Stefani McRae-Dickey walked up to a complete stranger downtown and handed her a book. She assured the woman, Phyllis Witham, that the book — “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini — is excellent.
McRae-Dickey was one of a dozen people who convened Wednesday on both sides of Second Street between Jefferson and Madison avenues as part of a globally coordinated book-reading flash mob. The event was held around the world at the same time — 4 p.m. — in each area’s respective time zone.
“The idea is to pay it forward and give back to the community,” McRae-Dickey said. “It’s sharing something that was meaningful in our lives.”
Organized locally by the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, Wednesday’s event lasted 15 minutes. Participants were asked to wear a yellow hat, to gather at the assigned location at the assigned time and to start reading. The idea was that when a passerby asked one of the yellow-hatted readers what was going on, the reader would hand their book to that person.
Each participant had brought a book to the event that was meaningful or had inspired them. Inside the book was a flyer asking the new owner of the book to do the same after reading it.
“If you keep a good book on your shelves, it just sits there,” said Samm Newton, 27, of Albany. Newton, who works at Grass Roots Books & Music, grabbed a book from the store’s giveaway pile and joined in Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s all about spreading the joy of books,” she said.
And those who encountered the flash mobbers walked away with a huge smile.
“It’s so much fun to see people doing this,” said Witham. “I love this community,” She added that she already is in the habit of passing along her favorite books.
“If I made my own bumper sticker, it would read: ‘So many books, so little time.’ ”
Emily Gillespie can be reached at 541-758-9548 or email@example.com.