On 23rd April 2012 One million books will be distributed for free as part of the second World Book Night. A committee headed by the author Tracy Chevalier recently unveiled a lineup of 25 specially printed titles which will be distributed by thousands of volunteers across the UK as part of an international celebration of reading. The eclectic collection ranges from classic literature by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to chick lit by Sophie Kinsella and science fiction by Iain M Banks and Cormac McCarthy, by way of non-fiction by Bill Bryson and Joe Simpson. It is hoped that the novels chosen for world Book Night would inspire “many hundreds of thousands of people to read”.
Chevalier said “We wanted to have as wide a variety of books as possible, from crime and thriller to science fiction, historical and chick lit,” There is a reason so many types of books are written, and that’s because everyone has different tastes. We wanted to cater to that.” The books were chosen by a committee led by Chevalier, following a public vote. This year the poll was topped by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, however the 85-year-old author declined to participate. She’s very old and I don’t think this was the top of things to tend to, which is understandable,There are times when an author says no and you have to move on, so in this case we went for Pride and Prejudice.”
King said he was “delighted” that his horror novel Misery had been chosen, and that he hoped “it helps to propel a great cause forward”. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, whose co-authored fantasy novel Good Omens also made the list, said in a joint statement that “a Night during which people give each other books is the best kind of Night there could be”. “Hurrah! World Book Night! Give each other books. Especially ours. Every word lovingly inserted by craftsmen. We thank you,” said the duo.
Members of the public are now able to apply to be one of the 20,000 World Book Night givers, who will receive 24 copies of their chosen title to give away to anyone they choose. Further copies will be distributed through prisons, libraries and hospitals. The US is also set to host its first World Book Night the same day, replicating the UK format with one million yet-to-be-selected books given away.
Last year the scope of World Book Night – which is backed by patrons including JK Rowling, Carol Ann Duffy, Colin Firth and Richard Branson – drew criticism from some independent booksellers and authors, fearing it would be damaging to the book trade. But Chevalier said that last year’s “naysayers” were “starting to get behind” this year’s event. “I think people are realising that the risk taken by giving away a specific book is more than made up for by the publicity and by encouraging people to read,” she said. “That can only be a good thing.”
Some say that while they support anything which would get more people reading, they are concerned that the project preaches to the converted and that it relies on people who will already love this idea, telling their mates at dinner parties that they are doing it. which is great, but may not tackle the issue it is meant to be tackling.
Anyway The titles available for World Book Night 2012 are:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Vintage)
- The Player of Games by Iain M Banks (Little, Brown)
- Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
- Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (Transworld)
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Harper Collins)
- The Take by Martina Cole (Headline)
- Harlequin by Bernard Cornwall (Harper Collins)
- Someone Like You by Roald Dahl (Penguin)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Penguin)
- Room by Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan)
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Little, Brown)
- The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
- Misery by Stephen King (Hodder)
- The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Transworld)
- Small Island by Andrea Levy (Headline)
- Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Quercus)
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Pan Macmillan)
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Vintage)
- The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (Headline)
- The Damned Utd by David Peace (Faber)
- Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Transworld)
- How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (Penguin)
- Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (Vintage)
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Vintage)
- The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak (Transworld