No, this isn’t a night that everyone in the world reads a book. “World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. go out into their communities and give a total of half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers.” April 23rd was chosen because “(it) is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday! It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare).”
Last year over a half a million books were passed out. The books are chosen by a panel of booksellers and librarians. Their criteria is:
- Accessible books of quality.
- Recently-published books as well as established classics.
- Books available in paperback.
- Any genre of book – fiction, mysteries, romance, SF/fantasy, classics, poetry, humor, autobiography, and young adult books.
- The list overall must have a gender, ethnic, and geographical balance.
The books for 2013 are:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros -translated by Elena Poniatowska
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
El Alquimista by Paulo Coelho
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
Population 485 by Michael Perry
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Favorite American Poems in Large Print edited by Paul Negri
The books I read from the list are A Handmaid’s Tale (scared the crap out of me…too realistic), Fahrenheit 451 (scary and sad…all those books), My Antonia (ok, but not really my kind of book), Devil in a Blue Dress (better book than movie as usual), Me Talk Pretty One Day (listened to the audio book and David Sedaris is hilarious) and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (ok, but didn’t really grab me). I didn’t read either Moneyball or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, but I did see the movies. Loved Moneyball and you really can’t go wrong with Bing Crosby.
I think I would have picked out A Handmaid’s Tale to pass out. It’s a real grabber and makes you look at what’s happening in America today and wondering if this could possibly be our future. Creepy when you think that it was written in 1985. Margaret Atwood laughed when I told her it scared the crap out of me. She said, “Good.” Like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, possible glimpses into a not too nice destiny, but extremely thought provoking.
Anyone can sign up to help pass out books (it’s closed for this year, but you can sign up for a newsletter for next year). You receive 20 not for resale paperbacks of one of the books to give out. The books are handed out to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or access. Check the website to see what’s going on in your area.
Which books have you read? Any you want to read? Which would you pass out?
Bottom Line: “Books are fun—and they can be life-changing.” ~ World Book Night