World Book Night in Fargo
Usually, it's a survey or a petition, but I turned around to see a woman holding out a book. "Today is World Book Night, and a number of publishers have come together to give away free books. Here--" and she handed me John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.
"Oh, thanks!" I said, taking the book, and I asked if she was from the library or something. No, she said, a little evasive, and emphasized that the publishers just want to get their books into the hands of people so they can read. An excellent proposition, in my opinion. Apparently, she was one of the volunteer "givers", who helped bring the books to the world. As she said, the main movers behind World Book Night are the larger publishers, but I can't fault them for thinking outside the box as a marketing opportunity. The book I received is bound like the galleys I've gotten, with a special cover to discourage shifty resale of the tome. I know nothing of Owen Meany, other than the description on Amazon makes it sound rural and midwestern, which probably was picked for this area intentionally. I've had good success with randomly acquired books before, so maybe it'll be a good book. I will start it tonight, before bed, in honor of World Book Night, and maybe I'll keep reading it in the coming non-book-night evenings, as is the intent of the people behind this fun free-book event.