World Book Night 2012

     Yesterday was World Book Night–  April 23 was chosen to commemorate Shakespeare’s birthday.  It started in the UK last year.  This year, publishers in Ireland and the US got into the fray as well.   A special edition of 30 best-sellers for which authors waived royalties were printed, which volunteers received and handed out for free.  The idea is to share our love of reading and encourage other people to read more books.  In the UK, authors like Steven Fry and Alexander McCall Smith were among the volunteers yesterday (they gave away classics!). 

      I picked up a case of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak at a reception for book givers at a local independent book store.  We were free to choose where to distribute our books, but not to our friends—that’s too easy.  I found nothing but surprise and appreciation when giving away books at the nearby ambulance service and at the county jail, where a smiling sheriff thanked me profusely, saying, “who knows, reading may turn someone’s life around”.  I had planned to stop by the fire and police stations but ran out of books!  There was another get-together last night at the book store to tell our experiences.  The others easily gave away all their books within an hour in locations ranging from train stations to emergency rooms, and everyone was buzzing with fun stories. 

     I plan to volunteer for this cool event every year and would like to encourage you to share your love of reading as well, if you can.  Below is one of several articles covering the event, and below that is the list of titles that were available this year. 

Here are the 30 titles that were given away on World Book Night, April 23… One million books by 50,000 volunteer “book givers” in the USA.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blood Work by Michael Connelly

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz; a Spanish-language edition, La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao, will also be made available.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Stand by Stephen King

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Just Kids by Patti Smith

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 Isn’t it a great list?  This is no cheesy give-away!