Head on over to the library and pick up your Book Bingo card

It could mean lots of great prizes for you

Here's what the Book Bingo card looks like. Head into the library to get a real one, though. (Courtesy of the Concord Public Library) -
Here's what the Book Bingo card looks like. Head into the library to get a real one, though. (Courtesy of the Concord Public Library)

You wouldn’t normally think that books and bingo go well together.

Can you imagine sitting in a packed bingo hall, five cards in front of you, trying to take in a few chapters of War and Peace between each call? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

But the folks at the Concord Public Library have done the impossible: They’ve figured out a perfect way to blend the two unrelated hobbies.

It’s called Book Bingo, and it serves as the library’s winter reading program. Teens and adults can sign up to play, and everyone who signs up will get a coupon for one free book from the library’s book sale. That means even if you don’t hit bingo, you still win!

The library has created a custom bingo card that features challenges in each space instead of numbers. For instance, mark the box in the top left corner after you’ve read a book recommended by a friend, or the box in the top right after reading a book that’s been turned into a movie. As you complete each challenge and mark each box, write the title of the book in the corresponding box.

The challenge covers a wide range of genres and styles, so you’ll be a genuine book buff by the time it’s all through. But before you go ahead thinking, “I know, I’ll read one book and count it as two or three categories,” know that this practice is highly illegal. This bingo game will have you wading into uncharted literary territory, and that’s kind of the point – and part of the fun.

The gameplay, otherwise, is just like traditional bingo: five in a row in any directions wins. Once you complete a bingo, bring your card into the library and a staff member will give you a raffle ticket for the prize drawing. Winners will be awarded gift cards to local businesses, so there are real prizes just like traditional bingo. And, if you manage to fill out your entire card, you earn the Blackout Bonus, which is yet another coupon for the library’s book sale.

Unlike traditional bingo, though, you get almost two months to fill out this card; cards must be turned in by Feb. 28 to claim raffle tickets. After all, it’d be pretty hard – but absolutely incredible – to read 25 books (don’t forget the reader’s choice space in the middle) in an hour or two during a regular bingo session.

Now throughout your bingo journey, you may run into some problematic challenges: How are you going to find a book starring non-human characters, or one with an animal on the cover (but remember, they can’t be the same book)? The library staff has thought of that.

If you find yourself in a bind (get it?), head into the library and look for a book list near the information desk. It’s there to help you out if you can’t think of anything that fits the criteria.

The challenge is open to Concord and Penacook residents. You don’t need a library card to participate, but of course the library would love you to get one anyway. It couldn’t hurt, right?

To sign up, just head over to the library and ask about Book Bingo. For any additional information, call the library at 225-8670 or go to concordpubliclibrary.net.

Author: Jon Bodell

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