They've been doing it in Russia, now the Australian government has jumped on the bookwagon and launched a campaign to get Aussies reading. Phew! Finally a positive note to sing amid the chaos of current politics.
I'll go so far as to forgive them for using that wearisome old Mister Beige Ray Martin as the front man for the campaign - whose autobiography (yawn) conveniently gets a plug - only because the message is greater than the publicity stunt.
In a series of TV ads linked to a nationwide in-store publicity drive, the Australia Council for the Arts is encouraging people to drop into their local bookshop, pick up a book and 'get lost, get fresh, get hooked, get real, get comfy, get reading!'
It comes with a booklet spruiking '50 books you can't put down' to give the uninitiated some ideas on what to read. It's an ok selection...a little too middle of the road for me but probably just right for those who ordinarily baulk at the thought of picking up a book instead of the TV remote or the Wii controls.
As an added incentive, if you buy one of the recommended books you get a free copy of the anthology '10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2010', all written by homegrown authors.
Great initiative! Hope people give it a go.