The New Yorker recently ran a nostalgic essay by Swamplandia! author Karen Russell about Pizza Hut’s Book It! reading program. Unfortunately, the article itself is subscription-only. Here is an excerpt:
In the early nineties, Pizza Hut sponsors Book It! to promote reading. For every ten books you read, you get a certificate for a free, one-topping pizza. At the end of each month, you come home from Mrs. Sicius’s fifth-grade class and slam down the Book It! certificate in front of your parents like a hunter dropping a deer carcass on the kitchen table. Book that Family! We are eating tonight! It turns out there is no greater pleasure than reading for pizza. No longer do you feel guilty about eschewing the ‘real’ world for these fantasy zones. Now you have an unassailable American motivation; you’re a breadwinner. Literally.
Reading the essay, this GalleyCat editor remembered the hours and hours and hours of pizza-driven reading he completed as a Book It! kid back in Michigan. If you were a fan of the program, Pizza Hut still hosts the reading contest with some new media twists. Book It! graduates can sign up for the alumni newsletter.