you have absolutely no interest in reading this and I will try and persuade you.