23rd April 2012: St Georges Day, Shakespeare’s birth date and also the day he died; it is also World Book Night tonight. Although only in its second year, the project has spread to Ireland, Germany and the USA. Tonight, I, along with 20,000 other volunteers will be giving out books chooses from a list of 25 titles to people who don’t normally read and encourage them to pick up a new habit. The titles chosen this year are:
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Small Island by Andrea Levy
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
The Damned Utd by David Peace
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Touching The Void by Joe Simpson
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Book Thief byMarkus Zusak
As well as the thousands of books that will be given out tonight, the organisers will also be giving out an additional 620,000 books over the coming year to those who find it difficult to access books, including: prisons, care homes, hospitals, shelted housing and homeless shelters with the prime objective to get people to reengage with the passion of reading and the power books can bring through opening up our imagination, stimulating conversation and bringing pleasure to as wide a range of people as possible.
Although I am only half way through my chosen title, Let the Right One In, I cannot wait to give the collection of books away and encourage others to not only read this brilliant take on the Vampire genre, but to encourage those who wish to give the book a read to check out the others titles and read those as well and once they have finished the book to log the details at World Book Night and then pass the book to be read again and again.
In a world were downloading snippets of information on smart phone apps gives us momentary satisfaction, I am so pleased to be giving out books for free and encourage people to enjoy the journey of delving into a more thought provoking journey.