World Book Night

04 Feb

World Book Night was an initiative that started in the UK in 2011 to share the love of reading and books with people in their communities.

A year later, it has grown to include Ireland, Germany and the US as well. On April 23, 2012, tens and thousands of people in these countries will be handing out a million books!

How does it work?

First of all, they select the books. It’s as difficult as it sounds, I’m sure. From all the published books there ever was, they had to choose 30! They relied on the advice of booksellers and librarians and gauged the books’ popularity and accessibility using lists and lists of top sellers, award winners, book club selections, and other factors.

Then, they ask for volunteers- willing participants who’ll pick a title they’re passionate about and place them in the hands of non-readers. As someone who loves to share books with others, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of this so I signed up to be a giver. (World Book Night US has extended the deadline to register until Monday, February 6, midnight EST, so if any of you are interested, there’s still time!)

I’ve oversimplified the process that people have spent months working on so please check out their site for more information!

When they announced the books, I was excited to see which ones would be on the list. Have I read any of them before? Of the ones I hadn’t, were they something I’d want to check out? The answers were yes and yes. I was also surprised at how many kids and YA books made it on, further proving that great books aren’t limited to the categories (and, in extension, readership demographic) they are assigned.

Here are the books:

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 H.G. Bissinger
Kindred by Octavia 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
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
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**

*Children’s Books
**Young Adult

Can you guess which one was the most requested? The Hunger Games, of course. And, The Book Thief came in a close second.

Here’s a short recap video of last year’s WBN in the UK.

I am looking forward to handing out one of my favorite books on April 23. And, I hope World Book Night continues to be successful to become an annual worldwide event!


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