World Book Night 2011 on the BBC

Posted: March 5, 2011 in Books and their issues
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As it is World Book Night tonight (and i was unable to visit one of the live events going on around the country due to work commitments) i watched BBC2’s series of book programs put together especially for tonight.

We started with A Million Books For Free: A Culture Show Special, which showed the preparations for WBN and went through the books which were being distributed, and followed some of the WBN book givers as they explained why they had chosen their book and showed them distributing the books to people. It also talks to the authors, and in between tonight’s shows, the BBC picks up live coverage at places like Glasgow and London as people celebrate and swap books. It was a very interesting program, as i havent read many of the books being given away and it’s made me want to read more widely!

A Million Books For Free: A Culture Show Special

The next program was The Books We Really Read: A Culture Show Special where Sue Perkins explores the bestsellers lists in a bid to find out what people really read, as she and many others are into more difficult literary fiction, so she discovers what is so good about crime, romance and thriller novels. This was quite an interesting program as i can differentiate between difficult literary fiction and bestselling fiction, but didnt realise quite how different the two are, but obviously bestsellers sell more because they are easier to read. I’m afraid i wasnt so interested in the romance bit because i don’t like that genre very much, even though i do own a few such books, but its just not very exciting for me!

The Books We Really Read: A Culture Show Special

The next program was New Novelists: 12 of the Best from The Culture Show which introduced us to some new authors and how they aspire to be the next big thing. It was interesting to see the new talent, and i hope they do well (which will likely happen as they are getting a fair amount of coverage on tv tonight!). It makes you think about what you want from a book, so that’s pretty crucial in determining which books make it to the shelves.

New Novelists: 12 of the Best from The Culture Show

The programs were all very interesting and its good that the BBC is making an effort to promote books as there havent been many programs about books on tv until now. One particular quote which stood out for me was when Ali Karim (a Stieg Larsson/Crime fiction fan) says:

“[on crime fiction] Its nice for the bad guys to get a good biffing now and then, compared to the reality, because we all know: good things happen to bad people as well as bad things happen to good people. I have an extremely stressful day job, i’m under time pressure, i have got family issues, i’ve got kids going to university and all that nonsense, and money’s tight and all this. The way to cope with it is sit down and read a book…. and what i said to my wife, i said thankgod this serial killer isnt after me, my life is so much better than being trailed by a bloody serial killer, and she said i think you need therapy, and i said, therapy, books are my therapy.”

That last bit rings true with me, and i’m sure it does with everyone else – when life starts getting on top of you, books are a great form of escape and indeed are very therapeutic!



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