World Book Night donates millions of free books
NEW YORK: Thousands of towns and cities around the country and beyond are participating in the second annual World Book Night, when some 2.5 million free books are expected to be donated, the Associated Press reported.
Among the 30 books being given out are Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River.
“It’s premium company, this list, and I’m glad and lucky to be on it,” Enger told the AP. “It also feels like a challenge. The idea is to entice people back into reading.”
The Los Angeles Times said the idea behind World Book Night is that “devoted readers are great proselytizers” and each person is encouraged to give away 20 copies of a book they love to friends and strangers alike.
World Book Night was originated in 2011 by managing director Jamie Byng of Canongate Books, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, wrote the AP but this year readers in the US, UK, Ireland and Germany are participating.
The group is also reaching out past the bookstore crowd.
For example, the AP reported copies of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto will be given out at a Denver church to a nearby magnet school for refugees and immigrants. In Santa Cruz, Calif., copies of Patti Smith’s Just Kids will go to surfers at Monterey Bay in ziplock bags.
“It’s like an intellectual Halloween, only better,” Anna Quindlen, the program’s honorary chairwoman told USA Today. “We’re giving out books, not just Mars bars.”