Okay, not your government. Come on.
…the government is giving each of us a book. A free book. Some of us will throw our book away. Others will swap it for a pint or try to sell it on ebay. But a few will fold back the cover, flick through the first few pages and start reading.
So, what book do you want? You can choose one from a list of twelve. Go on, pick one. You can take it home. You can dump it on your bedside table or keep it in the loo to impress guests. You could even … read it.
Ok, ok, I’m joking. The government isn’t really going to give you a book. That is, unless you’re eleven years old.
Now we just have to persuade the government to extend the scheme to the rest of the population.
So, tell me this. What book would you choose to find on your desk, wrapped in brown paper and string? And, if you were going to pick the twelve books that each of us could take home for free, what would they be?
So many ways to answer this, so many ways to needlessly complicate it. Do I choose something expensive, something I normally wouldn’t dream of shelling out for with another kid on the way? Do I put the government to work, finding the out-of-print book from a favorite author to send me? Even more daunting is the second question. Twelve books? I get to choose the twelve books that everyone in America get to pick from for their free read? How do you balance that – do you submit a list of twelve that people might not otherwise read? If you balance it with mainstream bestseller-type stuff, does it mean that most people will gravitate toward that instead of the more challenging, more literary choices? Is that a bad thing, if they read whatever they get? (A whole other can of worms, there.) Put another way, is it more important to present people with choices of books they may not read because they’re too challenging, or more important just to get free books directly into hands and hope they turn off American Bingo Night long enough to give it a shot? (There I go again, with the Bingo.) At any rate, here’s what the lucky kids across the pond get to pick from.