For those who don’t already know, World Book Night is an event run by the charity The Reading Agency, and this if the fifth year it has run. It is held each year on 23rd April, commonly held to be Shakespeare’s birthday, and involves thousands of volunteers choosing from a list of twenty books, and handing out free copies of those books (which are sent to the volunteers for that purpose) on that date, to anyone who wants one, but preferably to people who don’t usually read.
I missed the first year, and heard about it after the fact from someone on one of the book forums where I’m a member. Of the books that were offered that year, I would have chosen Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, although I also loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, and Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
In 2012, I chose The Damned United by David Peace, as I was working in a bookies and thought it might appeal to my punters. Those books flew out of my hands! I also read and enjoyed it myself. Of the books on offer that year, I also loved The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Room by Emma Donoghue, Misery by Stephen King, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier , Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell – that was a tremendous year for choices!
In 2013, I chose The Dark Judges by Alan Grant and others, again because I thought it would be most likely to appeal to my mostly male customers, and I’m a fan of graphic novels, so I was very pleased to see it included. That year, I also loved The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, The Eyre Affair by Jasper FForde, The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Another great year of choices!
Last year, I chose Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, again because of my mostly male customers, but then I moved and had a baby and left my job, so I ended up handing them to parents on my school run. I was surprised at how many of them snapped them up! I also enjoyed The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne – I didn’t get much more reading done that year because of having a new baby!
This year I’ll be handing out copies of Skellig by David Almond, in the hopes that it will appeal to the parent on the school run and encourage them to read to/with their kids. Others on the list I plan to read are Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M C Beaton, and Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson.
I’m really looking forward to it!