I was pleased to receive an email from World Book Night telling me I have been selected as a giver for 2014. This is the fourth year I have been involved and I am looking forward to giving away the books from April 23rd. Unlike the previous three years, I wasn’t allocated my first two choices (A Collection of Short Stories by Roald Dahl and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne) so will be giving away Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels.
There has been considerable controversy about WBN – some people claim that to give books away devalues them and their writers while others believe it helps promote literature and reading. Some givers have not entered into the spirit of the concept and have apparently given the books to their friends rather than reaching out to those who may not be able to readily access books. I have been sorry to see some WBN books in the local charity shop that I support, which is not the intended idea; they are to be given away not sold – even for a small amount which will help a worthy cause.
But on balance I think WBN is an excellent idea. Some of the books I gave away were received with such joy, that in itself made the world a better place.
One of my patients has been dogged by depression for many years. Unable to work, she lives on a small income, spending little on any sort of luxury. She makes herself get up every day, but admits to having no routine. She knows in theory she could get out and make use of some of the local resources such as libraries and community groups but lacks the confidence and motivation. She describes herself as a total mess. Her only pleasures are her little dog and reading.
On her last session with me, I handed her a copy of WBN’s The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry and asked if she would like to have it. She was thrilled, and promised me she would bring it back as soon as she finished it.
‘You may pass it on to a friend if you like but if you would prefer to keep it, you may. It’s yours.’ I told her.
Her face lit up. It was a picture. ‘This is the best thing that’s happened to me for a long time,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’
This is what WBN says about my book.
Hilarious, insightful and eye-opening, Confessions of a GP is the perfect book to entice people who 'don't like stories' into reading. Told in a confessional and casual style you quickly feel like you're sitting alongside Dr Daniels as dozens of little stories about real people's lives play out before you.
Dr Benjamin Daniels is a GP. That is as much as we can reveal about him and we're sad he'll never be able to show off to his mates or patients about being on the WBN list